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When In Rome

July 23, 2011 by Chelsea Slone

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There is no place like Rome. It is one of the most famous cities in the world with great reason. The culture, the atmosphere, and the phenomenal history make this big city a place you can’t resist falling for. Being home to the Vatican, the Coloseum, the Pantheon, and so much more Rome truly is the most amazing historical city I’ve ever visited. The fact of the matter is Rome is a place you could spend years and never learn or see all the wonders it has to offer, but in a couple of days you’ll find the urge to see as much as you can.

The Colosseum, one of the Seven Wonders of the World, is a monumental ruin found in the center of Rome. As you walk down the road nearing closer and closer to this structure you cant help but stand in awe…and immediately think of the Gladiator. The Roman Colosseum was completed in 80 AD by Emperor Vespasian for his successor, Titus, and built to hold 50,000 people. It it considered to be the greatest work of Roman architecture and engineering. In 847 a devastating earthquake caused the collapse of the southern side, and the marble facade and stones were later used in the construction of St. Peter’s Basicila. The Colosseum was used for gladiatorical contests and public spectacles, such as animal hunts, mock sea battles, executions, and dramas.

The Trevi fountain is the largest and most famous baroque structure in all of Rome. The gorgeous fountain origins go back to ancient Roman times by Augustus, and the water sorce was first found and used to provide water for thermal baths. Later in the 18th century Pope Clement XII decided to restore the Trevi district and begin work on the fountain we know today. It took three centuries to complete and is attributed to Bernini, but for the most part the work was done by the Roman architect Nicola Salvi. When visiting the fountain you must keep the traditional legend alive, by throwing in a coin so that you are ensured to return to Rome.

The Pantheon, considered as a temple to all gods, is said to be built in 27 AD but no one knows the exact age of this well preserved structure. The structure optimizes the achievements of the Ancients with it’s open dome creating a mystical presence inside the structure. The Pantheon was built according to the wishes of Marco Agrippa son-in-law of Emperor Augustus to glorify the sobering family and was the first temple built for the common people. Michelangelo, a legend himself who not easily impressed, expressed his opinion of the Pantheon to be “angelic and not human design”, and at the time the structure was already more than 1,350 years old. Today, 500 years later, the Pantheon is still standing strong.

Last but not least, The Vatican, which was our favorite historical site to see during our visit to Rome. Vatican City is actually a small city state which is governed and run by the Pope and is a completely separate from Rome and Italy. Executive power over the area is in this hands of a commission of cardinals appointed by the Pope. The Vatican city territory consisted of a walled enclave of 110 acres, and has a population of around 800 people. Within Vatican City there are the famous Vatican museums, Saint Peter’s Basilicia, and Sistine Chapel.

The Sistine Chapel, where the conclave takes place, was by far the most impressive part of visiting Vatican City. We actually took the early morning tour of the Vatican twice with different family members in town and were really able to enjoy the meaning and significance of the work in the Sistine Chapel before thousands of tourists packed inside. The Chapel was built between 1475 and 1483 for Pope Sixtus IV. Some of the greatest artists of all time who designed the walls of the Sistine Chapel were Sandro Botticelli, Ghirlandaio, Pinturicchio, and Luca Signorelli. The walls consist of stories drawn from the life of Jesus Christ and Moses. As impressive as the works of art on the walls are, the ceiling, done by Michelangelo, is the considered to be one of the greatest works of all time. Michelangelo himself was considered to be one of the most powerful painters in the Italian high renaissance era. As it is well known, he did not want to paint the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, sculpturing was his true passion. However, Pope Julius’ dictatorial power forced Michelangelo to paint the chapel. In the vault on the ceiling there are nine scenes from the book of Genesis. Surrounding these paintings in historical order are various images of the prophets and various old testament subjects. In all, 336 figures were counted on the 1,300 square meters that were painted by Michelangelo. In creating these frescoes perfectly on the ceiling with energy and depth depth Michelangle created a scaffolding to cover his work and he painted the entire ceiling in four years standing, despite the myths of him lying on his back. After three decades of being finished with the ceiling Michelangelo was one again commissioned to come back and paint the second coming of Christ, or the Final Judgement. All of Michelangelo’s work in the chapel is truly magnificent and has been an inspiration for artists throughout the entire world.

With all of our amazing site seeing experiences we did have a little time to enjoy some of the amazing restaurants and fun areas of Rome. After a couple afternoons wandering around the Spanish steps we quickly discovered it was our favorite area. The trendy little boutiques and sidewalk cafes created the best ambience in the city. We also came across a delicious restaurant, La Taverna die Fori Imperiali, which quickly became another one of our favorite Italian meals! We also stopped by for a drink at the well known Harry’s Bar, famous after being in the 1960’s classic film La Dolce Vita. Great times with the family in town!

That’s it for now, next stop Tuscany, for some great wine and relaxation!



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