Sunday, August 8, 2010

Rome, Part II

Now that school is starting up again, I have decided it is the perfect time to continue blogging about my travels through Italy. Having to go back to work is motivating, even if I am motivated to do things other than prepare for my class. C'est la vie...

These pictures are from June 21-23 while we were still in Rome.

After dinner our first night at Cacio e Pepe, we walked back to our hostel. It was quite the scenic route. Here is the Castel Sant'Angelo, initially commissioned by the Roman Emperor Hadrian as a mausoleum for himself and his family. The building was later used as a fortress and castle, and is now a museum.

We also decided to walk through St. Peter's Square again so we could see how it looked at night.

The next day was slightly rainy, so we had the opportunity to go back to St. Peter's Basilica and actually go inside. The lines were much shorter when it was wet outside, so we were actually willing to wait in them. The reason the lines are so long, in addition to a plethora of visitors, is due to the strict security measures taken before you enter the basilica.

Bernini's fountain in St. Peter's Square, 1675

Up close and personal

The square was designed so the greatest number of people could see the Pope give his blessing.

Interior dome, completed in 1590

One of several smaller domes within St. Peter's

A ridiculously famous Renaissance sculpture, Michaelangelo's La Pieta (1499)

Later, we went to the Piazza del Popolo.

The twin churches. Phallic much?

In the middle of the piazza is another Egyptian obelisk with original hieroglyphics. It was ordered to be built by the pharaohs Seti I and, his son, Ramses II.

This obelisk was originally from Heliopolis and was brought to Rome in 10 BC by Augustus. It was erected in the piazza in 1589 by Pope Sixtus V.

A church, Santa Marisa del Popolo, sits at the north end of the piazza. A chapel was first built on this spot in 1099. Tradition states that Nero's ghost haunted the site in the form of crows. The pope chopped down the tree the crows were taking shelter in and built a chapel in its place. The church was reconstructed in the 1470s and the facade was modified between 1655-1660.

On another walk, we came across this - Italy's Capitol building. It's pretty magnificent.

Walking to yet another place, we stumbled across this site. We had no idea what it was, but luckily were able to find a sign. The Largo di Torre Argentina holds four ancient Roman temples and the remains of Pompey's Theater, where it is believed Julius Caesar was assassinated. In addition to being an active archaeological site, a no-kill cat shelter is also located here, which I think makes it even more awesome.

Rome is so cool because you can randomly run into amazing historical sites and monuments without even planning to. Bits and pieces of Rome's rich history is everywhere, even outside of areas trafficked by tourists and within residential and business locales.