Rome: Day 1

24 Jul

I have always had a deep desire to be a historian of ancient times. The more ancient the better, but focused mainly on the ancient Greco-Roman histories through the Renaissance. Before GP and I got married, we were talking about places we wanted to visit. I told him that if I could only ever visit one place, it would be Rome.

Since many of our family members frequent this here blog, I’m going to do a day by day of our vacation for their benefit, and you non-family readers, if you’re interested. Some pictures will be on here, but also go check out the flickr sets, where I’ve posted more pictures and more details for each of the places we visited. Flickr set can be found here. I suggest you go and check it out.

Last Monday, our first plane left at 1:30 pm to take us to JFK, where we boarded our plane to Rome. I took the Marigold socks with me, but did not knit a stitch! Instead, I read and slept.

We arrived at about 9 in the morning, local time. Got to our hotel, checked in, and headed out to explore the city!

Right up the street from our hotel was the Piazza della Repubblica. This square (piazza) is built on the original site of Diocletian’s baths, and may have been designed by Michelangelo, although it is not entirely certain. A very beautiful church was here, the Santa Maria degli Angeli, but pictures were forbidden. A courtyard behind the church contained what amount to headstones and coffins that date back as far as the 1st century AD.

From there, we traipsed on to the Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore. This was huge! As in many of the churches we went in to, women (and men) wearing tank tops had to cover their shoulders either with their own shawls or coverings, or, if they didn’t have one, they were given paper ponchos to wear. The ceiling here was very intricate, and the baroque style of the interior was breath taking.

Next stop was Santa Maria della Vittoria, another church. The outside wasn’t much to look at, but inside contained a famous and controversial sculpture by Bernini, the “Ecstasy of St. Teresa.” Go read about it, and you’ll get why it’s so controversial. The church was small, but very beautiful.

We then walked a few more blocks to Piazza Bernini, where one of his fountains is found, Fontana di Tritone (Fountain of Triton). This fountain is of the sea god, Triton, and is in the middle of the beautiful square.

The famous Spanish Steps were the next stop. These are a huge tourist attraction, as they have been featured in many movies based in Rome. At there base is another great fountain, around which numerous tourists were sitting, attempting to cool off by taking advantage of the cold fountain water. We stopped at this point for some delicious gelato, and sat down at the base of the steps to enjoy the ice cream and cool off. From the bottom of the steps, we managed to walk down what I called fashion row. All the great fashion houses had shops on this street: Ferragamo, Fendi, Valentino. Of course, we didn’t do any shopping, but it was fun to look and dream!

We then strolled through a few more piazzas before making our way to the Fontana di Trevi, where we were again overwhelmed by the complexity and beauty of baroque design! This fountain is huge and beautiful, and was covered with tourists. Another of Bernini’s baroque fountains, this one was awe inspiring in its massive beauty.

After a long day of travelling and walking, we went back to our hotel for a nap. Refreshed, we walked down the street our hotel was on, turned left, walked a few blocks, turned again, and could see the Coliseum. We had dinner at a small restaurant in plain view of the lit up coliseum, and ending the night by walking past the ruins of the Roman Forum and back to our hotel.

Tomorrow, we tour Renaissance Rome! Oh, and maybe I’ll have some knitting to show you.

One Response to “Rome: Day 1”

  1. Elke July 24, 2007 at 10:43 pm #

    It feels like everything in Europe has so much history and culture. It makes America seem very young, as if it hasn’t “found itself” yet.

    Thank you for sharing your lovely vacation photos. I’m enjoying hearing the story behind each location.


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