Rome June 16, 17, 18

Disembarking in Rome June 16/15
We got off  the ship earlier than planned, so about 8:15 am and went outside to wait for our prepaid shuttle. We wait and waited and waited. After calling the office of the limo company, found they were on their way only to wait and wait and wait some more. Then some more calls found that the driver was waiting outside the port. Oh yes now we remember that you have to change busses to go to boat so it’s the same in reverse. We did finally connect …… At 10:15. 

After arriving at our hotel for the next 3 nights…the “Yes” hotel ….very near the Termini station, we trek off to see the Coloseum.  Jim has a tour there and heads off on his own.  Marion, Joyce, Jeanette, Pamela and myself have a walking ” food” tour.  We run into Margrit, Gerry & Janet at the Coloseum and Shirley has gone back to the hotel to rest.

We met our guide for the evening,”Alex”, in an area not in the regular touristy areas…… Not far from the Tiber River.  It was a lovely walk along the tree lined river bank on our way there.  Alex had been to Victoria when he worked and lived in Seattle for about 3 years……so spoke perfect English.  Our guide was a part time actor appearing in Gangs of New York amongst others but has since quit.  Now he translates books from English to Italian and vice versa as well as does tours.

Where we met him in the square Piazza Mattei, there is a “fountain of the turtle” built in the 15th century, that means “make haste but do it slowly”.  After one course of dinner we got an unexpected tour and history lesson.  Each course was followed by another walking tour and more history.  

We started out in the Jewish ghetto area built in the 1550’s.  There were 7 gates. In 1871 the Jews were freed from ghetto by the king of Italy.They had been held captive for 3 centurys.  They were “free” until Mussolini descriminated against them but it was the Germans that took them away to Auschwitz.  8000 had lived here at the time, October 1943…they took 2091 (all that they could find) but only 12 survived the death camp.

In 1903 Jewish synagogue was built.  It is the only square dome in Rome.  In 1982 it was attacked by terrorists.  We saw police presence on the street…….still.  
Pavements are 1700-1800 year old cobblestones. Parts of building structures are from hundreds years bc and added to as the Tiber flooded.  There are no skyscrapers in Rome because nothing can be higher than the dome at St. Peter’s.

We were shown the Flori de Campo, which is regular marketplace by day …..and a lovely street that we definitely wanted to check out another day…..for shopping.   Things seemed waaaaay cheaper here than the designer shops near the Spanish Steps.  In interesting thing……in one place that we ate at, there was a glass covered hole in the floor that you could see what was left of a Roman bath.  Very cool!

Everywhere you look in Rome it seems that they are digging up and restoring the ancient buildings.  Different than here where everywhere you look they are digging up roads and then trying fix things…….that are probably less than 50 years old.

We were all so full of food after this tour was over but also so more informed as to the history of this smallish section of Rome.  That was more than we expected. 




2nd day……hop on, hop off bus

It was the longest lasting empire dynasty in history

We started at Termini station completed 1950…..Extremely huge with shops and banks etc. 

Rome began in 750 BC on Palatine Hill, Etruscans then Romans to 3rd century AD. When Christianity was accepted. At the height of empire there was 1 million people. The roman empire ending in 476AD.

 2nd stop Santa Maggiore church.. Picture with obelisk in front.

Coloseum former name was Flavian Amphitheatre built in 80AD., it would hold 50,000 spectators. Gladiators were condemned slaves and prisoners. Survivors became heroes. Constantine arch was built in 315AD when Constantine converted to Christianity. Circus Maximus was 500 x150 ft with 2 sets of ruts where chariots would race.. Would hold up to 300,000 in bleachers on each side. 

Sorry to say that the Trevi Fountain was waterless.  That as well as other ancient sites including the Coloseum, are being repaired and restored to past granduer.


Wedding Cake War Memorial


Circus Maximus


Trevi Fountain waterless


Jim and Shirley at Spanish Steps

 Vatican City.  3rd day in Rome.

St Peter’s dome was started in 15th century, the chief architect being Michaelangelo but was not completed until 1626.  He was 72 why he started that project.  The church was built on the spot of St. Peter’s death.  He died a martyr and was buried in 64AD.

The Vatican Museum…..Michaelangelo was not a painter but a sculptor and so had to learn as he went. Lived 89 yrs.  In it there are 200,000 pieces of art.  Sistine chapel took  him 4 yrs  to do, 1508-1512.  The are 500 characters but no animals and no landscape. He was annoyed and left the job but 5 years later he came back.  That was when he did the Last Judgement with 700 characters.

Floors are recycled ancient marble from Greece and other colonies.  The tapestries are amazing too…..totally three dimensional as are the the paintings in the ceilings.  It looks as if they are done in relief but are all in fact all flat.

Fresco is painting with wet plaster that after 8 hours cannot be corrected so you had better not make any mistakes.

Raphael in competion with Michaelangelo, Raphael had helpers, M. did it all by himself.

St Peters  dome is 45 metres in diameter and 9 stories high.  The 180 m long 1506 to 1608 to build.  185 m or 550 feet high dome, the nave being by186 meters long.  It is the 2nd longest in world after St Pauls in London

Michaelangelo was 21 years old when he completes the Pieta …….amazing! All of the sculptures are absolutely incredible.

M. took over building the dome after Rafael died at 39… It is make in mosaic.  The lettering around the inside of the dome only is 2 xs our guide’s height.

4 columns in the centre under the dome, are wood covered in bronze

There are 25/30,000 visitors per day but on Wednesdays 150,000.  Thank goodness we were not there that day.

The traffic jam was horrendous with motorcycle being the absolute fastest way to get around…..but scary!


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