Wednesday, 20 July 2016

The Eternal Rome-ance - Day 2



Roman Forum

Rome and Florence                                                                  Italy

Friday 18th July 2014

I woke up at a reasonable time fresh as a daisy for the day ahead of me. As soon as I was ready I headed into the hotels restaurant where I would have my first breakfast of the holiday. The food at the table was a typical continental breakfast with slices of ham, cheese, bread rolls and cereals. It was quite a spread of food but it was lovely nonetheless. It was time to head into the city centre to take in more wonderful sights of Rome’s finest locations. It was never tiring seeing the lovely sight of the Colosseum again even after the long walk to get to it. I wanted to go in again but not yet I thought as I continued on passed all the hustle and bustle. The first place I went to see was the main entrance area to see the Roman forum and to take better photos of it. I was not disappointed though when I took some beautiful pictures of the pillars and the columns along with the sunlight bouncing from them. 
Arco di Tito
Roman Forum
Roman Forum

I then figured out where the Campidoglio was and headed straight for it. It was a bit tiring reaching it but as I got up to the higher level off the ground I had some great views of the Colosseum and St Peters dome at Vatican City far in the distance. The Campidoglio was a very beautiful area and home to the Musei Capitolini with a collection of Roman sculptures started by 15th century popes within its walls. I then headed down a set of stairs only to climb back up another set right next to them to get to the Santa Maria in Aracoeli which was a hefty climb but eventually got to the top with sweat pouring from my head. I was not the only one who was sweating once they reached the top as there was countless other trying to catch their breath. I was looking forward to enter this church because it appears in my Assassins creed brotherhood game. I went in and suddenly recognised each individual part of the church; as though I was actually in the game. It was accurately detailed which I was expecting especially the beautifully designed ceiling colouring the church in a lot of gold spreading across the entire church ceiling with hints of navy blue. There were also chandeliers and unique designs on the panes of glass surrounding the whole building with pictures of hornets within them. 
Piazza del Campidoglio
Piazza del Campidoglio
Santa Maria in Aracoeli
Santa Maria in Aracoeli
Roman Skyline
 It was a beautiful church to see and after taking a few pictures of the church, I decided to head straight for Isola Tiberina. I had to use my map to find it but eventually there it was in front of me. I was excited to step onto the small island in which I managed to find a café and sat down with an Italian beer watching the world go by. It was nice to see the Tevere River surrounding me as I was planning my next move. 
Roma Ruins
Isola Tiberina
I decided to head to the infamous Pantheon which was another main sight I was looking forward to. This was a long walk from the Isola Tiberina but as soon as I figured out where it was I was ready to scream with excitement. My jaw dropped with the sight of this spectacular building with its monstrous Roman pillars in front of it and it got even better once I had entered into the building through the largest wooden doors I had ever seen. The sheer size of the church was magnificent with its unique layout and large hole at the centre of the roof. This was all very familiar to me because of my game. It was getting quite busy in the church so I decided to have my dinner at a restaurant next to the Pantheon which was very relaxing as I ordered yet another lasagne. Im sure throughout my time here I would try something different to eat but for now all I cared for was the beautiful lasagne I ate. 
Pantheon
Pantheon
Pantheon
My next location was of course Vatican City. I was also heading to that area in order to get my Roma pass for my time here. I had prepaid for this Roma pass so I could get into certain locations for free, skip the main queues for each location, discounts in certain shops, museums and also free use of the hop on - hop off buses throughout the city. The walk was yet again long from the Pantheon but was welcomed by the spectacular sight of the Castel Sant’ Angelo and the Ponte Sant’ Angelo bridge in front of it. I took some great shots of the building and when I headed west from the old castle, there was Vatican City straight ahead of me. Words could not describe how much of a wonderful site it was to see this place. I fell in love with it the same way I did with the Pantheon and Colosseum as soon as I got closer to the square. I could not get over the size of the dome where I could see dozens of people right at the top of it taking pictures of the Roman landscape. 
Castel Sant` Angelo
Castel Sant` Angelo
Vatican City
Vatican City
I eventually found the place where I claimed my Roma pass which was a relief as I could start taking full advantage of it. The first location where I used it was the Vatican museum. It was great as I could skip the long queue of people waiting to get in. When I got in, there were spectacular sights of the gardens and courtyards with a golden sphere at the centre and also statues and sculptures which was very unique as I’ve never seen so much in one place before. I then headed inside the museum once more walking through small rooms until I had seen the main attraction; the greatest area I seen in the museum which was the infamous Sistine chapel with its famous Michelangelo painted ceiling. It was an incredible feeling to behold even though the area was jam packed until it was time to move on through narrow corridors and more small rooms. The museum was a great experience as I left the building feeling happy with what I had seen. 

Vatican Museum
Vatican Museum
Vatican Museum
Roman Skyline
Vatican Museum Courtyard
Vatican Museum
Vatican Museum
Vatican Museum
Sistine Chapel
Leaving Vatican Museum
As I now had my pass with me, I decided to enter the Castel Sant’ Angelo. After gaining entry walking through the outer walls, I was yet again won over by the beauty of the place. I went around the ramparts seeing wonderful sights of the city but as I gained height and ended up at the top of the castle, it was a marvellous feeling to see across rooftops of the ancient city.


Ponte Sant` Angelo
Castel Sant` Angelo
Vatican City Skyline

Unfortunately, it was time to head back to Vatican City and take full advantage of the hop on-hop off tour bus in order to rest my tiring legs from walking all the time. I sat at the top deck with a sense of relief waiting for the bus to move. Just before we left, a woman came upstairs and sat next to me as there were no other seats available. She started talking to me and I was talking back. I never knew her name but she told me that she lives in Brazil but speaks French which was a first for me to hear. Yet again the thing that let it down was the language barrier. However, we were having a great time chatting and having a laugh about our experience here. Time passed quickly and I soon arrived at the Colosseum where I would shake hands with the woman I sat next to and get off the bus heading straight back to my hotel. It had been a very long day of sightseeing but it was amazing though to be amongst the infamous Roman sights. However, as I neared the Terme di Caracalla, I got stopped in my tracks by an American woman who was wondering where the Terme was because of an opera performance starting soon. After telling her where it was, my curiosity got the better of me and I followed them to the entrance. I had no clue about who was performing but I was happy to know that it was a free event which I took advantage of. I was excited as I got my ticket knowing that this would be the first time that I had been to an opera performance and what better way to experience such a play than in Rome. The play was called La Boheme which was a classic play and the reason it was free was because the performers were on strike for some reason. After waiting a very long time queuing up, I eventually sat at a seat waiting for the show to begin. I couldn’t help but notice that everyone was dressed to impress whereas I looked the total opposite; I was probably the only British person in the audience too. Behind the stage area, the ruins of the Terme di Caracalla were lit up with a soft orange glow illuminating the stage slightly before the performance had started which definitely gave it a good look. The show finally began and I was speechless throughout. I knew it would be good despite not understanding much of what they were singing about. It was beneficial though when on each side of the stage were large screens with subtitles of the words sang both in Italian and English. There were some funny parts in the play too alongside fire breathers and jugglers which were remarkable as we all gave them a round of applause at the end. As soon as the play was over, I headed straight for my hotel with a long walk to get there. I was so glad to finally lie on my bed with my feet up and the cool air flowing through the room. I definitely burnt off the food I had today and also thought of the marvelous sights before drifting off to sleep.

Terme di Caracalla Opera Performance

Terme di Caracalla Opera Performance
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