Today was our first full day in the beautiful city of Rome, and it was packed with a ton of culture and sight seeing. We started the day off by visiting the Olympic Complex of the 1960 Summer Olympics. We saw, what is now, the rugby stadium as well as the the Olympic stadium which is used today by the Rome soccer team. As we were about to leave, it started to rain and unforntunately it would last all day.
We then proceeded on to The Vatican City to visit the Vatican Museum, Sistine Chapel and Saint Peter’s Basilica. Venturing our way through the other hundreds of tourists, we started our tour by walking past the Pope’s private garden. Some of the other things we got to see were parts of Leonardo DaVinci’s studio, several statues of Roman Gods and huge hand woven tapestries. One of the things we found stunning were the beautiful hand painted ceilings throughout the entire museum. These were mostly painted by priests studying at The Vatican. We concluded our tour of the museum by walking through The Sistine Chapel. While photographs were not allowed to be taken in The Chapel, pictures wouldn’t have done justice anyways. Our guide Mario told us all about the controversies Michaelangelo had with the church while painting. If you look close enough you can see how he rebutled and added his own touch to the art.
After the museum, we walked out to Saint Peter’s Square where hundreds of thousands of people stand to see The Pope every week. We then entered The Basilica. It is the largest church in the world and took us about an hour to walk through. There was so much art work and statues to see that much more time could’ve been spent there. One interesting fact that we learned is that 127 popes have been buried in The Basilica. We all participated in the tradition of touching the foot of the statue of Saint Peter. The legend has it that if you rub his foot and make a wish that it will come true! After leaving Vatican City, we now understand why millions of people travel from around the world to visit.
After a delicious lunch stop in Rome, we journeyed to The Colosseum. It is much bigger in person than we would’ve thought. It was interesting to hear Mario tell us stories of the gladiators and the people and animals they fought against. Becoming a gladiator was the one way a slave could become free in ancient times since typically those born into slavery died as slaves. Going there made us want to watch Gladiator again to get a better understanding of the lifestyle.
After leaving The Colosseum, we went on a walking tour of several monuments around Rome. These included The Roman Forum (which we had to see from the outside because it was closed), the monument to Vittorio Emanuele the second and the home of Napoleon Bonaparte. After a long and tiring day, we can say that we have successfully experienced Rome.
Katie and Laura