Rome

October 1

See pictures below the day's summary



We kinda got to sleep in today - didn't have to get up until 7:00am! But, having gone to bed so early last night, we were both awake about 6:40am. Had I been home, I would have stayed in bed.   

Had breakfast at the hotel. Pretty simple, but not bad. I still had my standard sandwich stuff and yogurt.      They had some yummy little packaged cookies that I took 2 packs of for later.

Roberto, our guide, picked us up at 9:30am. Right on time! We were in a Mercedes mini-van.      The tour company was called Miles & Miles. It was just Dad and I. I think Roberto was the owner, so that's cool.

We started at the Capuchin Chapel. This was somewhere I'd read about, but didn't think it was part of our tour. It has nothing to do with coffee.      The Capuchin monks believe that "the body is not important, the soul is important". To prove this point, this chapel is decorated with the bones and even some full bodies. Sounds creepy, and it kind of was, but very neatly done. You couldn't take pictures, but we bought a set of postcards at the end.

I think there were 5 chapels inside and each one was different. One was called the "pelvis chapel" and the decoration was hundreds of pelvises and some other "filler" bones. It's hard to imagine, but was very neat.

Then we went to the Trevi Fountain and got to throw our coins in, make a wish, and hopefully come back to Rome.      It worked for me last time (because I'm here again!) so hopefully it works again.   

Went to the Spanish Steps, where we learned it should really be called the French Steps. It's called the Spanish Steps because the Spanish Embassy is the building on the right (as you're looking up the stairs), but that's the only reason. As for why it should be called "French", I can't remember the specific reason, but it had something to do with the French church that is at the very, very top of the steps, and also, I think, with who built them and/or commissioned them.

Our next stop was at a little coffee shop for a cappuccino. I don't like coffee flavor at all, but you know what they say: "When in Rome, do as the Romans". So, I had a cappuccino.      It actually wasn't too bad. I did add a pack of sugar and that took away some of the bitter (to me at least) coffee taste. It was pretty rich though and I couldn't finish it off, so Dad finished it for me.

Our driver also told us that the Pantheon (that we saw yesterday) was 143 feet wide and 143 feet tall. It would be a perfect sphere (if it was a sphere!   ). We didn't go today because we had seen it yesterday, but he gave us a little bit of history. The hole in the top was for three things:

1) The Pantheon was a temple to "all gods" so the hole allowed people to worship whichever God they wanted 2) Light from the sun 3) Sundial

Then we stopped at a kind of cool & unexpected place! Apparently our guide, Roberto, volunteers here, so tries to bring people here (unless they really don't want to come!). It's called "The Cat Sanctuary at Largo Argentina" and is downstairs under some ruins. It is like a Humane Society for cats. They spay/neuter them, give them medicine if needed, and try to adopt them out. The cats can be indoors or out. There were at least a dozen roaming around the ruins! I don't think they could get out of the ruins, because there was Plexiglas around the ruin fence.

So Roberto took us downstairs into the cat room and we got to pet some of the cats. I'm sure Dad loved it!      They were all (or most!) very friendly and just wanted to be petted. When we got done, we walked through their "gift shop" area and he asked us that if we were going to buy a Rome calendar, to please buy one here because it supports the cats. So Dad and I each bought one - it's pictures of the Rome ruins with cats.      I also bought a porcelain cat. It's an awfully cute black & white cat, standing up. Apparently it is some quite fancy porcelain, called Deruta. Everyone was surprised that I hadn't heard of it before.

Then we went to Gianicolo Hill to see a beautiful view of Rome! Really spectacular.

For lunch, we stopped at a restaurant that served home-made pasta. Very good! And nice atmosphere too. It had light purple walls and red glass lights, which sounds awful, but it was quite tasteful. The food was good too. We had 4 or 5 plates of antipasto (appetizers) to choose from, some bruschetta, then ravioli, and some other tubes of pasta. And, in typical Italian fashion, tiramisu for dessert. I had to tell our guide to tell the restaurant folks that I wasn't eating everything because I had had weight loss surgery, not because it wasn't good. I felt bad leaving so much on my plate.

After lunch, we went to the famous "Keyhole". It's literally a keyhole that you look through and have a direct view of St. Peter's in Vatican City. They say it's the only place where you can see three countries at once: Italy, Vatican City, and The Knights of Malta (which was the door the keyhole was in).

My camera battery died here too, and my spare wasn't charged either, so no more camera for me. How sad.

Next stop was Palantine Hill. We were standing at the stadium, looking at the ruins on the hill. I think Roberto said that CHristians were killed here. We always think of them as being killed in the Colosseum, but there is no record of a Christian being killed in the Colosseum, at least not for the reason of being a Christian. Also, when the stadium here was demolished, they used this marble to build St. Peter's. I have to assume it was the original one (under the current one) because the current one was built relatively recently.

Then it was a short ride on The Appian Way. We went outside of the Rome City Wall through one of the gates. Dad asked some question about St. Paul and the three taverns and confused everyone.      Our guide went around asking other guides and no one knew where the three taverns were at on the Appian Way. Our guide finally asked the priest at one of the places we stopped and came back and told us. Apparently it was 30 miles (I think) down the road, but there were no buildings or markings or anything left.

Our last stop was the Colosseum. I got to go inside this time! My last trip here (in 2002), because of my hurt leg, I couldn't keep up with the group, so didn't get to go inside. It was neat though. Only bad thing was that we only had 20 minutes inside. We took lots of pictures (with Dad's camera, since mine was dead   ).

Our guide then offered to take us either down to the center of Rome to do some shopping or take us back to the hotel. We opted to go back to the hotel. Mostly because we didn't need to go shopping and we were still pretty tired from our busy trip (the whole trip, not just today's trip).

For dinner tonight we headed down the street from our hotel to the same pizzeria we ate at last night. It was kind of like a fast-food pizza, already made and you just picked which one you wanted a slice of. We debated going to a "normal" restaurant tonight, since it's our last night in Rome, but since we had to get packed tonight, we opted for the pizza since we didn't want to spend 2+ hours at dinner. And the pizza was really quite good.      After dinner, we stopped at the bakery across the street from our hotel and got an ice cream cone. I had cherry, Dad had cherry & dark chocolate. Then back to the hotel to get our suitcases packed.

Tomorrow our flight leaves at 10:25am. We fly to New York (JFK) and have a 5 hour layover (or 5½??). But we have our Delta Skyroom pass, so at least we can use that. Then we fly to Portland and land about 11:00pm tonight. We have a room at The Hampton Inn for the night.



Photos


Daytime view from our Rome hotel room Gotta watch out for this raised block in the parking/driveway area - it caught Dad and almost sent him flying to his knees! A government building in Rome
   
The Capuchin Crypt - The hallway to the various crypts. The Capuchin Monks believe that "the body is not important, the soul is important" - and they decorated with their dead bodies to prove that point! The Capuchin Crypt of the Skulls The Capuchin Crypt of the Pelvises
   
The Capuchin Crypt of the Leg Bones and Thigh Bones The Capuchin Crypt of the Three Skeletons - A close-up shot of the child's skeleton on the ceiling The Capuchin Crypt of the Three Skeletons
   
These were called Umbrella Trees - they look really neat from far away Angie - making a wish at the Trevi Fountain Dad - wishing that he will come back to Rome sometime. I wonder if it will work?   
   
The Trevi Fountain A 24-second movie of the Trevi Fountain Another view of the central portion of the Trevi Fountain
   
An obelisk with very unique markings Close-up of the markings - they are quite ornate carvings, almost like hyroglyphics Taken from the French church at the top of the Spanish Steps
   
Beautiful balcony on one of the buildings Angie on the Spanish Steps (see the French church at the top?) Bruce heading up the Spanish Steps
   
This is a fountain at the bottom of the Spanish Steps, designed & built by Bernini's dad. It's called "The Fountain of the Old Boat". Angie Bruce
   
Dad at one of the gates into Rome. I Google'd it, and I think this is the Porto del Popolo. Angie This picture was taken just through the gate - Everything is perfectly symmetrical. Very neat.
   
Some ruins under a bridge Heading into the Piazza Navona First view of the piazza
   
Angie in front of one of the fountains in Piazza Navona Dad Looking up the obelisk
   
Rumors are that the artist (Bernini??) didn't like the church behind the fountain, so he made the one character (on the right) hide behind his cloak so he didn't have to look at the church The other side of the fountain Angie
   
Dad in front of one of the fountains in Piazza Navona Dad Angie
   
  Our guide took us to a cafe and we had cappuccinos. The guy behind the counters is the one making them. Probably as beautiful as you can call a cup of coffee   
   
These ruins are in front of a Cat Sanctuary that our guide volunteers at. The cats could roam the ruins whenever they wanted. See the little black cat in the bottom left corner? Another picture of the ruins Some nice greenery in the ruins. There's probably a cat here somewhere, but I can't find it.   
   
Ah, there's a couple of the kitties Did you notice the doughnut?    More of the Cat Sanctuary ruins
   
Ruins of some sort of round building   Dad taking pictures of the ruins
   
Bruce Angie Another of the kitties
   
This was our guide, Roberto, holding one of the cats inside the shelter Angie with one of the cats Ah, this one really loves me!   
   
What a sweet kitty. He was really friendly. There were cats everywhere, but they were all really well taken care of Dad in front of an apartment building that looks like the Colosseum! How cool would that be?
   
Angie Check out the gold car on the pedestal in front of the building - we never did figure out what it was for!    Kind of a neat view looking up the apartment Colosseum model
   
These were the ruins in front of the Colosseum apartment building A Roman temple This fountain is in front of that Roman temple
   
This building was at the top of Gianicolo Hill Beautiful panoramic view from the top of Gianicolo Hill Dad taking some pictures   
   
Zooming in on one of the domed churches in Rome This stark white building is often called The Wedding Cake. It's not viewed nicely by the Romans. This is the side view, but it does look like a wedding cake from the front.  
   
Angie & Bruce in another self-portrait Dad at the table in the restaurant where we stopped for lunch. The food was fantastic! Angie at the table
   
This picture doesn't do it justice, but the walls were a light purple and the lighting was red, but it was a great look in here! The plates we used had the name of the restaurant on it - Osteria Dei Pontefici. It was a family owned restaurant The Tiber River
   
One of the bridges over the Tiber River Angie The famous "Keyhole" in Rome - you can see 3 countries through here - Italy, Vatican City (yeah, we really could see St. Peter's Cathedral, but it doesn't show up in the picture!), and The Knights of Malta (I hadn't heard of it, but you can Google it!). The door that the Keyhole is in belongs to the Knights of Malta.
   
Looking at the ruins on Palantine Hill. Between us and Palantine Hill was a giant stadium, where many Christians were killed. Angie - you can see the curved end of the stadium in the background The stadium stretched this whole width - it really was huge!
   
Close-up of some of the ruins on Palantine Hill - they say that the wealthy people lived up here Dad with Palantine Hill in the background Heading onto The Appian Way
   
Streetsign announcing The Appian Way Angie Dad
   
Apparently these are the footsteps of Jesus - we're not sure we believe it though!    This is the Catholic church where Jesus' footsteps are - note the painting of Peter's upside-down crucifixion The other side of the church - with a painting of Jesus' crucifixion
   
Dad getting a drink of water from the Roman Aqueducts It was unique because you had to plug the bottom hole to get the water to squirt up like a drinking fountain I don't remember the significance of this art, but it was beautiful
   
Heading back into the city Angie and the Colosseum Bruce and the Colosseum
   
A picture of Angie & Bruce, taken by our guide An arch near the entrance to the Colosseum Angie - INSIDE the Colosseum! (I didn't get to come inside on my trip to Rome in 2001)
   
  A neat shot looking up inside the Colosseum Angie - the cross in the background marks the spot where the imperial VIP's and other important parties sat
   
  You can see the labyrinth that was under the Colosseum Looking straight down from one of the upper levels. Kind of a unique perspective.
   
It looks like Dad's relaxing at the Colosseum, but we really didn't have time to relax! Yeah, I'm not relaxing either    This is looking up into a section where the rich people sat
   
    Picture outside the Colosseum, taken from inside the Colosseum
   
Angie - headed down a steep flight of stairs! A broken pillar, laying down This was taken from the roof of our hotel. It is the garden at the monastery in our hotel building.
   
A wider view from the roof of our hotel The Papal Archbasilica of St. John Lateran - we had a good view of it from the top of our hotel Dad, on the roof of our hotel
   
Angie on the roof of our hotel Angie - we sat at a table up here to write in our journals. And there I am, writing in my journal   
   
Dad's first sunset picture of our whole trip!