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Published: November 4th 2019
Two and a half hours and we are in Rome, ITALY, which is a very busy city with a population of almost five million. This is a picture snapping haven for Chris.
In front of the Trevi Fountain, the tourists are 10 rows deep to view the marble center figure of Neptune standing on rocks. SNAP.
The Pantheon is a temple dedicated to “all the gods”. Light emits only through a nine meter circular opening in the dome. SNAP.
Of course it is important to walk up the 12 flights of the Spanish Steps. SNAP.
A new day and onto the subway to arrive at the Vatican. While standing in line, a fellow convinces us to join a group with a guide and a four hour tour. Good decision as 38,000 people visit per day. The Vatican City is an independent state with its own postal office, railway station, newspaper and police force, who are the Swiss Guards to protect the Pope. It is believed that their uniforms were designed by Michelangelo.
The Sistine Chapel frescoes on the ceiling and walls were completed by Michelangelo from 1508 - 1512. The colours, details, and themes are spectacular.
When the Pope was paying for the paints, Michelangelo selected crushed lapis lazuli. As well, the artist chose to paint faces of people he knew and some of whom he did not like, onto bodies within the panels, and even adding details like donkey ears to adversaries features.
Next morning is our 39th anniversary. At Wellness Home Rome, the owners surprise us with a homemade cake including a lit candle, and a bottle of bubbly. We insist they join us to enjoy this special and delicious gift.
Since the bus and subway drivers are protesting, that means walking the two kms. to the Roman Forum. This huge area was a place for trade, markets, shops, elections and judgements. In essence, it was the center of the city. Some of the structure was built in 54BC on the order from Caesar. A temple and a marble column stand today on the area where Caesar was cremated.
More walking to view where the chariot races took place. And lastly, going to view Palazzo Venezia. Since 1929 this building has become a museum. Mussolini used to have an office in the palace, and would deliver several speeches from the balcony.
In 2010, his bunker was discovered underneath the building.
The following day, with the subway open, it is a trip to the Colosseum. This elliptical shaped amphitheater could hold 50,000 people, and took ten years to build. A previous guide told us that at night, so the games within could be viewed, slaves were set on fire to provide light for the spectators. The Romans were a blood thirsty lot. In 1939 a severe earthquake caused a section of the structure to collapse. The tumbled stone was reused in other buildings such as churches, hospitals, and palaces. In present day, the Colosseum has become a symbol against worldly capital punishment. At night, the building is illuminated from white to gold whenever a person who was condemned to death has their sentence commuted, or they are released.
In 2018, the Colosseum had 7.4 million visitors, and was the most popular tourist attraction on the planet.
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