Mar 04, 2004
Jul 02, 2005
We ate well in Campo Del Fiore and stayed in two hostels. I certainly canīt recommede Enjoy Hostel as the place small, dirty, no security and the manager is drunk or stoned the majority of the time. Lots of other good places to stay in Rome.
And then we got on a plane to Valencia, Spain.
We stepped off the subway and directly in front of us was the Colusseum. Tinaīs first view of Rome, one of the most interesting and important cities in the world. I had been here 10 years ago but its all seems to be an adolescent mist now, barely remembered. Now I see the city with new eyes, and there is so much to see. Basically, Tina and I divided the city into Roman, Christian, Dan Brown a la Angels and Demons, and modern life sections and tackled parts of each. So we wandered and imagined our way through the Roman Forum, the Pantheon and Palantine Hill, including the huge new excavations of the last 5 years and pulled fighting poses inside the Colusseum. We visited many of the sites of the novel Angels and Demons, most of whih happily coincide with the major attractions of Rome. St. Peterīs was very impressive the second time around for me, as I knew so much more about it this time. All those art, history, and guide books really do help. WE whizzed through the Vatican Museums until stopped in our tracks by Raphaelīs masterpiece frescoes, particularly a long time favourite of mine, The School of Athens (remember Western Civ in Grade 12 Jay?) and then the best of all, The Sistine Chapel, cleaned since I was last there. The colours are vibrant and the genius of it all leaps out at you. To think there was a conclave held there only 2 weeks before gave me a tingly feeling. The frescoes on the walls are worth appreciating too, espcially the Botticelli and Pinturicchios, but nothing beats Michelangelo. The it was May 1st. Wild day. First we went to St. Peterīs Sq., another masterpiece by Bernini, to watch the new Pope give his blessing at noon. It was packed solid and to hear Benedict XVI and feel the love and devotion was truly special. Then we walked a huge portion of the city and every public space was full with tourists and Italians celebrating the holiday. Trevi Fountain and the Spanish Steps were excellent in the late afternoon with a bottle of bubbly. From there we went to the biggest outdoor concert in Italy, outside St. John Lateran and grooved to all sorts of Italian bands, including there version of Linkin Park.