Pilars of Marble inside the Vatican
I began my trip to Italy in the beautiful city of Rome. Me, my mother and her best friend met a friend of mine who is stationed in Naples at an Army base at the airport. We had our first experience with Italian food and the train system. Surprisingly, it wasn't that bad. The train system in Italy is extremely affordable and the food's really good.
We spent two days in Rome. The first location we went to was Scalinata Della Trinita Dei Monti (The Spanishe Steps), since it was winter time, there wasn't a lot of flora blooming yet, and there was a lot of construction goin on in the surrounding area which made the steps kinda bland, I'd like to visit again in the summer when there's more activity.
Endless ceiling of paintings inside the Vatican Museum
From there we located a local market place called "Camp de' Fiori" where we found loads of locally made souvenirs and great fresh fruits and vegetables at extremely reasonable prices. The Vatican was next, be prepared to spend several hours between the Vatican and the Vatican Museum, the Museum itself is huge. Also, be prepared to go through a metal detector and have your bags searched at the Vatican, security's tight there. The vatican has the most elaborate marble work that we saw in the whole country, the marble was amazing as well as the statues and history of the basilica. Our last stop on our first day was Fontana di Trevi (Trevi Fountain) which in my opinion is the most beautiful fountain I saw during the entire trip. It's in a small square where 4 streets come together and you won't see it until you're right up on it.
There are several small eateries and gelati (Italian Ice Cream) shops in the square. We got gelati and ate it whil we observed the beauty of the fountain, which encompasses two pegasus' coming out of the water with a statue of the God Neptune overseeing the tritons taming the water.
Our second day had a lot of traveling squeezed into one day. We went to the Pantheon first. The sheer size of this monument was absolutely breathtaking. Raphael's tomb is inside the Pantheon as well as the only completely open oculus (the opening at the top of the dome that lets in light). When it rains there are tiny drain holes in the floor of the building that help keep it from flooding. The Il Gesu Basilica was our next stop. My best memory of this basilica is the painting that you will see if you walk in the main entrance and stop halfway up the aisle, then look directly over head.
Outside of the Pantheon
It's as if heaven is opening up to take in all of the sould sho have died. Absolutely amazing. Next stop was the Colosseum. Wasn't as exciting as I thought it would be, but nonetheless amazing considering when it was built and that it's still standing. They were reconstructing the floor of the Colosseum that covers the catacombs when we were there. Lots of inexpensive souvenir shops right outside. Next stop was Victor Emmanuel II Monument (Tomb of the unknown Soldier). Breathtaking once again. If you go to the very top on the left side there is a museum you can visit for free and a cafe. We also walked through the Palatine ruins just outside of the Colosseum, it will give you some insight of how large the wealthy family's houses were and how elaborate too. The gardens are beautiful still and well kept.
This concludes my first two days in Italy.