After Breakfast and cappuccino at Hotel Stella Cory and I wandered out into the city. European trips for me are always filled with Art and history. Today we are going to start with Michelangelo's Moses. San Pietro in Vinicoli like so many churches in Rome sits unpretentiously in a little corner near a stairway. There is nothing that screams amazing piece of art in side. When it was created it was just another tomb stone but Moses by Michelangelo is one of his most amazing sculpture. It is said that Michelangelo at one time threw one of his tools at it screaming at it to talk because it was so realistic. I couldn't wait to show Cory. Videos and photos don't come close to capturing the beauty of it. As so often when you travel in the off season the sculpture was being cleaned and rehabbed. Luckily Moses was still exposed and Cory got to gaze on his face. In the stone Michelangelo had carved every detail even down to the veins on the arms. Absolutely amazing. The relic that the church holds is a set of chains said to have been those that held Saint Peter but the true relic is the miracle of Michelangelo's Moses.
We decide to walk further back in time and visit the Colosseum. It is hard to imagine what this is like in summer with the heat beating down on you. The line is very long and this is supposed to be the off season. I don't think I would want to experience this in summer or during Christmas break. I don't know how you would be able to see much of Rome because you would spend most of your time in line. It still doesn't diminish the wonder you feel walking into the Colosseum. I have such a vivid imagination and I can totally see and hear the Roman crowds cheering. I can almost smell the musk of the gladiators...Oh wait those are two Italians dressed up as gladiators. They stand outside the Colosseum and pose with tourist for pictures. I can't get over how quickly things change. I was here in 99 and since then they have reconstructed part of the floor of the Colosseum. (I liked it better before when you could peer into the catacombs below.) They have also installed an elevator. I have mixed emotions about that too. I think it is great that the building is accessible to all but there is a bit of an art historian in me that questions what putting an elevator into a historical icon has on the integrity of the structure.
I guess todays theme is more about history. We are continuing on to Palatine and the Roman Forum. Cory nearly squealed the first time that he got to "go through" something. So much of the ruins are not accessible but you are able to actually walk through some of the buildings in Palatine. I also got to show Cory some of the fun little drinking fountains near the Farnese Gardens. You place your thumb over where the water comes out and the water shoots up through a small hole in the pipe allowing you to get a drink. Don't know why this was fascinating to me but it was. As we walked through Palatine we came across a group of teens dressed in Togas. They were speaking English so we figured that they must be students of some kind. Loved the sense of humor and it did add a little bit of ambiance seeing 6 boys in togas having a picnic in the Farnese Gardens.
This city is amazing. They have built layer upon layer each time the city is destroyed. Now as they try to expand by putting in subways or basements they find these amazing finds. The Roman Forum sits slightly lower than the rest of the modern city. We enjoyed strolling among the marble column of days gone by. We talked about what it must have been like. We always think of white marble but it has been suggested that their buildings were painted and very colorful. It is so hard to visualize that. I can't even begin to express what a great time we had today.