Europe day 5-Rome, Italy

October 24, 2013  •  Leave a Comment

Making Friends
We took the free shuttle to the port entrance. On our 10 minute walk to the train station from the ship terminal we saw another couple doing the same. I asked if they wanted to walk together. We bought the one day train pass for 9 euro. After we bought the train tickets we have with only one minute left to run to the platform which is all the way at the far side. We caught the train to Rome just in time. We sat together and talked about our plans for the day.

St. Peter's Square
An hour later we arrived at St. Pieto Station. Walked over to St. Peter’s square to see the Vatican Museum and St. Peter's Cathedral. I already booked the admission for the Vatican Museum online so I didn't have to wait on line. The other couple did not make reservations. The line wrapped around the high stone wall half way around the mini city. That would be equivalent to several blocks which means 1.5 to 2 hour wait. They decided not to go in and moved on to other landmarks. Once we were inside at 9am we follow the audio self guided tour. The building was very crowded and very hot. There are no air conditioning like most historic buildings.

Vatican Museum
This Museum has the most impressive collection of statues and paintings and artifacts throughout the ages. Almost every bit of space is used to display all the treasures the Church collected or commissioned over the millennia. It is hard to walk fast among the herd of tourists. The light is dim in many of the areas and it is super crowded so photography is difficult. We started at the courtyard and entered a small area with lots of stone bust of various saints or important people from the past. Next is the Egyptian room where there were some mummies. There were some statues of Egyptian gods. I can't remember exactly what was in the Rafael room.  The Frescoes room has lots of different paintings all along the walls and ceilings. The carpet room displays many carpets and tapestries. To preserve the color in the fabric, the light in the carpet room is very low. There is a room with many greek statues including one for Hercules. There is an open Octagonal courtyard with stone sarcophagus that are carved with various figurines and topped with sculptures. The map room has different maps showing places like Italy from many eras ago. Last was the library but all you can see were the bookshelves. The books were moved to modernized archive room for preservation.

Sistine Chapel
Finally we reached the Sistine Chapel. This is the part you must see. Some tours are limited on time and they would skip some of the rooms I mentioned above to get here. When I went inside, I craned my neck up to look at the ceiling fresco. Michaelangelo's depiction of God's creation from Genesis, God giving life to Adam, Noah’s Arch, Last Judgement. Photography is not allowed in this room. Guards surround the small chapel packed with people. I would have loved to stay longer to look at the room but the unstoppable flow of people pushed us to the exit. About 5-10 minutes later we made our way out of the Sistine Chapel.

Vatican Post Office
Through the library and modern art section we reached the post office. We wasted 30 min mailing a postcard to myself at home. Another 15 min at the gift shop. By the time I got out it was almost 12 noon.

St. Peter's Cathedral
The St. Peter's Cathedral is huge. Along the walls and between the columns there are giant marble statues. Every inch is painted or covered with marble. There are many statues like Mary with a dying Jesus, various Popes. In the middle is a cupola in front of which is staircase going down to burial chambers for St. Peter and other saints. These are roped off and tourists are not allowed to enter. Sun beam shone down through the high windows. Some one stood in the beam and stretched out her arms on the side to make a shadow of a cross. I took a picture like that too. Very difficult to pull myself away from such an amazing place full of history. It is truly a majestic place to worship God. 

Spanish Steps, Trevi Fountain and Panteon
Took the metro train to Spanish Steps and arrived at 1:30 pm. We walked half way up the steps to the church to look at the view of the surrounding area but didn’t go all the way up to the church. We played with the fountain and pretend to drink from it. I forgot whether we ate here or at the Trevi Fountain. We bought panini from a mobile food vendor. It did not taste that good. Not even like what we can get from a mid-town deli. Trevi Fountain is super crowded. Completely surrounded by tourists. We managed to make it to the fountain's edge. We saw lots of coins in the fountain. You are not supposed to throw things into the fountain and there are guards watching. We took pictures posing as if we were throwing coins over our shoulder. I made a wish to come back someday. The Fountain has sculptures of a Greek god, horses, maidens, and so on. Then it was a long walk to the Pantheon. It is over two thousand years old and it looked very old on the outside. The inside is very well maintained. The inside of the Pantheon looks round and has a dome top with an opening. Around the walls are statues. At the base are some displays of saints buried there. A small group of musicians were playing music there. 

Roman Forum and Roman Ruin
Almost 3 pm we got a bit lost trying to reach the Roman Forum or the Roman ruin. Where are the taxis when you need one? Then I realized we should have started from the direction of the the Coliseum towards Spanish Steps. Because the entrance to the ruin was on the other side. We ended up walking along the side of the Roman Ruin and looking down into the ruins from the outside. 

Roman Terminal Train Station
We have very little time left before we had to get back on the metro to transfer to the train back to the port. We rushed along the side of the Roman ruin and run in for the last 10 minutes and finally reached the outside of the Coliseum. 4 pm took the metro train from Roman Termini to Terminal train station. The train back to port was again on the far side of rows of platform. The train left at 4:39pm and arrive at Livorno at 5:45pm. Back to the port and the cruise ship.

 

Back to Day 4-Pisa, Florence Day 5-Rome, Italy Next to Day 6-Capri, Sorrento, Pompeii

 


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