28.12.2009 - 31.12.2009 46 °F
Miles travelled 109.
On this visit to Rome, we did our first real “Roman Tourist” stops. In our previous trip to Rome we didn’t go to any of the usual spots. So when people asked us did you go to the Coliseum we had to say no. ditto for Trevi fountain. This time we decided to make sure to hit some of the highlights.
Our first stop by the subway exit was Maria Degli Angeli.
It was previously a Roman Bath house which was converted to a Church. The Church was fairly impressive, but even more so the art being exhibited there along with an exhibit about Galileo and his discoveries. Galileo very much believed that by investigating “Science” it was like asking questions to God and receiving answers from the “Book of Nature. We wandered this sector of the city looking for the Opera. It turns out they were sold out for our whole visit. I guess the opera is pretty popular over the holidays.
Our second stop in Rome was the Coliseum and Constantine’s arch.
They did not disappoint, though we were surprised because as soon as we came out of the subway the Coliseum was right there in front of us. We did our trademark “dip and kiss” and enjoyed the site lit up for the night time toursists. We then walked along the Via Forii and saw many of the Forums constructed by various emperors to do the business of governing.
We also saw the Monument to Victor Emmanuel II, we enjoyed it very much though many view it as an “eyesore”.
We also saw the Trevi fountain and visited a Church across from it.
The church was nice and prayerful, with a multitude of people lighting candles and meditating inside. We completed the tradition of tossing our coins in the Trevi fountain to make sure we would return to Rome before heading out. Next we walked to the Spanish Steps. The Spanish steps were decorated for Christmas with a subtle tree and nativity scene.
The next day we went by the Vatican to see about getting a Mass said for a friend who passed away. It turns out that the office that does that is only open from 4-6 and we arrived at 2!
Well, we decided to jaunt over to St. John Lateran to see something on my “to see list”. It was the Popes’ seat before St. Peters was built. The land was donated by emperor Constatine himself, but the church that is there now only has pieces of the original church due to sackings, earthquakes etc though most of the early popes are still buried there.
I twisted my ankle (again) on the uneven pavers outside St. John Lateran as we began the dash back to the Vatican while the Mass office was open. Sara left me outside the pharmacy to seek cough medicine and an ankle wrap while she went on to the office alone. She succeeded in her mission and we were reunited in time for dinner. Sara and I really felt good to have accomplished this goal for our friend.
We also partook of some good Italian food including Gelato and Tiramisu. I had been tempted on several occasions in different countries by the fresh roasted chestnuts, well I finally got some. They are not quite what I expected. They smelled good, but had a strange semi-solid texture and a somewhat bland flavor.
We got a better feel for Rome this time, but the graffiti and garbage around the city still leave us a little disenchanted with the Eternal City. Next, Onward to Poland!