It was gorgeous. The best day so far. And it's all sun from here on out. It's beautiful outside even right now this evening, and I love it. I love it. And I'm so glad it cleared up today of all days because today was nothing but outdoor stuff. Nothing but walking.
We started early (a key to success on our trip) at St. Peters in Chains. A cool little church with chains that are believed to have actually held St. Peter. It also houses one of the many statues of Moses with horns. Read The Lost Symbol for an explanation. And a plain ol' good read. I read that book on the plane trip. Moses with horns was more like Moses with seashells on his head. And though I was expecting (don't do that!) gnarly devil horns, it was cool anyway. We were the only people in the church too.
Then we did Jo's can't-miss. The Colosseum. Wow. It was bewilderingly incredible. We roamed around (and since we were early, we were some of the only people by it, hence the awesome people-free shots) the outside and did an audio guide inside before just relaxing and spending some time marvelling at Rome's grandest icon of grandeur. It was beautiful outside, and a little horrifying to reflect on the awesome power that this place once had.
We spent the rest of the morning happy and laughing and warm and walking around the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill. We read along about the different places with the Rome Reconstructed book. It was a blast. I think I felt more like two American kids lost in Europe and having the time of their lives at the Forum today more than any other time on the trip so far. Except maybe on trains. Maybe.
Tired and hungry, we decided it was a good idea to walk a long way to downtown modern Rome and see all the Piazzas, etc. So we walked from the Circo Massimo, past the Mamertine Prison, past the Vittorio Emmanuel Victory monument, and ended up at the Campo di Fiori.
We started the walk, went to Piazza Navona (where Tom Hanks saves the pope in Angels and Demons) and ate at a cafe down some little side street where some dudes were playing chess and drawing a crowd. Playing chess. Awesome. We walked back through Navona, got gelato #14 or 15, and continued on to the Pantheon, one of the coolest and definitely one of the most unique buildings we've seen.
The weather was holding up, so this is about when we hit the crowds. When we discovered "brutal but beautiful Rome" as some people said. From the Pantheon we went to the Trevi Fountain and then to the Spanish Steps (where Keats died and Byron lived for awhile). It was insane with hordes of tourists. We threw coins into the Trevi so we could come back to Rome. I had to throw mine from like 50 yards out (ok, more like 20, but still impressive for a coin).
We took the Metro back to Laurentina and the Oppenheim's apartment. Kris invited us out to Chinese/Japanese with the family. That is correct. It was a Chinese/Japanese restaurant, in Italy. The menu was in it's native Asian languages and then translated into Italian and then translated into English. Hence why I ended up ordering "Hot Chicken" and someone else got "Hot Frie Beaf." Awesome. And oddly enough, it was delicious. Some of the best Chinese food I've had in a long time.
We went back to the O's, watched an episode of Lost (I couldn't go the whole trip without it) and some of the Celtics game. They really made Jo and me feel like we were at home. Rome was great today. Man did it put on a show. Including the Vatican yesterday, we saw ancient, modern, and Catholic Rome in two days. And loved it.
again. no one on the road.
it's kind of dark. when i say early, i mean early.
amazing. they're rebuilding some of the floor and bleachers on the far side.
i didn't know men could build such things. (there were many Gladiator quotes this day.)
jo, the colosseum, the audio guide, and my giant nose in all their glory
decided to try gladiator poses. cute, not very intimidating.
weird, not very intimidating
the only time the sun was behind the clouds today
in the forum
jo being senatorial in the first building to ever have a senate.
the forum from up on the Palatine
the Circo Massimo. think Ben Hur.
the Vittorrio Emmanuel
the fountain in the Piazza Navona where Tom Hanks saves the guy with the weights on him. More importantly, the Four Winds by Bernini. Most importantly, a gelato stop.
the beginning of the chess game crowd
the Pantheon. relaly, everything in Europe is under construction.
inside Pantheon, not a cloud in the sky
the best gelato in Italy is in Rome. and we should know.
the trevi "fountain." should be called the trevi mountain. huge.
jo, blocked in by 100s of people throwing coins. the Roman government actually takes the money out every day and uses it to help feed the poor of the city.
sorry for the crazy camera work. i got bumped and the camera turned sideways so i decided to just roll with it. it's stilla fun little video, so there it is.