...do as the Romans do
I sit in my hotel room on my last night in Rome and nearly laugh at that statement. When in Rome,
you say that phrase. I now see why the
last part of the expression is dropped.
If we lived our lives as they did back in ancient times, life would be
chaotic. Chaotic in the sense of dealing
with which gladiator match to go to, whom to get ready for as next emperor, or how
many arches to include in the next set of aqueducts. While one might think of today as modernized,
civilized, domestic…I’m seeing, after experiences in this city, just how far
from the truth that statement is.
Though, I must tell you…I’ve barely had time for experiences. We got the bad end of the deal for this
portion of our study abroad.
full days in the oldest city on earth…are you kidding me!
Nonetheless, I’m exhausted after two amazing
days of traveling around the city.
we were allotted two days in the city, the holiest of cities was welcoming back
its leader during the first of these full days.
Pope Benedict XVI was coming back to Vatican City, and we were fortunate enough
to witness this spectacle. This
spectacle consists of millions of people flocking to a square (which isn’t even
a square!) and our group not being able to get anywhere near our scheduled tour
of St. Peter’s Basilica. When the time grew near for his arrival, I
grew more and more astonished with what I was witnessing.
An endless mass of people kept collecting in
an area too small for this loyal denomination.
Talk about a difference not seen anywhere else in the world.
One man can cause this.
One man, what he represents, and what he
means to millions of people around the world.
It was simply breathtaking to view this devotion and commitment from so
I would bet that half of
them didn’t even get to see the pope!
The procession went on for a few hours, and I never saw the crowd go
I can’t imagine someone in America
receiving nearly this much praise and awe…President Bush, Tom Cruise, Tiger
Yeah, right…they pale in
It really felt as though
people were flocking to see Jesus.
The Pope is back!
blind faith was felt as I was amidst all those walking around the enormous Vatican
Saturday is a day I’ll never forget.
travel to the land of contradiction, as much as I long to stay out of it. Rome
has been a tough city to get around in simply because of the enormous amounts
of pedestrian traffic. The subways are
packed, the buses, trams, and sidewalks, nearly unapproachable. Like travelers did in the 18th
century when they came to see the classics, tourists everywhere were crowding
every historical landmark in Rome. These people don’t need a Piranesi print,
they have the real thing in front of them.
The Sistine Chapel
This being the oldest surviving city, it is in the nature of man to be
fascinated by this and want to be a part of it.
Human nature has intrigued us enough to make us excavate these ancient
ruins a few centuries ago.
Ever since, Rome
has made the
transformation from peaceful city to one of the biggest tourism spots in the
St. Peter’s Basilica today and was mesmerized by all that I saw. This church is the mother of all
churches. I loved every inch of it, but
at the same time, felt a responsible guilt mixed with contradicting
feelings. All these people, everywhere
viewing everything that there is to see.
Fountain of the Four Rivers
I happened to be in the church at the time of mass, so the awkwardness
set in quickly.
At first, I felt
responsible for every flash going off in the building.
Don’t take pictures while people are having
Communion is not synonymous with
“take a picture of the cardinals!”
I grew angry with the Vatican
with the city of Rome
And the contradiction switched sides.
I felt bad for being there, but if I wasn’t
encouraged so much, I wouldn’t have been.
The officials in charge set up a huge stage for the pope, chairs dotting
St. Peter’s Square everywhere, awaiting his return.
People love and adore him when he comes
But what about when he is just
living…hanging out around Vatican
, out of sight.
Mass in St. Peter's
Do as the Romans do…and take flash photographs of deceased ones that
held the papacy before him?
I cannot believe how laid back and relaxed
church and museum staff are in Roma.
still bothers me to think of it as hypocrisy.
“We’ll let you off your leash, let you climb on ruins, take
pictures of things that you shouldn’t be photographing. But, when the pope comes home, you better be
there to see it, and on your best behavior!”
What are we…sheep?
Herds of people go in and out of the Pantheon and Colosseum every day,
only to take away ‘priceless’ pictures of history on paper. I'm guilt, I won't lie. This whole system just doesn’t make sense to
be relating to the pope or archaeological digs hundreds of years ago, the human
race wants excitement.
I spy a fake sunglass vendor
neglected, religious rules are cast aside.
The pope comes home and everyone turns religious.
The largest church in the world is right next
door and everyone turns into a cameraman.
And this goes for everywhere in the world. Rome
is a wonderful city, but from my tourist eyes.
As a devout Catholic (which I’m not), I would be offended and ashamed at
We must always seek
enlightenment, but need to remember the fine line between respect and neglect.
I’ve done as the Romans did…in my
own thoughtful way. Ciao!