Rome was formerly the center of a colossal, dominant & influential nation. Called the "Eternal City", it is a travel destination that I will return to with great longing and anticipation now that I have had a brief taste. As I’ve mentioned previously, taking a cruise with stops in numerous cities allows you to partake of a sample, have an appetizer, at each location… whetting your appetite to return for the full meal experience at a later date when the area excites you. Such is the case with Rome.
Departing from Barcelona we arrived at our first port of call which was the port city of Civitavecchia where we would be transported to this phenomenal city by motor coach. Civitavecchia is a popular port that is located northwest of Rome. It’s a port for a number of cruise lines to arrive and depart...more
The return to Rome in October, 2011 was meant to add to our superb sampling of experiences we'd had during our 12 hours in the city back in 2009. This city touches the soul and impales you, willingly, on the spear of history. It was home to two world movements...the Roman Empire and the Roman Catholic Church.
The ancient monuments such as Circus Maximus, Colosseum, Appian Way and of course the Vatican, leave you in awe of the phenomenal concentration of history that you can reach on foot. Not to mention the shopping and the fabulously succulent food! ...more
The Dome of the Saint Peter Basilica is visible from numerous locations in Rome. It is interesting to note that there are similar domes modeled after this one. Saint Paul’s in London (1675), Les Invalides in Paris (1680-1691), and the Capital building in Washington, D.C. (1794-1817).
We were pleasantly surprised to find that the dome was visible from the Bramante Terrace dining room in our superb and historical accommodations in Rome, the Hotel Raphael.
Since there are hordes of tourists that form lengthy lines at the Vatican, the very competent reception staff at the hotel suggested we take a private tour. We’d skip the lines plus have an educated historian to explain many of the features we would see in both the Vatican and the Basilica...more
The Vatican is in Vatican City, which is nestled across the Tiber River west of Rome’s vibrant center, and is actually the smallest State in the world… guaranteed by the Lateran Treaty of 1929 worked out with Mussolini. In spite of being the smallest State, it has the largest, as well as most breath-taking, treasure trove of magnificent works of art. Sculptures, bronzes, paintings, tapestries, mosaics, ceramics, ancient artifacts such as pottery… all are contained in its 13 Museums which have 54 galleries within.
The restored Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel, the Vatican Gardens and Courtyards add to the enchantment of this State that is totally surrounded by Rome. The first papal palace built on the current site was constructed by Pope Eugenius III (1145-53), was fortified by Innocent III in 1208 and in 1378 became the primary papal residence. Bit by bit over the centuries, successive popes continued the expansion resulting in the huge complex of palaces and museums that exist today...more
Entry to the Vatican Museums is through the north wall of Vatican City and stretches a very lengthy path south to St. Peter’s Basilica. In between are long, narrow galleries designed by Bramante that have gorgeous painted walls and ceilings.
However, once inside there are stairs and escalators up the new entrance hall with a bunch of ticket desks. You can avoid these lines by booking a guided tour or buying tickets in advance.
We opted to have a guided tour by "Eyes of Rome" and our guide was Mike Botula... we highly recommend this guide and the company. Mike's knowledge was amazing and was delivered in a conversational way so that you didn't feel bombarded with information...more
Walking in Rome saturates your senses with its magnificent but brutal history, especially when you realize the activities at the Colosseum in ancient times. The past evening we had meandered in an opposite direction taking in the Pantheon and the Trevi Fountain.
On this day we had reservations for a tour at the Colosseum and we allowed ample time to find photo opportunities along the way. We had also allowed extra time because of the rioting that had happened in the area the previous day...more
For years the mental image I had of the Colosseum was the one in the photos with light shining through the open spaces of the arches on several floors, the whole time portraying evidence of a miraculous survival of an ancient theater of entertainment that evoked visions of gladiators fighting to defeat whatever was thrown at them so they could survive.
I knew they had to fight lions and tigers, wild boars and bears, but I was not aware of the horrific slaughter that went on with even the proud and defiant elephants...more
It’s a simple matter. I’m in love with Rome and the Hotel Raphael. Currently living in the Seattle area in the flight path which arcs over an inner waterway called the Puget Sound, planes are visible on clear days as they climb and then level off to continue their journey to deliver their passengers to remote locations.
My spirit takes flight with them, going aloft to dream a repetitive dream. This "mind picture" is of returning to Rome, and of course, the Hotel Raphael-Relais & Chateau...more
Piazza Navona had grand beginnings in 86 AD. It was conceived and built as a stadium by Domitian (Vespasian’s son and brother of Titus) who expanded the Colosseum by building both the hypgeum (underground) and adding the fourth floor.
Games were involved here also, but not the bloody spectacles of the Colosseum. Domitian’s Stadium had a larger arena than that of the Colosseum. Chariot races, similar to those at Circus Maximus, were held utilizing its oval design.
As a matter of fact the stadium was originally known as Circus Agonalis. The square was sometimes flooded in the summer and used for aquatic games and staged naval battles. In the 15th century, over the ruins of the then decrepit stadium, it was paved over to create Piazza Navona...more
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