Friday, October 11, 2013

Walking Rome

Today was our day to just walk around central Rome.  Nothing fancy to see...just walking.  Of course, you can't walk anywhere here without seeing ancient Roman buildings more than 2000 years old, or incredible Renaissance works of art, literally on on the corner, or churches filled with Baroque wonders and artifacts from the ancient Christian world.  Yep...just a walk.

Our hotel is right off XX September Avenue, so named because this is the street that the victors over the papal armies road after the final battle for Italian unification.  Just a block away from our hotel is a intersection where large bas relief sculptures are on all four corners. Each scuplture is a foutain representing key Italian rivers and goddesses.  This is just how it is in Rome....there are statues and fountains everywhere!  Here's one of the four:

Walking on we are in the Presidential Complex...lots of highly armed and serious looking men around here.  Some of them are the Corazzieri, the elite presidential guards.  This elite unit's regimental headquarters is directly outside our hotel's windows.  We've seen them come and go on their horses and we've seen them inside the entrances to the key governmental buildings.  These guys are kick ass...minimum height is 6' 2.8" and they are highly trained.  You can't miss them on duty as they are dressed in old-style uniforms with plummage and all.  I've been repeatedly warned not to joke with them....and not all of the warnings have come from Monte, Aleta and Mona.  Zoom in on the pic below and you'll see two of teh Corazzieri.

Our first major stop of the day was Trevi Fountain.  Yes, of course, we threw coins in the fountain...why would you not?!?!?

There are a lot of cool street performers in Rome.  We hope this was one of them:

Next major stop was the Pantheon.....the engineering here is beyond compare!  (I don't know why the font just changed, but we will all just have to deal with it.)  This structure is about 2000 years old and is still in great shape.  I won't bore you with all the incredible details of this awesome awesome building but suffice it to say that no other dome like it was built for over 1000 years....not until the Duomo in Florence which used this dome for a model.  The dome itself is made of concrete with a base 20 feet thick...narrowing as it goes up.  The only light is from a 30 foot circle at the top...the ocular eye...and it's wide open to the elements.  The floor is concave to drain away the water.

I could tell you lots and lots about the Pantheon, but I'm restraining myself.  How about one more picture then I'll move one.

Our next stop was Piazza Navone.  This was our favorite place from our first visit and we were so glad to be back.  This used to be a chariot racetrack but it's now filled with beautiful fountains, artists, restaurants and tourists.  It's simply delightful!

Love love love this place. We'll be back!

How the hell do they do this?!?!!??

I digress.  We then walked across a bridge over the Tiber and walked on the other side for a ways.

Then back across to end up at our final destination of our walk...The Spanish Steps.  Here we relaxed with a few thousand of our closest friends.  Somehow, I half expected to see Trae and Tiffany walk up and say, "hi!"

Our walk ended with a ride home on the Metro where we encountered a team of pickpockets.  Suffice it to say that we kept all of our valuables and they ran off as fast as they could.

Now, we're ready for dinner and another evening of swapping stories...some of them true.

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