I wish that I could say our day began with us getting up early and attacking Rome full force, but that was not the case. Because we got in so late last night, I’m afraid we all slept in and didn’t have the urge to arise in the morning. So, today’s story begins around 1 pm.
The plan for today was to spend the entire day at the Vatican. We researched how much it would cost, if there was a student rate, and even learned that there is a dress code. Yes, you can’t get into the Vatican unless you are dressed appropriately. Both men and women must have their legs covered to the knee and have shoulders covered. If you don’t follow this- you can’t get in. Simple as that. We were dressed and ready. Time to go.
Our B&B is actually quite close to the Vatican. we are only one stop away. Because it was so late in the day, we stopped to get lunch on our way into Vatican city, and following suit, we had Pizza. We also had to deal with more really mean Italians- and as we spoke with other Americans, they echoed our sentiments that the Italians were not great- so, we felt justified in our opinions. But oh well, for a set of mean people they have a beautiful country. This seems to be the case in life, when people have something they don’t deserve. Life lessons- check!
Once we had been fed, our first stop was St. Peters Basilica. It was free and the line moved rather quickly, which was nice, leaving us time to enjoy it rather than really loathing it. Much of the sculpture is done by one of Morgans favorite sculptors (and also becoming one of mine) – Bernini. The whole thing was just incredible. The walls inclosing it, the building itself, seeing where the Popes are buried, even one of the dead Pope’s on display!!! Yeah. It was awesome. I took lots of pictures and enjoyed getting to learn so much about art history through these buildings. At the point and time of the height of the catholic church. They were the only ones able to afford to commission these artists, so they created great works for them- it’s awesome. Because w had Morgan lots of the back story and intent in each piece was revealed to us, in addition she took us around in search for her favorite pieces, so it we super fun to be able to have her show us a picture of it and then begin a massive game of “I spy.” We really enjoyed it and time just flew! Before we knew it, it was 4:30pm and the Vatican museum and the Sistine Chappell closed at 4:30…
Needless to say we didn’t make Sistine Chappell or Vatican museum today, that’s for tomorrow. However, we u we’d our time wisely, and because it was such a beautiful day. We decided to use the rest of our afternoon/ early evening and go see the remaing ruins of “Ancient Rome.” Across from the Coliseum is a section fi the city that once was the seat of power for the emperors and the Forum. It’s now in ruins, but we spent the entire rest of the afternoon, until an old Italian man chased us out with a whistle, viewing the ruins, trying to picture what it may have been like, and hiking through the remains. I could sit and list EVERYTHING we saw, but suffice it to say we saw The Forum, the Palaces of the Emperors both August and Flavian ( including the gardens), temples to various gods (when the guard wasn’t looking I hoped on a pedestal next to a statue of a Vestal Virgin and struck a pose, Morgan got the picture!), the Capitol, the baths, the market place and the via Appia! Whoo, we did a lot of walking, but it was great, and I really enjoyed it. I even bought a book on the “archaeological guide to Rome.” It helped us to figure out what was going on, and gave us more stories to discuss. By far the best part of exploring Rome with friends is having lots of discussions. I really enjoyed the ruins because it put a lot of what I had learned in High School Latin classes into perspective and really helped solidify my understanding and appreciation for the Romans.
An interesting observation today both while in the Basilica and the ruins, in Rome the drinking fountains are just that- fountains! No really, you drink from these founts they have out flowing with potable waters. No joke. It’s really cool and fun to get to drink out of a fountain that’s just flowing away. At least that’s what we were told to drink. If I get sick, know that I still enjoyed it.
The evening took us to see the final of fountain we missed last night, an d iris one was a fountain of a sinking ship. Fontana della Barcaccia (English: Fountain of the Old Boat) is a Baroque fresh-water fountain in the Piazza di Spagna in Rome, Italy, just below the Spanish Steps. It is so named because it is in the shape of a half-sunken ship with water overflowing its bows. The fountain was commissioned by Pope Urban VIII and was completed in 1627 by Pietro Bernini and his son Gian Lorenzo Bernini. The shape was chosen because, prior to the river walls being built, the Tiber often flooded and in 1598 there was a particularly bad flooding and the Piazza di Spagna was flooded up to a meter. Once the water withdrew, a boat was left behind in the square. See, drinkable Water!
After our last fountain it was off to get any last bits of art we had wanted from the gold mine art gallery we found in the square with the other fountains. When we showed up the square was in full bloom with various street artists doing their thing. By far the best to watch were the ones who created paintings out of spray paint. Their technique is interesting and mayor the make it such a “performance art” in how they do it that it’s fun to watch. However,those are not the paintings we are interested in. Sadly there are so few artists doing original art work, we like to support them because they are not selling copies, it they price themselves out of our range. Oh well, reproductions it is. Bt we ended up with some great ones, so I’m not too disappointed. Ill keep my eyes out tomorrow for anything else- maybe ill see someone on the street who’s doing originals.
Our evening could have gone on late into the night once again, the subway runs until 1:30am on weekends, but alas we have so much left to do on our last day that we cannot risk not getting up early to get it done. So, we are heading in early so that we have a fresh start for the Vatican museum and Sistine Chappell, Pantheon, and a special art collection that we are excited to see. Our flight tickets are all changed and confirmed for Sunday, so we shall be flying back then, and this time I guarantee I’ll be jet lagged, because I’m going against time and not with it. Hmmmm….but regardless it’s been a fun trip, despite its woes, and that’s what matters.
Italian observations: for some reason every time we go into a public place: a square, a relic, a fountain, etc. there are men walking around selling stuff to people. They vary their stock items from scarfs, to flowers, to laser pointers, what their selling doesn’t matter- the point I’m getting at is that they are annoying! They keep badgering you to buy things, they will put things in your hands if you are not paying attention and then ask for money, and they crowd every place and walk around making these disgusting whistling sounds because they are chewing on whistles. Which brings me to another thing. Yesterday we saw the Italian police man of the year directing car traffic at the colosseum. He had his whistle out, hand gestures perfected, and was not someone you would want to cross- I’m just saying.
My last observation today is about the roles that Vespas play in the Italian motor way. Someone must have sent out a memo that said something along the lines of:” hey, if you own a Vespa the rules of the rode don’t apply to you- yay! Feel free to weave between the cars in various lanes, cut to the front of the line and ignore traffic lights, and drive down the tiny roads that are so small and crowed that you should only be walking on them. But you have the RIGHT to make everyone stand against the wall as you drive by because you own a Vespa.” Many of the main roads in Rome are cobbled stone rather than paved, so it’s already scary enough as it is. When we rode the bus the other night, it was insane as we literally bounced up and down flying own the road. Oh, I’m glad I don’t drive here.