Roming in Rome :)

Trip Start Oct 03, 2012
Trip End Nov 01, 2014

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Flag of Italy  , Latium,
Saturday, December 1, 2012

As soon as we set foot in Rome we fell in love with this historically beautiful city. Romain ruins at every corner, along with amazing Gelato and pasta. We thought we had seen old buildings traveling around Europe, but you soon realize you have seen nothing compared to this!
The Colosseum has been the highlight of our trip to Rome (as cliche as that sounds). We did a tour that took us to the underground and the top level, where general tickets don't take you. We got a huge amount of history along with the reality of the political world that funded these events. We were shown the two ways that gladiators could leave the arena, the death exit or the victory exit. We walked through where the gladiators would wait for there fight, along with where the slaves and animals were kept. The third floor had an amazing view of ancient Rome, and the inside of the Colosseum. Its crazy how many exit doors this building had, which ensured different class of people would never meet on there entry or exit to these events and also that all 70-80,000 people could empty the arena in less than 10 minutes. The half of the Colosseum that is missing was pulled down after an earthquake, and parts of it reused to build such buildings as the St Peters Basilica. Its amazing that the rest has survived all these years! 

The Roman forum is a part of the ancient city that has recently been excavated, exposing a huge amount of old architecture. As we walked around, we were overwhelmed by the amount of ruins that had been discovered. It is true that Rome is made up of many historical layers. I never understood why their metro system was so undeveloped compared to other parts of Europe, until I was told that every time they dig to make a new one they find ruins and cannot continue. Makes sense right!

A visit to the Altare della Patria meant we got to enjoy a 360 panoramic view of Rome and a birds eye view of the Roman ruins below it. This building is also the home of the unknown solider, so is guarded 24/7.

We visited most of the squares here which almost all had fountains or some kind of grand statue. The squares we visited were, Piazza di Spagna, Piazza Navona and Piazza del Popolo.
Piazza Navona was filled with Christmas markets, so we spent a bit of time here, mostly eating treats! Piazza di Spagna is the square where the Spanish steps are located. These are the widest steps in Europe!

The most impressive fountain was the Trevi Fountain, with its massiveness that
consumes up most of the small busy street in front of it. Its said that
if you toss a coin you will be guaranteed your return to Rome. Of course
we want to come back! so we followed the tradition :)

Pantheon was originally a temple that was turned into a church. Almost two thousand years after it was built, the Pantheon's dome is still the world's largest un-reinforced concrete dome. On entering the building you are met with large granite columns and huge bronze doors. Its impressive concrete dome with an opening at the top and the detail of the walls is something else. Pretty cool being able to say I've seen the tomb of the famous renaissance painter Raphael which was also inside.

Vatican City tour was awesome. We started off looking at the Vatican museum, where we got to see loads of art, paintings and sculptures mostly. Our tour guide 'mama' was really funny, interesting and genuinely good value. The Sistine chapel is unbelievable. The paintings of Michelangelo were so detailed and covered such a huge area on both the ceiling and wall, no wonder he came out of there with physical damage to his body. After 11 years of painting, 18 hour days and constantly looking up, I think he did pretty well to live till 90.
St Peters Basilica is massive. There isn't any other church that screams rich and powerful like this one does. As soon as you walk in and look to the other end you see small black figures....they are people! The bronze alter in the centre of the dome is made from recycled bits of bronze from the Pantheon. The body of a previous pope lays inside the church for view in,which is kind of weird and looks like a wax model. Previous popes and the body of St Peter lies in the crypt beneath the church. Very impressive building, which is the point I guess.
As you walk out of the basilica you are met with a huge courtyard, called St Peters square. Here the pope communicates to the people of Rome.
The Vatican city is surrounded by a massive 2m thick wall that was used as a secure walkway for the Pope to get from the castle to the Vatican.
We can now say we have stood in two countries at once, one foot on the Vatican and on on Italy.

The Rome castle was pretty cool, and a little different from the others we have seen. Highly religious people lived here which is strongly portrayed in the artwork throughout the castle rooms. It was cool that we got to work our way around most of the castle, as you only usually see a section.

The food in Italy is so delicious! we have indulged in many pasta dishes, gelato, tiramisu and pizza. The wine is pretty damn good too.

We loved our time here in Rome and hope to come back again. There is still so much to see and experience. Its definitely a city of many mysteries which is why it is so interesting.
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