April 2009 Rome

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We left the boat in Barcelona and flew to Rome for a week.  We joined thousands of others in St. Peter's Square in Vatican City for the Pope's Easter message. We were expecting rain, but the weather turned out fantastic for our days here.  Bello tempo!
Nearly 2,000 years of earthquakes, fires, riots, wars, and plundering for its supply of travertine blocks, it still stands relatively in tact. The Colosseum held 60,000 people seated and 10,000 more standing.  Seating was assigned by social class.
The labyrinth was covered with a wooden floor.  There were trap doors to raise and lower the animals in a dramatic way for the killing games.  That part of the tour was kind of depressing because I don't like to hear about killing animals. Wandering through the ancient ruins of the Roman Forum was mystical.  You could really feel the history.
This massive monument, built at the beginning of the 20th century, is described as a marble monstrosity rearing up from the street.   It is nick-named 'the typewriter' because of it's shape.  It's actually pretty fabulous.
Fabled for being the fountain you throw a coin in if you want to guarantee your return to Rome.  I threw in 5, one for each of my grandkids. There are piazza's with fountains all over Rome.  This one features languishing nymphs and sea monsters.
Located next to the Vatican, was used as a fortress and refuge in times of siege.  A small palace was built at the top to house papal residents in appropriate splendor.  The dungeons are testament to the castle's grisly past as the city's most notorious Renaissance prison. Mike and I set out to find the best pizza in Rome.  In our short stay, we think we found it!  The pizza is square and cut in whatever amount you want.  You pay by the weight.  They had the most wonderful traditional and original combinations!  We were in heaven.
We picked a tiny hotel that was located about a block from the Colosseum.  We could walk anywhere from there.  Tiny room but great location.  We find good deals on bookings.com A marble masterpiece in the Basilica di San Pietro, better known as St. Peter's.
Taking pictures was 'strictly prohibited' in the Sistine Chapel at the Vatican.  You wouldn't believe the crowds and all the flashing cameras!  And nobody stops them (like at other museums that don't allow flashes).  Silence is also requested, but hundreds of people were talking.  I took just this one of the ceiling (without a flash, of course). Described as the largest, richest, most compelling and most exhausting museum complex in the world.  Many of the Renaissance's finest artists were employed by the pope.  The result is a set of museums stuffed with enough exhibits to put most other European collections to shame.
After seeing hundreds of nude statues in other museums (and on every monument on every corner in Paris and Rome), I was amused that most of the adult male statues in the Vatican had a fig leaf added.  It was obvious that they were not originally created that way. We really enjoyed visiting Rome.  We would love to return again.  The people here are friendly, outgoing, warm, and they treat you like you were family!  We loved it.   Ciao!
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