We set sail from Naples and went to another city I was really looking forward to visiting: Rome, Italy! I did a lot of reading and watching documentaries on Rome and the Roman Empire before we left. In addition to Istanbul and Athens, Rome is one of the most influential cities in Western Culture. It is one of the most important, if not THE most important city for Christianity. Not only is it where the head of the Catholic church sits, but the Peace of Rome (Pax Romana) and paved streets throughout the Empire allowed travel and the spread of the message of Jesus easily.
Rome was also a city we just didn’t have enough time to see it all. It’s one place we really want to go back to and spend more time. Also we went there on a Sunday so the Vatican and Sistine Chapel were closed. So we’ve just gotta go back!
Our tour started at Trevi Fountain. It was the end of one of the main Roman aqueducts in the city. The statues include Neptune in the center and on either side are men with horses. One horse represents the peace in Rome, the other represents the wars of Rome. Of course tradition says you must throw a coin into the fountain. They say if you throw one in it’s to find true love. Two coins ensure marriage. Three if you want a divorce. Then our guide told us, jokingly, that four is a wish for your mother-in-law to disappear. I won’t divulge how many I threw in!
From the fountain we worked our way down to the Roman Forum. This is the ancient city center of the Roman Empire. It was really cool walking around in there with some refurbished structures and some original structures. Some of the original columns at one place have rope burns at the top where someone at some point tried to pull them down. These columns were solid and they couldn’t do it.
My favorite part of the Forum and the part I most looked forward to was making it over to the Roman Colosseum — or as my niece put it, “the old broken-down stadium”. We didn’t go inside and I’d like to one day, but standing at the foot of this huge structure was just incredible. The architecture or arcs and columns repeated is an awesome sight.
We had some free time from the tour so Patricia and I caught a cab to go over to the Pantheon. I was looking forward to this because I knew that it was the first ever domed building built. No one else did it for something like 800 years. It was originally a temple to seven Roman gods but it’s a church now. It’s also one of the best preserved buildings, fully intact from the Empire days.
From there we strolled through the city, stopping in a plaza, and having some gelato. We worked our way over to Vatican City. Since it was closed we just wandered around St. Peter’s Square (the basilica was open but we decided to wait for a future return to Rome). Again, the building and entire square was amazingly beautiful.