Thursday, 21 July 2016

The Eternal Rome-ance - Day 3



Rome Skyline

Rome and Florence                                                                  Italy

Saturday 19th July 2014

Another fine morning arrived indeed despite my legs aching with all the walking I did yesterday. I headed over for breakfast all the while going over in my head of what to do today. I then headed out with a rough idea on what to do with my day plus the weather was beautiful and hot as was expected. I decided to try and find the catacombs near my hotel. However, I changed my mind as it was well out of my way and further than I thought. I did come across the Porta san Sebastiano which was one of Rome’s ancient gateways into the city and it looked ancient indeed but nice to see which could still possibly do its job of holding back the enemy. 
Porta San Sebastiano
I then decided to head to the Colosseum knowing the long walk ahead of me would be gruelling. I could have easily grabbed a taxi or even jumped on the back of a moped (not that im suggesting you do that as you may be thrown off by the driver) but I was trying to save my money. When I eventually arrived I chose to enter the Colosseum again using my Roma pass this time which meant I could skip the main queue. I felt a bit smug though passing all the people lining up in the main queue to get in who I was assuming were giving me funny looks as I walked by. It felt great getting straight in revelling in the arenas marvelous wonders once more. As I took pictures last time it meant I could take in the essence of the arena a lot more looking at everything in a greater detail. Then I noticed how intimidating the Colosseum looked from the lower level imagining what it looked like with thousands of spectators witnessing a fight to the death. I eventually exited the building and to give my legs a rest, I took the hop on-hop off tour bus to get to Vatican City. Along the way we passed the Circo Massimo and the Isola Tiberina with the wind blowing in my face cooling me down until we arrived at the busy Vatican City. It was nearing dinner time at this point so I sat down at a restaurant on the main street to try something different for once which was spaghetti with clams. My mouth was on fire with the peppers they had put in but despite this it was an interesting taste which eventually grew on me. 

Spaghetti and Clams

I headed to the meeting point where I picked up my Roma pass yesterday to book in for entry to the Basilica of St Peters. At 12:30pm we set off following the guide to the front entrance of the Basilica. After going through security, we were free to have a look around the place. As soon as I entered the Basilica, I was overwhelmed with the shear size of it with its high ceilings, large pillars and sculptures which all had beautiful art and architecture with colours of gold spreading around the building. It was fantastic to stand inside hearing the low tone echoing around the vast area and then I caught site of the large dome right above my head. It was a magnificent spectacle to behold with beautifully designed paintings on the dome. Further in I noticed a few glass caskets too with popes who had died over the decades which were definitely a first for me to see. I realised that there were people up at the base of the dome so I was eager to get up there myself. 

Basilica di San Pietro
Basilica di San Pietro
Basilica di San Pietro
Basilica di San Pietro
Basilica di San Pietro
Basilica di San Pietro
Basilica di San Pietro
Basilica di San Pietro
Basilica di San Pietro - Mosaic art
I eventually found the entrance to get to the dome and had to wait in a small queue and pay to go up. I got into the elevator but it took me only so far up so I had to walk up the stairs to get there. I lost count with how many stairs I climbed but eventually I arrived at the base of the dome with me beginning to sweat. As I walked out to the walkway I was shocked about how high up I was to the ground at this point; the people below looked like tiny ants too. My mind was playing tricks on me though as I looked straight down but despite this it was marvellous to see and witness the inside of the dome close up. 
Basilica di San Pietro
Basilica di San Pietro
Basilica di San Pietro
I then found the steps to get right to the top which I definitely wanted to see. So I climbed and climbed and climbed the marble stairs which were starting to get narrower and I also noticed that the closer I got to the top, the more the walls were going on an angle due to the dome shape. It must have been claustrophobic for some people as it was becoming narrower along with people close to each other, but I just wanted to get to the top like everybody else. 
Basilica di San Pietro
Time had passed as my legs were suffering with the climbing but eventually I felt a strong cool breeze hitting my face indicating my arrival to the top. There were so many people at the top all looking at the most amazing view of the entire city of Rome and beyond. The whole climb was worth it I thought as I took an amazing picture of the city below. I could see the Pantheon, the Colosseum, Emmanuelle II monument, the Castel Sant’ Angelo and the Trinita dei Monti (Spanish steps). I was lost for words as was everybody else and I felt so happy to be there witnessing this fantastic view in the flesh. After spending some time at the top taking the scenic sights in, it was time to head back down which surprisingly was a lot easier to do. I had one last look in the Basilica before leaving which was still a wonder to be a part of. 
Basilica di San Pietro
Piazza San Pietro
Basilica di San Pietro
Vatican City Guards
Basilica di San Pietro
Piazza San Pietro
I took a quick trip to the Trevi fountain afterwards watching people throw their money into a make shift pool before heading to the Pantheon for my tea. I had a lasagne with chips yet again and a Corona to wash it down. I constantly looked at the Pantheon falling in love with it every time. After tea I quickly went inside the Pantheon to admire the beauty before heading to my next location. 
Trevi Fountain
Santa Maria Sopra Minerva
Reataurant at Pantheon
My Rome guide suggested that I should see the Piazza Navona which was not far from where I was. It claimed to be one of the world’s most beautiful squares and so, as I arrived it did not disappoint. The first thing I had seen was the large fountain piece at its centre. It had a large spire with hieroglyphics carved in them with roman style statues at its base. A long with its other unique fountain areas it was definitely a wonderful square to be a part of. It was a nice place to cool down too with the water trickling down into the pool area as I sat for a while at the edge just relaxing my legs taking in the sites which I assumed everybody else was doing too. Even with so many people in the area, the sound of the water was peaceful and blocked out the voices and sounds. 
Piazza Navona
Piazza Navona
Piazza Navona
Piazza Navona
Street Performer
My next location was the Teatro di Marcello which looks a lot like a mini Colosseum but this was set underneath houses. This was definitely unique to see along with roman pillars which surrounded one side of it still standing tall.
Teatro di Marcello
Teatro di Marcello
Roman Pillars next to Teatro di Marcello

Not far from there was my next location; the monument of Emmanuelle II museum which was free to enter. I had a quick look around inside and from what I could see it was an exhibition about WW2 but the Italians part in the war. It also showed how the monument was built in the 19th century to honour the first king of a united Italia. This white marble structure was humungous and as I headed back outside I caught my eye on a lift to the very top of the building. Yet again I had to pay to get up but as I got up to the top I was welcomed by views of the city skyline once more but at a different angle. It was a great feeling to be high up again looking at the city and also the ant sized people down below. I headed back down to ground level to witness the front of the building which was the most beautiful part of the whole building. There were so many sculptures set in the buildings marble work with dozens of columns spread across the building. There was also a huge bronze statue of the king himself on his horse standing proudly at the centre. Behind the statue burned the eternal flame which was guarded day and night by two Italian military soldiers. To finish off the so called ‘wedding cake’ were two huge flags of Italy blowing high and mighty in the wind. 
Monumento a Vittorio Emanuele II
View from Monumento a Vittorio Emanuele II
Monumento a Vittorio Emanuele II
At this point my legs were increasingly becoming tired so I headed back to the Colosseum again but only to sit outside of the building and rest. Like the Pantheon, I stared at the Colosseum falling in love with it as the sun began to set creating a nice orange glow on the stonework. I eventually took the long walk back to my hotel and my legs at this moment were losing energy. A long while had passed until I felt relieved lying on my bed. I had seen so much on this day and it was a memorable day to experience.

Colosseum

Colosseum
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