On our train ride down we made friends with two Italian children Alberto and Frederico 6 and 10 years old, respectively. Frederico was very talkative and played games with me like tic tac toe, hangman and we took turns practicing Italian and English together. He taught me colors, letters and numbers! When we arrived in Rome at the Termini (main terminal) it was only a ten minute walk to our hostel.
Our hostel was in a nice building with lions on the doors and inside it had pretty marble floors, ferns and then a little tiny elevator and I mean, tiny, it fit like two people that took us up to the fifth room where we had a nice little room. It was a little after noon and we decided to jump right and go sightseeing.
We went to the Colosseum which was so impressive up close and took the tour inside and went through the museum. We walked through the rest of the archaelogical ruins near the Colosseum and the Circus Maximus which is where they had the Chariot races and where part of the film Ben-Hur took place. We did a ton of walking and got a little sunburnt -- it was a very hot and humid day in Rome. We walked back towards the main Termini and had lunch in a little Ristorante -- my first meal in Italy which was some really good pasta. We also went and saw the Fontana de Trevi which is a very famous and beautiful fountain and then we also walked up the Spanish Steps and had some Gelato. We did a little more shopping around and then went back to the Hostel to clean up for dinner.
For dinner we went to another Ristorante downtown in Rome and shared a bottle of Chianti and some more pasta. We also strolled by the Repubblica a large column style building with a big piazza and modern romanesque fountain in front of it. The fountain is said to be modeled after two Roman sisters who posed for it.
The next day we set out to do the rest of our sightseeing. We ended up buying a pass for a tour bus that you can "hop on and hop off" which worked out pretty well. It took us through the city with an audio guide and described the different architectural details of different parts of the city -- barpque, medieval, gothic, etc. There are so many little churches and beautiful things to see that you could probably spend weeks in Rome and not see it all.
We ended up at a really large Federal building...I wish I could remember the name but the pictures of it are really cool. You could see the burnt parts on the building from WWII. Anyway, we walked around that and went inside to the military museum which has lots of really cool artifacts and is really nice. After that we also checked out some egyptian obelisks, the remains of another archaelogical site and hopped back on the tour bus thing. We got off again at Castel Sant' Angelo which is a short distance from the Vatican. We had some really good pizza from a little stand and ate it on the steps of the Tiber river.
So we had to check out the Castel Sant' Angelo which was built by Hadrian in 135 AD as a masoleum and was later used as a military fortress and sometimes Popes would hide in it during times of turmoil. Its really pretty because the bridge leading up to it has all these statues of angels. Instead is a really beautiful statue of an angel done by Michaelangelo. The Castle itself is really neat, we got to go into the bottom and there are dungeons but we didn't see them. The rooms are huge and very ornate with frescoes on the ceilings and one room full of a huge cherrywood cabinent. Lots of artwork was on display also. In one room of the castle people were dressed up in costume and singing medieval hymns which was really neat to watch. The best part of the Castle was the view -- you could see the entire city and Taylor got a great panoramic of the city.
So we got back on the bus and headed to the next stops and ended up getting off at a church called St.Mary's Maggiore (I think thats how its spelled.) This church was really breathtaking on the inside because the ceiling was done in beautiful paintings and was covered in the first gold from the new Americas! Also this church is really old and was contributed to by a whole bunch of Popes so it is considered the best mix of many different architectural styles. That was the end of our sight seeing for Sunday because it was so hot and humid. We had kind of an expensive dinner at some place called the "Washington."
Our last day in Rome we had to go to the Vatican. We got up at like 5:30am to get there really early which turned out really well because the place was pretty empty. The square in front of St. Peter's Basilica was empty too and we got some great pictures, oh and there were a ton of nuns going to the morning mass. Inside it was huge! The ceilings must have been like 100ft high and they were covered in frescoes, gold, and really ornate carvings and cornices. The Priests were giving the morning services in Latin and all the nuns where there -- so neat!
After that we went to the Musei Vaticani which led up the Sistine Chapel and all the other museums related to the Vatican. We saw too many tapestries, paintings, treasures, trinkets and other things to list so I will just say that the long corridor leading up the Sistine Chapel and the Sistine Chapel itself was very amazing. We also with the Posteo Vaticano and sent out some postcards...so, some special people will get special blessed mail straight from the Vatican. After that it was back to Torino on a long and arduous train ride that got us here two hours late (and was not that fun...but if anyone asks me now I will just say we got a scenic tour of the Italian Riviera.)
So, that concludes our trip to the Eternal City. We had a great time and we are going to do some fun stuff here in Torino :)