Monday, January 30, 2017

Roman Holiday part 2

The Roman Adventure continues....

Here is the exterior of St. Peter's Basilica.  It is why the word awesome was created.  I cannot count the timesnthis building took my breath away.  It is where popes are buried and where St. Peter himself is buried.  You cannot see his crypt without an appointment several months in advance, but regardless the basilica was stunning.  

The Basilica has a massive dome that when outside it looks immense and expansive, however when inside it seems much smaller.  In this area of Rome no building can be taller then the basilica's top.  
The Basilica is as long as 2 football fields (thank you Rick Steve's podcast) and impressively ornate.   And there is Brittney standing in the Basilica and she is almost dwarfed by the expansiveness.  
The Basilica also houses Michelangelo's pieta.  This is the only sculpture Michelangelo signed because he created the sculpture early in his career.  This is also the only thing my dad, Terry Cherry, told me to see in Rome so I figured I would post a picture to prove I saw it.  ....See Dad, I listened!
This is the main alter in the Basilica.  The picture is not the greatest because the sun was so bright through the stained glass circle.  In the center of the stained glass is an image of a dove.  The dove's wingspan is six feet.  This speaks to the massive size of everything.  The dove looks about 2 - 3 feet in wingspan because of the massive size of everything surrounding it. I have an obscene about of pictures from here, but I want people to keep reading so I'll spare you.  
This is the circular center in front of St. Peter's Basilica and adjacent to Vatican City.  Rome has 14 ancient Egyptian obelisks (not 100% sure this is Egyptian, but the fact is correct) which is more then in Egypt!  
Next was Trevi Fountain.  We happened upon the fountain almost by accident as we got lost on our walk back from the Vatican. We arrived right around dusk and apparently we picked peak time.  The lights in the fountain were beautiful and there were a ton of people gathering, having wine, some tourists, and all were throwing a coin in the fountain.  It is said if you throw a coin in the fountain it ensures your return to Rome.  So good news I'll be back!

Next was the Colosseum.  To say it was impressive would diminish the history of the place and devalue the brilliance of architecture.  It left me speechless.  It was built in only 10 years. Again, thanks to the Rick Steve's podcast I was well informed.  
We were able to roam freely and explore the Colosseum along the exterior seating.  The "backstage" of the Colosseum was underground and the most interesting section to me.  There were 80 places that scenery, animals, and people could appear from all while being organized from beneath the floor.  The director in me wanted to imagine what coordination had to have taken place for just a moment of activity.  
Next was the Roman Forum and the center of ancient Rome.  This panoramic picture attempts to show some scope, but really it is hard to see the entire scope even when looking at it in person.

We climbed to the top of Palatine Hill to see as much of the Forum at once.  When you looked to the right you saw the Colosseum and in the center, ancient ruins, and to the left modern Rome.  The juxtaposition was difficult to digest.  

As I stood at the top of this hill and looked out it occurred to me that in two days I had witnessed the center of a prominent world religion and the center of what had been the first great civilization. These two historical powerhouses were just a short distance from each other and existed roughly around the same time.  Constantine brought Christianity to the Roman Empire.  What a time of excitement and change!  Being in the same space of these powerful cornerstones of history was overwhelming.  

Speaking of overwhelming... next stop the Pantheon.  This is a public building and because we were in the off season there was no line to get in.  Let's get some perspective of those pillars in front.

Yeah Brittney...not even close.  Inside was no different.  The dome was so massive I could not get it in one camera shot.
Inside every nook and cranny was packed with symbols and statues.  I have to be honest...I forgot to listen to my boyfriend Rick Steves so I don't know too much about the Pantheon, but I will listen to it this week and you can google it if you want more info!

This little stop was an unexpected place we fell upon again wondering around the city and turned out to be one of my favorites.  This is where Julius Cesar died.  It is a small square surrounded by modern Roman shopping and traffic.  I just love the amazing pockets of history everywhere in the city next to an H&M!
Here are the famous steps of where Cesar was stabbed.  It sound so brutal to fall in love with a place that was so violent, but I guess the distance in time makes is seem almost idealic.

Where Italy's Senators meet.  Too bad the building isn't dignified and lovely!

That is all for now.  The third and final post will be dedicated to food.  The food and coffee deserves its own post filled with love.


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