Rome Travel Blog› entry 5 of 8 › view all entries
Iâ€™m finally getting to update my blog again! We have been in Rome since Sunday evening, but have been running around pretty much continuously and the internet has been very finicky.
I have to admit, when I first got here to Rome I was a little skepticalâ€”our hotel is in a fairly sketchy area when you see it at first (during the day it is really not sketchy at all, just somewhat desertedâ€”plus the hotel is in my opinion a luxurious place to stay, so Iâ€™m happy), and everywhere we go seems to be paved over or scaffolded or railed offâ€”so things have not overall been in the pristine condition I expected.
Nonetheless, within the few days we were here, I completely fell in love with Rome. It is different from Florence (which I really really loved); Florence is more one of those walk around at night and look at the river (with some historical places), while Rome is more one of those places where you go around to look at things and appreciate the sights and the history. Overall, I feel that Romeâ€™s history is far more complex, and it is definitely the historical aspect that has drawn me in.
Our first day here we spent with lecture followed by a walking tour of the ruins. We were left to explore the ruins â€śon our ownâ€ť (I have to admit, it seems like there is far too much that we are â€śleft to do on our ownâ€ť but at the same time you canâ€™t really fit everything into class time either and still have anytime to sleep). I had a good time exploring and figuring out what I was looking at, then headed over to the coliseum-which was HUGE inside. It is sad to see how much marble is gone from the original building, and it is interesting how there is a big cross on the bottom floor and a big plaque to St. Pius (I think?) outside. Christianity definitely left its mark on Romeâ€”it seems like many of the ancient buildings were turned into churches. I am still trying to figure out whether the buildings would have been in even worse shape if they hadnâ€™t been reoccupied.
afternoon we went to the supermarket and then back to the hotel just in time
for me to catch the group heading out to take pictures of the coliseum at night .
Tuesday we went to the Vatican! This was very exciting. We went to the museum first, so I did not get my first view of St. Peterâ€™s Square until middayâ€”what a huge and amazing plaza! I think I am just now, a few days later, having it sink in that I was really there. We also got to go into St. Peterâ€™s, which was also incredibly HUGE and beautiful and ultimately more moving than I had expected. If you stand to the left front of the baldachino and look around, you feel incredibly dwarfed by the arches of the ceiling and very in awe (which I suppose is the idea). We stayed for mass in Italianâ€”which was also really amazing; even though Iâ€™m not Catholic, going to mass at the biggest, most important Catholic Church was incredible.
Tuesday night Jenny and I explored and found the Trevi Fountain and the plaza with the Triton Fountain by Bernini (with the Hotel Bernini in the background).
Wednesday we had more class, a walking tour of the churches (including Piazza Navona and Berniniâ€™s Four Rivers Fountain, which was sadly out of service), and went to the Borghese in the afternoon. One of my favorite things, however, was that we had our first choir practice. Dr. Ulrich is hilariousâ€”we were singing out in the middle of the park, and he kept trying to get people coming by to give us money. Iâ€™m excited to learn some songs so that we can perform somewhere.
Wednesday night was another photo excursionâ€”back to St. Peterâ€™s Square and over to the bridge of angels leading to the Castel of St. Angeloâ€”beautiful sunset pictures. I also saw two wild river otters in the Tiber River, which made me very excited since I love otters and have never seen wild ones before. We also found the best and most reasonably-priced gelato place yetâ€”called Blue Ice on the road between St. Peterâ€™s Square and the Ottoviano metro stop.
Jenny and I continued our pursuit of finding all the churches from Angels and
Demons. We finally found the S. M. del Popoloâ€”but the Chigi Chapel was covered
with scaffolding .
I guess that is appropriate since in the book the whole church is closed for
restoration. We also went to the S. M. della Vittoria and found the Ecstasy of
St. Teresa (completing our search for all the Angels and Demons sites).
Overall, I am very happy with what I was able to see and do in Rome!