Monday, August 18, 2014

Rome, Day 2 - Part 3 of 3 ~ 4/3/14

We had to walk back to the Vatican to find a cab and took it to see the Pantheon. The original structure was destroyed but rebuilt by Emperor Hadrian in 126 A.D. And it is still the world's largest unreinforced concrete dome. The oculus is the main source of natural light.
Built as a temple to all gods, somewhere around 600 A.D. it was given to the Roman Catholic Church, which still holds services there today. I think the other gods must not be pleased.

There are also famous tombs here along with great art. Artist Raphael is entombed here along with several Kings of Italy.

It's a most impressive structure and the antiquity of it is overwhelming.

37 second video inside 

We stepped out into the square, Piazza della Rotonda, that contained the Fontana del Pantheon, and many, many people.

21 second video outside 

We grabbed a table with a bird's eye view and enjoyed our beer and people-watching.
We walked around the Pantheon before leaving and took the side and rear views of this structure.

Then we found this interesting glove shop around the corner with a most friendly and helpful owner ~  gloves were purchased.
From there we stumbled across this church, Santa Maria sopra Minerva, built over ruins of a temple for Isis, and with Minerva's Pulcino (elephant & obelisk) out in front.

Time to head back to our hotel and find dinner. Ristorante Quirino was within walking distance and we gave it a try. Superb service and wonderful food.
We ordered a Chianti with our meal but our server totally upsold us to one better: "That Chianti's no good." And we went with him :-)

We began with Caponata Alla Siciliana - beautiful eggplant & peppers.
Our main dishes were spaghetti with clams and chicken with potatoes. We were happy.

We're not big on desserts but were favored with this bit of delectibility.
Here's a blurry picture our wonderful server took :-)
 Tomorrow the Colosseum!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Rome, Day 2 - Part 2 of 3 ~ 4/3/14

After leaving the Sistine Chapel, our tour guide led us towards St. Peter's Basilica. We could see the lines of those waiting to climb to the dome. We could have gone up after our tour but seeing as there was no elevator we opted out, this time.
We stayed on the main floor and tried to take in everything we could see. It was an incredible and overwhelming space.
This is the holy door, and a detail from it, which is opened only on special occasions.
John Paul II is entombed on the main floor, and here I am with my patron saint, St. Helena :-)
Michelangelo's Pieta was fascinating to see. Check out how large and muscular Mary is.

Here's a view of the Basilica from St. Peter's Square, and two photos of the window from which the Pope makes his appearances.
It was great being in St. Peter's Square, especially with no crowds!
We headed on down the road (via della conciliazione) to take a break and came across the Universal Bar with outdoor seating. We ordered beer, Antipasto and Spaghetti. What else?
We were enjoying our lunch but started to notice the increasing number of police and crowds, and the road being roped off.
Our server informed us that some king or queen was going to visit the Pope, and after a quick google search, we discovered that Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip were headed this way. The motorcade soon arrived.
I had to pick my side of the street to try and get a picture and as the odds would have it, I didn't get Liz.
With the excitement over and our lunch finished, we walked over to Castel Sant'Angelo (Mausoleum of Hadrian), with many fascinating and beautiful things to see along the way and back.
Before we headed back to the hotel and dinner, we had one more stop to make, The Pantheon. And we happily reflected on what was an amazing day so far as we headed that way.