Monday, September 1, 2014

The Tour

We finally made the tour the next morning and set off in a bus for a ride to our starting point across the city.  Lucky for us we visited the Coliseum and the forum the day before because this wasn't included on our tour.  The one spot that they advised us we wouldn't see, we did.  The Trevi Fountain is under repairs for about a year.  They started in June - why they would begin at the start of the tourist season is beyond me - why not wait three more months, however, I'm sure there must be a reason

This is how the Trevi Fountain usually looks.  However below is what we saw.
On the up side they have constructed a bridge so that you an walk out over the fountain.  A view you wouldn't  ordinarily get, but it is up close and personal and you can see more detail.  Still I would have loved to have seen this before they started or after they're finished.   What I was struck by here is how small the square is - the fountain covers most of it and they buildings on the sides crowd it in.  I'll bet this would be an amazing site from one of those apartments and cost a fortune.  Buying a place overlooking these monuments is difficult.  They are rarely up for sale since they are handed down from one generation to the next.  Prime real-estate. 

These little busts are everywhere in Rome and lit at night.  My only regret is that we were so jet lagged that we never made it out to see everything lit up at night.  I really missed out on something here since I'm told it's quite the sight.  My son was concerned about the beggars living on the streets - they were everywhere come morning.  How they sleep with people picking their way around them is beyond me.
See looking up - love the architectural details here.  There is nothing plain and simple about Italy.  Everything is ornate and adorned.  Beautiful.
Trajan's Column commemorates the Roman Emperor Trajan's victory in the Dacian Wars.  The carved images that spiral around the column describes the wars between the Romans and Dacians - basically for those who couldn't read at the time.  There are a number of embassies around this column.  The only way relics weren't desecrated in Rome was to have the church officially sanction it a religious shrine and no one was touch it.  It's the only way these monuments remain.
I couldn't help but think about the movie Angels and Demons but since the Catholic church found the offensive, most of those scenes were filmed on sets at Sony.  Still there did a really good job.  The interior of this church is amazing and it was here that I truly began to see the beauty of Rome once must have been in ancient times. 
It's been standing for almost two thousand years and the dome is still the world's largest unreinforced concrete dome.  This church has remained it use all this time and services are held there every Sunday. 
The alter - it's almost impossible to get good shots without tourists walking into your shot. 

Ahhh - those architectural details - so stunning - and the marble - wow.

My attempt at a artistic shot.

A close up of the image above the alter.

Stunning isn't it?

My favorite statue - there are many and I took pictures of them all but I'm not going to post them all.
The Tomb of Princess Margherita of Savoy - apparently the Margherita Pizza was named after her.
This image is from Wikipedia - there were just too many people in my way to get a good shot.  Below is the tomb of the painter Raphael.
The sarcophagus of Rapheal - the inscription on the lid of his sarcophagus reads "Here lies that famous Raphael by whom Nature feared to be conquered while he lived, and when he was dying, feared herself to die." - in Italian of course.

The holes in the floor are for drainage when it rains.  Can you imagine sitting on one of those benches during a rainy Sunday with water pouring in?
The Pantheon sits in Piazza della Rotonda - the fountain is the Fontana del Pantheon.  The column in the centre was pilfered from Egypt and is called the Macuteo obelisk, created during the period of Ramses II.  The base is decorated with four dolphins.  Very pretty but again loaded with tourists. 
Just in front of the fountain is one of my favourite features of Rome - little water fountains are littered about all over Rome - my advise - have a bottle to fill when you start out and fill up whenever you find one.  Bottled water is expensive in Rome.
Piazza Novona holds three major fountains, the Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi (or Fountain of Four Rivers) by Bernini, and this is a great spot to while away some time.  We didn't since our tour had a bus to catch.  Very disappointing. 
The Piazza also houses the Palazzo Pamphilj, designed by Rainaldi which currently houses and is owned by the Brazilian embassy.
Apparently it was rumoured that Bermini and Rainaldi didn't like each other that much and like spoiled children deliberately designed they're statues not to look at each others work. 
As mentioned we were late for our bus so we weren't able to linger here as long as I would have like to and we completely missed the Fontana del Moro (Moor Fountain) but I've included an image grabbed from Wikipedia.
The Fontana del Nettuno (Fountain of Neptune) we did get to see and it was lovely.
I fell in love with this square and intended to return on my own later.  I never did we simply ran out of time.  The downside of tours.
Off to the Vatican - above is the Castel Sant'Angelo (Castle of the Holy Angel or Castle St.Angelo).  Currently a museum it was once a fortress and a prison.  As a prison, it's the setting for the third act of Giacomo Puccini's Tosca, where the heroine leaps to her death from the Castel's ramparts.
Next up... The Vatican, and more...

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