Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Rome I

Bella Roma, the city of the ancient Roman civilization, is about 3 hours from the Sorrento area.  After a stop on a very foggy Mt. Vesuvius, where we saw a wolf looking down on the picnic area.  We took pictures at the beginning of the hiking trail to the top, but opted not to hike up in the cold and fog. DSC03677

We arrived in Rome in the evening, checked into the Residence Candia, fixed dinner, and went to bed.  Early Wednesday morning we walked up a huge set of stairs to meet our tour guide in front of the Vatican museums, which includes the Sistine chapel.  The nice part about this tour was that after we got inside, we were given a map and allowed to wander through at our leisure.  The area was immense.  We began in a hall filled with Roman statues (although after looking at so many they all start to look alike), then continued though a courtyard to a section that had relics from the Egyptian and Etruscan civilizations.  Then we walked through rooms of paintings oDSC03792n the walls and ceilings by great masters like Raphael, among others.  We saw several rooms of modern abstract religious art before finally reaching the Cappella Sistina. (Just because it is donated, doesn’t mean you have to display it, especially if it is ugly.)  I was able to snap off a picture in the doorway, before the guard requested that no pictures be taken.  It was smaller than I thought it would be and we almost needed binoculars to be able to see details on the ceiling.  It must have taken Michelangelo years to complete the work.  The chapel was beautiful and the detail was incredible, but impersonal and grandiose.  I am so thankful that our God is a personal, and desires a relationship with us, through belief in the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ and His saving grace.  We spent 4-5 hours and still didn’t have time to see everything for as long we could have.   We went back to the hotel, fixed lunch in our kitchenette, and took naps for an hour.  DSC03810

After a rest, we went bacDSC03849k to visit St. Peter’s basilica.  We were typical tourists, taking photos of the paintings anDSC03854d sculptures, and examining the intricate detail in the church.  We also went up to the dome and were some of the last people allowed to go up before they closed.   The view is worth the nearly 350 steps to the top after a 3 story elevator ride.  You can see out over the city, and no one is allowed to build anything higher than St. Peter’s.  After a few minutes of the view I was ready to go back since heights are not my thingDSC03855.  You wind into the inner section of the dome, filled with gold leaf mosaics.  Mass was being held while we wereDSC03860 up there and the echo of the choir was breathtaking.  After we came down and exited, Mom and I took pictures of the Swiss guards stationed outside the basilica.   We then found the guys and took a few more pictures with them, before realizing we needed to find something for dinner.

We decided to go to a restaurant that a friend recommended from when she visited Rome.  On the way we stoppedDSC03889 at the Spanish steps, and then continued on to see the Trevi Fountain.  At the Trevi fountain, the legend is that if you throw a coin in backwards, someday you will return.  Shawn had thrown a coin in last time he was here.  We also spotted a shoe store across the street, the name, Sore.  Mom and I took a picture right below it, since our feet were feeling it.  We gotDSC03894 to the restaurant and were happy to sit down and finally have dinner.   The Ristorante Nautilus is located on Via dei Serviti 28 (largo Tritone) not far from the Trevi fountain.  They offer Sicilian dishes, as well as local specialties.  The food was delicious, and we met another English speaking couple who were touring Rome and then going on to Venice.  It was nice to meet some fellow Americans.  We headed back to the metro station and passed the Spanish sDSC03901teps again.  It was less crowded, so Dad and I walked up to the top and had our picture taken.  Then we hopped on the metro and walked back to the hotel for a good night’s sleep, first stopping to take a picture next to an aptly named ristorante.