Rome

I’m typing from home sweet home, as we arrived back yesterday afternoon, but I will catch up on our last stop in Italy now. We hit the ground running in Rome after checking into our (sweet) hotel. It was a beautiful day to take in some ancient history, anyhow.  So we taxi’ed to the Coloseeum, purchased our “Roma passes,” and walked in.

There’s not much I can really say about the Colosseum that it doesn’t say for itself.  It is a structure of amazing magnitude that was completed in 80 A.D., and is absolutely an engineering marvel for its time (and even today, my engineer husband is fascinated). It is an imposing structure from the outside and it is rather difficult to grasp that it was built so long ago. Simply amazing. From there we visited the Forum ruins, where not much remained and also where they continue to unearth ruins even older than what is currently visible.

That night, we took Rick Steve’s advice and did an evening walk to various recommended sites, including the Spanish Steps, Trevi Fountain, Pantheon and a couple of other beautiful squares.  Rome charms you at night with a glow of light you can’t find many other places, and that not even my pictures could quite capture perfectly. But that glow makes tired travelers sleepy, and we bought makeshift dinner of bread, cheese and prosciutto at the Vespar (grocery store) and called it a night.

We awoke with an appointment on Day 2:  a trip to see the Pope speak as part of the weekly “Papal audience.” It was interesting experience, as thousands upon thousands gathered as the Pope and others spoke their messages in seven different languages. From there, we visited the Vatican Museum, Sistine Chapel and the incredible St. Peter’s Basilica, which is simply massive and also indescribably beautiful.

On our final day, we had just one item on the agenda, a visit to the Borghese Gallery. The Bernini sculptures were my favorite of the trip, with a level of detail that was stunning.  Much meandering followed, and in the evening we visited Rome’s own Steelers bar, La Botticella, whose owner has become a regular visitor to Pittsburgh.  He took some time to talk with us and recommend an excellent restaurant to close our stay in Rome.

Rome was easily my favorite city of our trip to Italy. Charming, bustling, and stuffed full of nearly unimaginable history, art, engineering and architecture.

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