Fun Fact #1: Uschita means “exit” in Italian. It is pronounced ‘ooh-shit-a.’ Every time I see and say that word, I have way too much fun enjoying that it’s like I’m cursing.
Fun Fact #2: Since ancient times, Rome’s city has risen MANY feet (over 30). You have to walk down hill to enter the Pantheon (such an important building in its prime had staircases up to it), the Roman Forum was excavated from miles of mud and dirt that had accumulated.
Not-So-Fun Fact #1: Today, Friday June 29th, is St. Peter’s and Paul’s holiday. Lisa (tour guide) knew this before we came, so we altered our visit to the Sistine Chapel and Vatican to be the day before. Well, the Pope has a lot of power. And, he just so happened to decide to close the Sistine Chapel a day early. While the Vatican Museum and St. Peter’s church was still open, the Sistine Chapel was off-limits. Boo.
Rome was another quick 1.5 day visit, so like Florence, I’ve got the Top 4!
|The Colosseum (playing with the Special Effects on my camera!)|
|Bronze Hercules at the Vatican Museum|
4. Despite not being able to visit the Sistine Chapel, the Vatican Museum and St. Peter’s church were a once-in-a-lifetime experience. I’ve studied enough Greek and Roman and Renaissance history to know most of the artwork and sculptures that crowd the incredibly massive Vatican Museum, but it is quite another experience to see the original. Whether I was studying the details of the classic sculptures or awing at Michelangelo and Rafael’s paintings, it was awe-some. It was hot, and the a.c. was weak if ever present; it was crowded, and each room was packed to the walls with loud and pushy tourists. But, it was the Vatican Museum. In Rome. St. Peter's Basilica and piazza was less crowded, due to its greater immensity, and it was just as beautiful. The intricacy of each painted ceiling tile and perfectly carved sculptures was almost intimidating. There were open arches of the ceiling allowing the sun's, or "god's beams" as Joyce aptly put it, to pour onto the rows of seats. A choir sang Handel's "Messiah" as a large group enjoyed the evening mass. I can’t say enough how much words just can’t do justice to these experiences.
|The god beams in St. Peter's Basilica|
3. At the end of the day, as the sun slowly set, we took an evening Fountain tour. Around every corner, I seemed to find ancient obelisks and Roman fountains. Between the ornate smaller drinking fountains and the Trevi fountain, history and architecture is busting out the seams of Rome! (Of course, I made a wish at the Trevi! It’s tradition!) I think the Trevi fountain was the most spectacular; worming through the crowds to get down to the front was worth every minute. Words do not do it justice.
|Making a wish at the Trevi!|
2. “Allyson, did you visit the Colosseum, the Roman Forum, and the Pantheon in an intense 3 hour walking tour on the hottest day of the year?” you may ask. Why, yes. Yes, I did. While I can’t say that I loved every minute of sweating my guts out, I certainly loved the majority of it. It is the Colosseum. It is the Roman Forum. These are the important architectural pieces of history that are still standing from the powerful Roman reign. This is what I’ve read about, learned about, longed to visit and see. I have achieved this dream. I have seen these awe-inspiring monuments. I have walked in them. Sweat profusely in them. Taken one hundred pictures in (no exaggeration). Take that, Bucket List!
(I apologize that the few pictures I have included do NOT give proper credit, beauty and appreciation to this feat. Just wait till I create a facebook album…then the roll of pictures will really ensue!)
|Fanciest iced-coffee I've ever had|
1. After 5 days in Italy, it is inevitable that I have embraced the essence of Italians. Colette and I did what Italians do best: leisurely eat in the good company of others. On more than one occasion, we found a good café, a good patio (if we could stand the heat), and a good meal. Pizza. Panninis. Pasta. Coffee. Wine. Gelato. (Thank god we do so much walking and climbing steps here. It is the only reason I have not gained 5 pounds in 5 days!) To sit in a café in Rome, watching the world go by while I sip on my wine? I know how blessed I am to be here on this trip. Blessed.
|Perfume bottles found in Roman Forum|
|In the Roman Forum|