With walking shoes firmly strapped on we left our accommodation reasonably early and headed off. The first stop was only a few blocks away at, you guessed it, a church. To be fair the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore was a very ornate example with exquisite inlaid marble floors, glistening with gold and filled with priceless artworks and sculptures. It was bigger than most cathedrals but we were assured it was simply a humble church. Yeah right!
The first church we visited took up a whole, very large city block
|It's interesting how so many of the Pope's commissioned larger than life sculptures of themselves being pious. No ego involved at all of course.|
Strangely enough our second stop was, wait for it, a church. The Church of San Pietro is relatively small but was certainly worth the walk up a very steep set of stairs to reach. Inside was a magnificent sculpture of Moses by none other than Michelangelo himself. Remarkably the work is actually unfinished as it was commissioned to be a two story high funeral monument for Pope Julius the Second complete with twenty larger than life sculptures. It was never completed because Michelangelo was otherwise engaged on a little job at the Sistine Chapel.
|Any time Karen gets up close and personal with a work by Michelangelo you can be sure |
there's a big smile on her face.
|A simple corrugated iron roof now covers the rock upon which Julius Caesar's|
body was turned to ashes following his murder by conspirators.
|By now our feet needed a rest so a sit down and bottle of wine in a café by the square was in order.|
|We headed back towards our hostel but didn't get far before this restaurant called us inside for a nice dinner and another bottle of wine.|
|Our first stop on day two was the Vatican. Yep, St Peter's is a very impressive piece of architecture and certainly attracts the crowds.|
|Just one of the rooms we got to peak in but unfortunately couldn't enter. |
The marble sculptures were spectacular
|Just part of Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel ceiling. No photos allowed of |
course so this was the best Rob could do being sneaky.
|If the Sistine Chapel didn't have our heads in a spin, the stairs to get out |
of the Vatican Museum certainly did.
|St Peter's Basilica and square had originally been hemmed in by housing but|
Mussolini knocked a big tract of it down and built this long, wide boulevard
to open up the view and provide an 'appropriate' entryway.
|While the big major sites of Rome are fantastic, wandering down character filled back streets|
finding our way from place to place was also one of the real highlights of our days.
|We were quite disappointed that so much of the 'art' on offer was clearly copies|
churned out in China's art factories and being sold by merchants who wouldn't
know one end of a paintbrush from the other.
|It was late in the day when we reached the Pantheon and we just got inside|
before the closed the entrance and started to herd people out. So glad we made it.
|Early evening and time to relax and celebrate our anniversary at one of the|
world's most romantic spots, the Trevi Fountain.
|On the way we just had to check out the Spanish Steps, which we found out |
were, well, a set of steps. What's the big deal?
The Villa was built by the architect Flaminio Ponzio, developing sketches by Cardinale Borghese himself, who used it as a villa suburbana, a party villa at the edge of Rome. Must have been a tough life being a Cardinal in those days.
A very limited number of people are admitted to the gallery each day in two hour sessions. It is essential to pre book as no tickets are available on the day. We found the wealth of artworks on display were simply mind blowing and while Rob was enjoying himself, Karen was literally in raptures again. Here's a small sample of some of the pieces on exhibit. For a better idea of what's to be viewed in the gallery check out the website. http://www.galleriaborghese.it/borghese/en/edefault.htm
|After leaving the museum we came across this wonderful establish and just|
had to stop in for a drink in honour of our new grandson 'Harry' of course.
So then it was time for a metro ride back to pick up our backpacks from the hostel and the horror stories you here about needing to be careful of pick pockets in Rome are all true. Stepping onto a very crowded metro train, Rob sprung a young Indian guy red handed. He literally caught him with a hand in his pocket trying to extract the wallet. Rob grabbed him by the wrist and announcing to the world he was a scum pick pocket shoved him out of the train onto the platform from where he beat a very hasty exit.
Two trains and bus back to the marina later we were back on the boat. A day of boat jobs followed and it was time to say 'Arrivederci Roma' and move on down the Italian coast.