We met a lovely couple... Brett and Kate from Adelaide while waiting for the Shuttle bus. It was great to talk to some Aussies!
Travelled to the Catacombs di San Domitilla which are on the outskirts of Rome. Took us a shuttle bus, train to the City Centre, two Metro undergrounds, and then a half hour walk (after waiting half hour for the Sunday bus we gave up), only to finally arrive during their 2 hour lunch break closure time.
- Things we learnt about the Catacombs. Will be a bit of a history brief, as this was a place where photos could not be taken. There are 63 Catacombs over Rome, this is the largest. It dates back to the beginning of Christianity, where Martas? (people who were killed for believing in Christianity) were buried
. Christians were also buried here, close to their Martas. This Catacomb was created between approx 200AD and 500AD. It has 17km of underground tunnels, over 4 levels. 150,000 people were buried here. Small shelfs were dug into the side of the tunnel, and the bodies were wrapped in a shroud and placed on the shelf, with a marble tomb stone in front to seal the body in. We only saw either empty shelves where bones had been removed and reburied elsewhere, or closed graves with the marble intact. Only 2000 graves are still intact. Graves were robbed by the barbarians, or the marble taken for use elsewhere. The graves are quite small, Most of them would be too small for Kel or I to fit on. This is because the average life span back then was only 35, and there was a lot of infant/children deaths. The most impressive thing we saw was a Fresco painting above one of the graves, which is the oldest piece of Christian Art in Rome. Very interesting to learn and see what we saw, and be taken back in time 2000 years to the beginning of Christianity. This Catacomb also had a Church, the only one of the 63 to do so.
- Next stop was another Religious one, back to the Vatican to climb to the Dome of St Peters Cathedral. It cost an extra 2€ to take the Elevator part of the way up – leaving only about 350 stairs still to climb! There is an internal balcony half way up, where we stopped and viewed a 5pm Catholic Mass that was occurring below
. The Wind Pipes sounded nice with the singing. I had planned to spend Sunday at the Vatican to see the Pope come out of his window, but we learnt he is on Holidays at the other cooler residence in the south at the moment, so this was the next best thing. The stairway to the top of the Dome was extremely narrow, only wide enough for one person. Even then, with my height and small build, I was touching the walls – if you can imagine the inside and outside walls of a Dome being curved, the stairway is between them so you have a narrow, sloping space. There was another spirally stair case to climb, the tallest we've ever climbed (also extremely narrow). Lost count of the number of steps, but took some video footage of Kels feet! But the view from the top was worth it! From the top of the Dome we had an awesome view of St Peters Square, and some of the landmarks we had visited such as the Colosseum and the Wedding Cake. Also were able to see more of the Vatican which could not be seen from the ground. Such beautiful gardens and buildings, we believe one of these areas would have been the Pope’s residence.
- Finished Rome with a late night...Pizza and drinks back at the Caravan Park and caught up with Brett and Kate hearing some of their great stories about Egypt.
Trav here: Normal time start, have had a couple early ones the last cpl days.