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Rome, Italy, Part 1

ITALY | Wednesday, 16 January 2008 | Views [945] | Comments [1]

Ahhh Roma!! Centre of the (old) universe, hehe. Well, my hotel wasn't too far from the train station and I didn't get badly lost trying to find it, so I was off to a good start :).  Having mastered the Metro train systems in Russia (cough cough), I was confident I could handle Rome's, and it was a piece of cake - they only have 2 lines and everything is easily labelled, ticketing systems are in different languages and things run smoothly. So the first place I wanted to see was, of course, the Colleseum. I love that feeling you get when you see something famous for the first time in real life. I've had it plenty of times in the cities I've travelled through, and the Colloseum didn't disappoint me.

It turned out to be a nice sunny afternoon, and even though the tourists were a plenty, there was ample room and time to look around and soak it all in. I kept thinking of Russel Crowe and Gladiator, and was a little surprised that the arena itself isn't as big as it looked on tv, hehe. Nevertheless, the Colloseum is in the middle of the old part of town and everywhere you look, you see something old and historic. The Arco di Constantino, the Fore di Cesare, the Colonna Triana etc. I walked down the road and found an awesome place (I think it was the Vittoria Museum?) which held displays of war memorobilia from Italy's campaigns over the last couple hundred years, and from the terrace up top, you get great views over this part of the city.

This morning was a little different, ie. wet and cold :(. But you gotta keep going so I sorted my train ticket to the airport (for Thursday), and walked to the Trevi Fountain which was pretty specky. I also checked out the Pantheon, which actually has another St Mary and the Martyrs Cathedral attached to old columns out front. It wasn't as elaborate as other cathedrals in Mary's name but it had the biggest dome ceiling I've ever seen! There was also an Egyptian obelisk in the piazza, probably stolen booty from one of the Cesare's campaigns ;). I then did something a little different and went to a place called the Time Elevator, which is a 3D max film crossed with show ride, which was supposed to show a film on the history of Rome, but due to technical problems, I enjoyed the history of the universe instead. The seat bumps and grinds as you get sprayed with water and blasted with wind as the 3D images come whirling at you ;).

Ok back to the grind - I walked back to the nearest Metro and took the train to St Peter's Cathedral and Vatican City. Yes, St Peter must have been the favourite 'cos he has the biggest most grand of all the cathedrals I've seen so far (except for the St Mary Basilica in Florence, sorry Pete). It's a massive complex and is a mausoleum for a lot of the old popes who are each immortalised with their own grand statues and paintings. The marble stone work is impeccable and everything shone in gold, red or black - very striking. But what? No Michelangelo? Doh!! He's in the Sisteen Chapel not St Peter's Cathedral!

So I walked around the corner and spent over an hour in the Vatican Museum with the sole intent of seeing the famous Chapel. Now I'm sure they purposely put it at the end of the tourist route so you have to walk through all the other compartments and rooms before you get there! But that wasn't such a bad thing - you get to see the Gallery of Maps, which itself is a beautiful hall very elaborately decked out. Actually all the rooms and compartments in the Vatican Museum were amazing. One of my favourites was Raphael's and his paintings were as good if not better than Michelangelo's. He is touted to be the first high reneissance painter and all the rest followed in his footsteps.

So I finally got to the Sisteen Chapel, and sat down to admire the work (and straighten my crook neck from looking up for so long). Yes he was pretty good wasn't he? lol. Apart from the individual scenes, of which there are heaps, I actually liked the fact that all the stone framework which surrounds each panel, and is being held up by pairs of cherubim, has been painted as well! Each pair of cherubim are mirror imaged but not identical, so I don't know why they sparked more interest in me than the classical image of God reaching over to touch Adam's finger. (I think it was Adam. Corrrect me if I'm wrong :P).

So feeling worn out from all the excitement, I headed back on the Metro to get some rest at the hotel. Tomorrow will be another day of sightseeing and I hope the weather improves 'cos it doesn't make it much fun in the rain! On the bright side, it has been warmer (like 10C is warm?) but I still miss the snow and the mountains :).

Seeya next time!

Tags: Sightseeing



good one matt..you went to the colleseum..i reckon i woulda gone there first as well...how big is it really?or how small..i keep geetin visions of it being as big as the WACA..but I guess it's not..take care mon..stay warm..mb buy an umbrella..lol...:)

  Chris Jan 16, 2008 2:03 PM

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