Saturday, August 10, 2013


"Everyone soon or late comes round by Rome."
- Robert Browning

On the road to Rome...

Sometimes I got so immersed in the beauty of the moment and missed completely some tidbit thrown in by the tour guide... hence, there is no name for this church.

The Tiber River... did you know it was such a little, wandering, muddy piece of water? The photo is begging to become a watercolour.

This bridge ties Garbatella to Rome for ease of transit, cutting journey times of employees, crossing over Metro and RR tracks. After we passed this bridge, I realized it was something unusual so I cranked myself into a pretzel to capture this as our bus sped away. The Bridge Garbatella-Ostiense-Rome is locally dubbed "The Cobra" for its unique design having just opened for traffic on June 22, 2012.

You can find lots of great photos of this bridge if you click here.

As we rode along there were ruins to left...

ruins to the right...

ruins everywhere.  The Colosseum was Sherwin's no. 1 pick of all the sites in Rome so if you click here you will read his extensive blogpost on the subject.

I highly recommend Google for as much or as little detail as you are looking for. Google and Wikipedia have been very helpful.

When I wander through a site I go for the beauty, the feeling, the pleasure of the moment.  The texture, the colours, the ambience is what I carry home from the places I go.

"The traveler sees what he sees.  
The tourist sees what he has come to see."
-G. K. Chesterton

Having built some bona fide arches in my day at the orphanage I oohed and awed on this overdose of arches.

 Notice the cross? The Colosseum was built with the plunder from the siege of Jerusalem in 70 AD so you know it wasn't built for Christian purposes.

And here it is from the other side. This cross has been erected to honour the Christians who died here for their faith in Jesus Christ. What a humble tribute to such a costly sacrifice... but that makes good sense.

"The tyrant dies and his rule is over, 
the martyr dies and his rule begins."
- Soren Kirkegaard

Imagine, if you will, the thousands of people crammed into this huge amphitheatre crying out for blood.

I found it to be a sobering moment.

The size of the Colosseum is truly awesome.

When I started this blog I was not aware of all the information available online. Click here and you can read all about Arches of Triumph from ancient times. Rome was not the first city to build an arch to honour battles or wars.

This is one 'ruin' that the locals visit. It has been used as a mausoleum, fortress, castle and a prison.

Castel Sant'Angelo was originally commissioned by Hadrian (famous for that wall in Britain) in the 2nd century AD as a mausoleum for himself and his family. He must have been planning on a large family. Hadrian was known as one of the Five Good Emperors of Rome.

And a lovely bridge by the same name, Ponte Sant' Angleo that crosses the Tiber, was also commissioned by Emperor Hadrian.

It would have been delightful to be in an open-air bus to do our drive through Rome but alas and alack, that was not to be.  So I just snapped anything that impressed me from the window.

When we stopped by this shop at lunchtime I thought my grandson would look quite handsome in this head gear but was most disappointed to read the little price tag attached!  (350 Euros!!)

In the distance we saw this landmark that we had been looking for with keen interest.

Our next stop of the day was Vatican City and thanks to Google here is a simple map to give you an overview of where we went.

At the top of the white area you see the word 'Enter'?  That is where we made our entrance. Our itinerary in the Vatican was as follows:
Vatican Museum Courtyard
Sistine Chapel
St. Peter's Basilica
St. Peter's Square

Our tour guide looked straight at those of us with 'serious' cameras and said, Now we are going to stay together and I will lead you through at a slow pace.  Keep up. (or something like that...)

Beautiful courtyard... I like blue skies and sunshine! They make anything look even better.

In the middle of the courtyard is this very large sphere. It seems that this is one of a few spread around the world, designed by artist, Arnaldo Pomodoro, with very interesting theories about it's symbolism and significance!

Click here to see more and come to your own conclusions about it's role in the world and whether  or not we should be worried?!?! Really, take a look at that article...

Now there is our tour guide showing us how to make the world go round! He was just a bit over 5' so you can see the size of the sphere.

Speaking of size...

I took this photo with my telephoto lens on full but do wish I would have had Sherwin go back and stand by it.  But then I found the next photo on Google images which shows you what we were seeing proportionally.

Remember we are at the Vatican so everything is on a large scale...

And now the 'slow-paced walk' through the Museum began.  It was a bit of a blur...

Saw a whole room or maybe two of tapestries.  Exquisite close up work...

Somebody is buried in the big red box... cannot remember hearing who that was.

They did a great job on their ceilings!

When I got totally overwhelmed with all the gilding and marble, etc. I would go to a window and look outside for some relief.

Even there I saw some more marble made to look like a man...

After walking for miles through this place we were directed to the Sistine Chapel where we were to take our time looking for ourselves but NOT allowed to photograph.  Sherwin will do a blogpost on the Sistine Chapel! Big Smile!

I would recommend you see the Museum and the Chapel on two different days.  By the time we got there our minds were numb with all we had tried to absorb in the past couple hours so much of the Chapel was lost on us.

It was interesting to notice the guards watching people with cameras and it was also interesting to see how many people were escorted from the premises for NOT listening to the rules!

Next stop... St. Peter's Basilica

...  click here for a legend to the floor plan that will help you understand. We entered at no.9 and took an immediate turn in at no.6...

You step into St. Peter's and you are immediately bombarded with an overabundance of texture and detail.  Now I have heard the old adage two different ways.

God is in the details.

The Devil is in the details.

It is an amazing church.  But I had to remind myself I was in a church.  For some reason, even though I was enjoying everything I saw I didn't quite get the church/worship thing happening.

My photos do not begin to get across to you the size, the grandeur or the beauty there.

I was expecting to get up close to the Pieta by Michelangelo.  But some 'clown' got too close to it some years ago, damaging the sculpture, so after repairs were made they put up a bullet proof glass in front of it and a fence.  

This sculpture is the only one that Michelangelo ever signed.  One day Michelangelo overheard someone attribute this work to another artist and in a pique of pride he wrote his name in the marble across Mary's chest. 

Sherwin did put in a Euro for me so I could have some lights shine on this sculpture.

If you go back to the floor plan of St. Peter's you will see there are side chapels where you can pay extra Euros to sit and pray.

If you were to watch the ceremonies that go with any service at the Vatican you may see this Papal Arch sitting near the top of the Basilica directly under the dome. Designed by Bernini it was intended to mark the spot over which Peter is buried.

Click here to read more about this magnificent piece of bronze work.

Directly over the Papal High Altar you can look up into the dome. It is even more magnificent if you realize the era in which it was built.  The workmanship everywhere is quite awesome.

Our son is waiting to see arches, pillars and whatnot to show up in some of our work here at home!  Well, the thing I went to see was the tile work.  The mosaic work in Italy is extraordinary... look closely at this side altar and you will see it is made up of tiny pieces of tile.

Now this is what Shelby should be watching out for in the future around here!

Everywhere I looked I was awestruck.

Our time in the Basilica was very short even though we were on our own with no 'keeper'.  Our eyes were pretty much falling out with overkill. The church requires much more time to do it right.

This is the entrance (portico) where we first came to the church but now I stopped a moment to take a look at how they finished their foyer.  Hmm... next time I help with an interior on a church I will have to remember all that I saw this day!

We broke out onto the front of the Basilica looking out over St. Peter's Square... I prefer to use the word Piazza because that doesn't sound so square and St. Peter's Square is not square.

Looking back up to the front of the Basilica...

Over to the side to see the Papal Apartments...

And there at the entrance a Swiss guard in all his 'prettiness'.

They were preparing for some grand festival coming up on the weekend so there were preparations with chairs and lighting and sound equipment.

But in the centre there is an Egyptian obelisk of red granite. This obelisk has been moved three times in its 4400 year history.  It was moved here in 1586. It took 13 months to erect the column in this location. Click here to read more.

The piazza is surrounded with columns 4 deep and topped with statues of apostles, prophets, and saints.  If you look again at the map of Vatican City you will see the the shape of the total piazza has the curve of arms.  These are to symbolize the arms of the 'mother church' welcoming her children home.

The day had disappeared so quickly I almost had to pinch myself that I had truly been there.  Looking back for one more photo...

We boarded the bus ready for a rest on the way back to Civitavecchia and our boat.

On to Pompeii tomorrow!!

Until then, be well.


  1. I love that Garbatella Bridge... really cool design. But who was the architect or engineer? Any ideas who did it? It isn't Calatrava, my favourite Spanish architect we learned of in Venice.

  2. Now that's an post! I'm not sure why you stopped at 64 pictures -- I'm sure you took more..

    I did look up that crazy sphere thing, I'll keep looking into it. It looks cool at any rate.

    No mention anywhere in your post of Hanno, the awesome pet elephant of Pope Leo 10, the "party pope" and ML's nemesis. You need more Hanno!

    Maybe that can be the subject of your first mosaic.. ha ha.

    1. I am going to have to do more research and find out about this Hanno. You know, Shelby, we were only in Rome one day and we saw so little. That town takes a lot of time to really do it right. Another time.

      I could have given you more photos to look at, you are right. I probably started out with 4-500. I have about 350 still in files on just Rome with 80 + as my "Best of Rome". But I didn't want to tire out my friends.

      Thanks for stopping by. Now I am working on Sicily which will be much shorter. Until then...

  3. That was one crazy busy day... what with going to Colosseum, then the Vatican Museum and then St. Peters. It was hard to stop taking pictures. Then in the Sistine Chapel where they had guards everywhere and emphatically forbade taking photos, I sat down on a bench against the wall and innocently got a shot of the ceiling. That post is still coming.

  4. Yes, looking forward to the "illegal" shots!

    Were the guards all dressed up in those fancy stripey costumes? Not sure can really take those guys all that seriously..

    1. You saw my shot of one of the pretty boy guards? Good reason to smile.

      Illegal shots happened, alright. Our cameras are so loud I am amazed that your father did not get ushered out of that Chapel. It was so crowded... so jammed with people.

    2. Shelby, I just read that Hanno was interred in the courtyard that we walked through. Now our tour guide may have said that but we did not hear everything he said, due to lack of attention on our part, and enunciation on his.

      Did you know how Hanno died? Poor fellow. He ws constipated and they gave him a laxative made of gold!?!?

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  6. ha, yeah, didn't know about that gold poop!

  7. What can be added to the fine comments above? Indeed. I was overwhelmed with the 64 photos, I can only imagine your day full of seeing, and taking photos, and processing it all. So much!

    Up near the top was a lovely quote by G.K. Chesterton. Loved that!