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Hey, look what [livejournal.com profile] burny_md just taught me to do!!

Rome Pictures )
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Saturday we went to Rome via train. We bought seats in second class both ways, E22 there and E16 for the return trip, making it a grand total of E76 for the both of us. Kick ass. What is even more kick ass, is that Bart's first paycheck from his teaching job paid for the whole trip!

We started at the Colosseum, which we learned, is actually not it's real name. It's real name is Flavius Amphitheater, Flavius being the ruler who commissioned it and amphitheater meaining amphitheater. Here is an intersting tidbit, the word arena means sand in both Latin and Italian, and this applies to the Colossem because sand was spread on the ground to soak up the blood. This was the first time that either one of us had been inside this amazing structure. Here's the thing though, most of what we see, isn't original. Most of the marble and limestone was "recycled" for use in other buildings. There was a major reconstruction in the 1800's that was meant to recreate what it originally looked like, but they recreated it in red brick while the original structure was made of brilliant white limestone. There are many places where you can see the two materials in juxtaposition. The idea that we were standing where so many people and animals met their deaths was a little unsettling. One can practically hear the crowd roaring.

Next, we walked to the Pantheon and stopped on the way to see the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. The TUS is huge and beautiful with larger than life marble statues and two winged angels standing on top. There are police roaming the perimeter shooing tourists off of the steps. Sorry, no sitting here. The Pantheon was the first structure to ever have a perfect dome. St. Peter's Basilica (which we visited last) and the capitol in D.C. both copied the design from the Pantheon. It was originally a temple where all of the gods were worshipped as well as whomever was ruler at the time. It was of course, taken over by Christian interests, which, in the long run, was a good thing because the Pantheon is the ONLY pagan structure from antiquity to make it to our time mostly in tact. There is a huge hole in the center of the dome which allows a perfect pillar of light to shine down. Currently, there is a major cleaning being done on the building, so there is this huge scaffolding from floor to ceiling messing up the view and obstructing the view of Rafael's tomb. Bummer. The one thing that didn't make it to modern times was the bronze ceiling of the entry way. However, the bronze can be found melted down and in a different form at...

St. Peter's Basilica, the site of St' Peter's upside down crucifixion. There is a huge altar in the center of the building (under the dome that is a copy of the Pantheon) that is covered by an enormous canopy...made of bronze stolen from the Pantheon. I love themes. St. Peter's is the "largest church in all of Christendom." It is also the most ornately decorated and ostentatious building most people will ever step into. There is goldleaf, marble and lapis lazuli everywhere. It really is just too much. Absolutely beautiful, but still too much. It is a little odd that there are many people who attend this church weekly because it is the closest one to them. Lucky them. Bart thought that it was audacious to have offering boxes out amongst all of the grandeur. It is hard for me not to agree.

We then made our way through Piazza Novanna to Trevi Fountain, which, in my opinion, is the most beautiful sculpture/fountain in all of Rome. It is huge and perfect. We didn't get to see it lit up at night, which is amazingly gorgeous, but we will most certainly have the chance to be there after dark one day. There are many folks there walking around trying to sell you things; bubble guns, squishy toys, scarves and roses. As a clever ploy to get the rose vendors out of my face, Bart bought me one :) We both threw coins into the water, assuring our return to Rome. The last time I did that, I wished that I could live in Italy. Wishes do come true!

The last trip was to the train station to find our platform, which was not as easy as it sounds. We arrived with very little time to spare before our desired train was to leave so we tried to get in the less than 15 minute departure line, but we were turned back because there were in fact, 17 minutes before our departure. So, we waited in the longer and unmoving line for three more minutes then tried the fast line again. This time, we were accepted. We got our tickets and asked which platform was ours, but the clerk was unhelpful, so we asked the man who had originally rejected us from the short line. He said Binario 26, but I that is not what I see. I see Binario 16. I assume that I am wrong and we walk really fast then jog to platform 26. There is no train at platform 26 even though the train is supposed to be leaving in three minutes. Hmmm. We decide to go back to binario 16 which is much farther away than it sounds. We run. Fast. The entire way. As we are running, we hear and announcement confirming that our train is indeed, on line 16. The only reason that we made the train is that it was delayed by five minutes. Whew. Now we are hot and sweaty and not in a good way. AND, we made it back to Naples in time to catch the last metro home.

All in all, a great day!

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