Trip Report! ABD/DCL Mediterranean Magic Part 5 - IMAGE INTENSIVE!
Day 6 - Rome (Continued)
So when last we left our intrepid travelers, we were in the Vatican Museum, heading towards the Sistine Chapel.
This painting on the ceiling is actually totally flat. It's only painted to look 3-D. What an amazing job!
More ceiling. (The figures on the corners of this one *are* 3-D.)
This painting, in a dome just outside the entrance to the Chapel, is "Angels and Demons". (If the title sounds familiar, I don't think it's a coincidence!)
Unfortunately, you're not allowed to take any photos in the Sistine Chapel. Or maybe it's a good thing, because I was looking at the Chapel without trying to work out the best angle for a picture... That sounds good, right? ;-) Anyways, I didn't want to take any chances. The Swiss Guard were in there, hushing everyone on a regular basis, and the last thing I wanted was for some Guard to come up to me and throw me out or something! So I contented myself with finding a spot on one of the benches ringing the walls (my poor neck was just not happy with craning in the middle of the room). I sat there and just stared, and took in all the incredible details of masterpiece after masterpiece, all concentrated on the ceiling of one room. Of course, the most famous panel is the one of God reaching out his finger to Adam. But it's only one panel (and not the largest, as I'd thought it would be) out of dozens of gorgeous, detailed, amazing paintings. I could have spent hours there. But eventually, it was time to meet up at the exit, and continue on to other places. But I will always remember that sense of awe from sitting and absorbing the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel.
We then filed out of the Vatican museum, past a large line of people waiting to get into St. Peter's Basilica. We kept going past them, and out into St. Peter's Square. There, the Guides told us that since we'd been so good, and all met up at the correct time at the Sistine Chapel, they had a special treat for us. We then walked *directly* up to the front of St. Peter's, and walked right in! (Ah, the Magic of the Mouse!) And St. Peter's was not on the ABD itinerary!
We didn't have very much time there, but we had more than enough time for me to worm my way to the front of the crowd admiring -- the Pieta! It is, unfortunately, behind glass now. (Apparently some insane person ran up to it & broke off a toe with a hammer! 0_o ) But I had plenty of time to admire the incredible detail and beauty and pathos of this fabulous sculpture, and get some pretty fantastic shots of it, even *through* the glass!
I wandered around, and got some photos of other miscellaneous areas of the Basilica, but it was the Pieta that really stood out for me. Just magnificent.
The Swiss Guard of Vatican City and their distinctive uniforms.
We then exited back out into St. Peters' Square, where we absorbed all the surrounding architecture & statuary, and took pictures of St. Peter's (notice how you can't see as much of the dome as you could from the Vatican Museum!)
The exterior of the Sistine Chapel and some of the myriad of statues ringing St. Peter's Square on top of Bernini's colonnades.
St. Peter's Basilica and the Egyptian Obelisk from the Circus of Nero.
Here's the whole group in front of St Peter's and the obelisk:
We then were given some time to explore the shops at the edge of St Peter's Square. I purchased a cameo. It's a gorgeous cameo, but when I bought it, I was focused on how gorgeous and beautifully detailed the cameo is. It wasn't until I wore it onboard that I realized just how large it was. I probably should have bought something smaller and more practical, but it *is* so pretty. And, honestly, it's a piece of art. I need to find a way to display it at home when I'm not wearing it...
The good part is, it kept me from buying all sorts of other souvenirs. Kind of busted the souvenir budget all on its own. But I didn't really want to worry about shlepping all that extra stuff onto the plane, anyways! (And I kept picturing people admiring it, and asking "Oh! Where did you get that?" To which I'd reply, casually, "Oh, at the Vatican". ;-)
Next, we wound our way to where the motorcoach had been taken, and rode to the restaurant we were having lunch at. It was a very pretty place, in a hotel I don't recall the name of...
Once again, they were a bit confused as to what to feed me (at least for the "appetizer" course) because they were giving everyone pasta in a tomato-based sauce. They made mine with olive oil, butter & spices, and it was quite tasty. I'm pretty easy to please. :-) It was a very nice, relaxing lunch, in a very elegant setting.
After that, we started walking around Rome, visiting our afternoon destinations. I really loved all the fountains & statuary scattered all over the place.
I really love how they had a building fašade painted on the material covering the front of this building that was under renovation. It really helped to keep the look of the street, instead of marring the view.
Smart cars were extremely common in Italy. Look at how they parked this one! We saw this done all over the place. Couldn't do that with a normal-sized car! Bizarre!
I really liked the detail on the base of the Column of the Immaculate Conception (with the Spanish Embassy behind it).
And, opposite the Spanish Embassy, the Spanish Steps. These steps (supposedly the longest & widest staircase in Europe) run from the French TrinitÓ dei Monti church, down to the Plaza in front of the Spanish Embassy to the Holy See. They are very crowded, as, for some reason, people seem compelled to go there & sit down. I think it's one of those things that you do to say you've done it...
This fountain, by Bernini, is also in the Plaza at the foot of the Spanish Steps. Apparently all of the fountains in Rome are built off the Aqueducts that feed Rome, and are fresh, drinkable water. Robyn & Tina had told us to hang on to an empty water bottle, and we found out it was so we could fill our bottles at this fountain. The water was cool and very fresh & delicious. Imagine that!
They actually had drinking fountains scattered all over. This one, you put your finger over the bottom, where water was coming out, and it re-directed the water up to a spout that you could easily drink from. Of *course* we all had to give it a try!
I honestly don't remember what this specifically was a picture of, but I love the mix of 3 different architectures & textures...
And then, we made it to the fabulous, spectacular spectacle that is the Trevi fountain. It's massive, and totally gorgeous. There is *so* much detail in it, almost despite the size. The power of the water is very impressive, and it's one of those things you can stand & look at for ages. But you don't want to just stand there. The Trevi fountain really compelled me to walk all around it, take pictures from all sorts of angles, climbing up onto various steps & overlooks. I really love how it's integrated into the fašade of the building behind it, making that a part of the sculpture. It was very crowded there, but the crowd was surprisingly easy to maneuver, and we managed to find our way to a spot directly in front of the fountain, where Tina & Robyn took pictures of each of us throwing a coin over our shoulder, into the fountain. It's said that if you do that, you will return to Rome!
After that, we had yet *more* gelato (not that we were complaining, except with 39 people, each stop for gelato dug into our touring time. I'd've rather spent those 45 minutes, say, visiting the Pantheon, one of the sites in Rome I'm sorry we missed). Robyn & Tina admitted the fact that pretty much every tour in Italy included gelato was a bit of over-kill. But if my biggest problem is that we had "too much" gelato, I'm doing fabulously!
The National Monument of Victor Emmanuel II, the first president of unified Italy. It's often called the "Wedding Cake" building. I thought it was pretty neat looking, but apparently it was seen as gaudy and over-done when it was built. Oh, well, I guess you can appreciate it more if you don't know the politics behind it, or what was razed to make way for it...
We continued our walk through Rome, walking past ancient ruins mixed in with "modern day" buildings.
I really think that, for me, is one of the things that differentiates the United States from places like Europe. There are lots of ancient sites in the US (mostly old Native American sites) but they tend to be isolated, off away from the urbanized areas. Whereas, here, the ancient sites and the more modern buildings are side by side, with no real separation between them. It was amazing to be walking down a busy, modern street, and suddenly find yourself looking down into the remains of the ancient Roman Forum.
Oh, and look! There's the Coliseum, just down the block there!
The Coliseum is very, very impressive. I was rather amazed at its position right at the curve of this major road. I can't imagine living in Rome, and having something like that just be a part of the landscape. "Oh, yeah, that's just the Coliseum over there, ho hum..." I'm sure this comes from living in a country that's been building "monuments" for only 200 years or so...
The Coliseum was actually known as the Ampitheatrum Flavium back in the days of its use.
Someone asked why the columns are all pock-marked like they are. Apparently, thieves dug into the walls over the centuries to remove the bronze clamps that were used to hold the stone together. That's pretty sad, but I don't suppose it's that unusual...
I just liked this view out one of the arches of the Coliseum, showing a "modern day" building, with an ancient excavation going on right next to it....
Another cool view through the arches of the Coliseum.
Looking out over the Coliseum from one of the upper levels. They've re-floored part of the bottom level to show how it used to look. The area at "ground level" on the extreme right (it looks almost like there's a striped awning over it, and there's a cross there) is where the Emperor and his guests would sit.
These are the only remaining original marble seats left. All the rest of the seats were removed over time, and the marble used for other purposes.
Looking down into the maze of tunnels used to house and move in the animals, gladiators and others who, um, "performed" in the Coliseum.
Wandering the corridors of the Coliseum.
While the adults took the tour of the Coliseum, another local tour guide took the kids off on their own and did some Junior Adventurer activities with them. At the end of the tour, we met back up with them, and the kids showed off their gladiator gear for us. They really appeared to have enjoyed themselves.
The Arch of Constantine next to the Coliseum.
This was right next to where we picked up our motorcoach to head back to the Magic. It looks like it might have been part of an ancient aqueduct or something. I just thought it looked cool.
More cool old structures in Rome.
We then rode back to Civitavecchia. It was nice returning to the Magic, and seeing this:
Today's towel animal.
It had been a long day, but I'd never felt rushed, and we saw some incredible things. Totally worth it. And boy was I glad we had a sea day coming up the next day. I *SO* needed to sleep in and relax after our day in Rome!
Continued in Part 6.
We did the DCL Med 3 summers ago - it's fun to look at your pictures and be reminded of our adventures! We also did the ABD South Africa last summer - Tina was one of our guides. She's awesome!
Another great post and your pictures are great.Now I'm going to have to wait two weeks to finishing reading about your adventure.As I'm about to start my own Adventure I don't do internet when I travel,I kinda get unconnected and relax and enjoy :goodvibes
Have a wonderful trip! You're doing Alaska, right? You will love, love, love it! If you have Rae or Jesse, tell them I said "Hi!". I look forward to your report when you get back!
I was so excited to see part 5 up today!!! You made our day!! We are enjoying your reports...we leave for our adventure in 5 week...
What a way to start off my day! BEAUTIFUL pictures! Has ABD decided to give you a commision check yet or your own travel show for them?
Thanks! :goodvibes :blush:
I love reliving the memories of Rome from when we were there 2 months ago. La Pieta was totally amazing. It's the only piece that Michelangelo put his signature on. For the guy that took a hammer to it 12 times, I think someone should take a hammer to him 12 times. How could anyone want to destroy such a beautiful piece of work.
You really packed a lot into a day. We did the Vatican one day and the rest of Rome another day. The Trevi Fountain was totally amazing and was one of my favorite things in Rome. It's one of 400 fountains in Rome, but probably THE most impressive. We went to see it each day we were there (both day and night).
Man, I would have *LOVED* to see the Trevi Fountain at night. That's really one of the downsides of cruising. You don't get to see much at night, because you have to be back on the ship. Oh, well.
If I am asking a question you have already answered then please forgive me!
Can you give a timeline of the total hours you spent traveling roundtrip/touring Rome? Trying to get an idea of how long your day was.
The pics of course are awesome! I think so far this has been my favorite trip report day! Thank You so much!
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