Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Rome #2

I hopped on the metro to the Colosseum (still just as impressive) and was intending to walk to the Trevi Fountain. It was drizzling quite a bit though so I decided to take one of the double decker tour buses instead. 15 euros for 1 day, 17 for 2. Pricey but better than getting wet and possibly lost. One of the stops is the Vatican so I decided to get off and have a look. The queue for tickets was literally a mile long so I had a bit of a look around the Square and then wandered back to the bus stop. Later in the day I noticed a place that sells tickets for the Vatican so I'll grab one tomorrow and do the proper tour later in the week.

St Peter's Basilica

Next stop, for me, was the Piazza Venezia. I'd seen the roof statues of this yesterday from the Forum and wanted a closer look. Dominating the piazza is a huge building that's mainly a monument to Victor Emmanuel II, the first king of united Italy (1800s). Statues, bronzes, bas-reliefs, marble, columns, the eternal flame... you name it, it's there. All very patriotic stuff.

Vittorio Emanuele monument

From there I walked to the Trevi Fountain. It took a while to get a clear shot without the millions of other tourists getting in the way. It's impressive though. I've yet to see a better fountain. I threw a coin in the water and made a wish......

Fontana di Trevi

I found a little cafe/restaurant around the corner and had lunch there. Best pizza since I left home. 7 euros for a small glass of wine made it an expensive meal though! At the hotel I get the whole bottle for that price.


Then off down some more narrow side streets to the Pantheon. It's not much to look at from the outside: colonnaded portico and rotunda. But inside is special. It was originally built, by Marcus Agrippa, to honour all of Rome's gods but is now a catholic church. Victor Emmanuel is entombed there as well as Raphael, the Renaissance artist. The dome is the world's largest unreinforced concrete dome. The centre is open to the skies. Not so good on a day like today. The central area of the floor was roped off and very wet. It's all slightly sloped inwards so that rainwater runs to the centre and then drains away through a couple of drainage holes in the marble. Those Romans were clever! There are several chapels at various points around the interior and all have statues and art works to adorn them. It's really quite beautiful inside.
From there I started to make my way back to the Piazza Venezia and the bus. It started to rain more heavily so I ducked in to the Church of St Ignatius Loyola, which I just happened to be passing. Jaw dropping! I've never seen anything like it before in my life. Every inch of wall and ceiling is decorated in the most ornate fashion. I just had to sit and stare.

Church of St Ignatius Loyola

Makes me keen to see the Sistine Chapel now. Excessive in the way that only the Catholic church can be.
After that extravaganza I made my way back to the bus and a metro station. I thought about getting off at Termini, the central station where all metro lines meet, but it all looked too big and scary so I stayed on the bus to the Colosseum. By now it was peak hour and the train was, in a word, crowded. There's no etiquette when it comes to grabbing a seat. First in best dressed and no-one gives up their seat to anyone once they've claimed it. Too bad if you're old or infirm and not quick enough. However, it's not as bad as trying to cross the road on foot. Even with a pedestrian crossing you put your life on the line. I just wait till someone brave enough makes a start across. Most drivers will ignore that it's a pedestrian crossing but eventually one car will stop (usually reluctantly), forcing others to do the same. Then the pedestrians scurry across as quickly as possible. Scary!
It's raining heavily now but I'm hoping it'll have eased by tomorrow. If not, then it'll be an inside day: museums and such like. There's plenty to choose from.



9fragments - CJStrahan said...

Wonderful! Stay safe x

Diane said...

I thought I feel in love with Egypt but Rome, wow.