Roma (Rome) - Our own

Trip Start May 09, 2009
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7
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Trip End May 27, 2010


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Where I stayed
St. Re

Flag of Italy  , Lazio,
Tuesday, May 19, 2009

My pre-tour impression of Rome was based on classic Hollywood films - A Roman Holiday, Three Coins in a Fountain - and therefore, I had a romantic idealized view of Rome.  Would it live up to that image?  The other cities we visited had medieval or Renaissance origins, but Rome was steeped in history so old that it was hard to fathom.  Everywhere you turned there was a pagan ruin reminding you of how old Rome really is .  The juxtaposition of the ancient and the relatively new make Rome a fascinating city. 

Our tour included an after-hours tour of the Vatican Museum (formerly the papal residence) and the Sistine Chapel.   We were awe-struck with the beauty of both.  The Vatican Museum had room after room of remarkable medieval and Renaissance art and, of course, the Sistine Chapel is an amazing achievement by Michelangelo (again, working alone and suffering physically to complete the works).   We also visited St. Peter's Basilica - another amazing edifice.  It is enormous - two of St. Patrick Cathedrals can fit within St. Peter's.  St. Peter's is home to Michelangelo's "Pieta." My sister, Pat, and I were excited to see it again - we had the privilege of seeing it before during the only time it left St. Peter's - for the 1964 New York World's Fair.   It made an impression then and still did 45 years later!

After a tour of the Vatican Museum and St. Peter's Basilica, we went to the Coliseum and found out that the granite that faced the Coliseum had been mined (stripped off) for the building and sculptures of the Basilica.   How grand would the Coliseum be now if that hadn't happened?  But if it hadn't, would the Basilica be as amazing as it is? 

We took a night-time tour of Rome - definitely the romantic feel of those classic Hollywood films.  Except for the giant rat that ran across an alleyway that we were in during this night-time excursion!!  Just a reminder that this is a city of contrasts!   But overall, I did feel a little like Audrey Hepburn --without the great Hollywood costumes of course.  And we all threw our coins in the Trevi Fountain with a wish to return to Rome some day.   Who knows - maybe we will win the lotto after all (although I have a slew of other cities and countries to visit first!)?

Rome was bittersweet as it meant that our trip was at the end.   It was truly a trip of a lifetime - but definitely not the end of our wordly travels!

p.s. There are so many photos that I want to share that I will do multiple entries - so speed of loading is easier.

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