Our Trip To Rome

We had some unforgettable days at Rome. We loved the city, the kindness of the people, the monuments, and everything! And not forgetting their food, the wonderful pasta meals, pizza, and gelatto!
People of Italy love Spanish people. When we were asked where we were from, and we said we were Spanish, there was a special shine in their faces. And we feel at Italy as at home.
We took the plane at 9:00 AM, and arrived at Rome at 11:00 AM approximately. The flight was very calm. When we were landing, Jordi said "what a smooth landing", and then the plane did PUM! LOL! It made something like a jump, but finally we landed well. And a sound of Roman trumpets in the plane speakers announced the arrival to the Imperial city :D

We took a bus that we had bought tickets for when we were in Spain, and it left us directly in the Termini train and metro station. While at the bus, we were looking all around the city amazed how beautiful it is, and we saw lots of ancient Roman ruins and awesome buildings.
I forgot to say that from the plane you can see perfectly the Coliseum and the Vatican City.

Our hotel was besides Santa Maria Maggliore, the Papal Basilica. From the window of our room you can see the Basilica.
It was Gallia Hotel, a very beautiful classic hotel with lots of decoration details like stained-glass windows, classic curtains, very very beautiful, we loved it. At our arrival we found a champagne bottle in our room that was a gift from the hotel and a card of welcome.

The hotel was very romantic, and if we some day are back, we won't hesitate in going there again. Also because the breakfast was incredible, and the most remarkable were the chocolate cakes LOL! A good way of beginning the day!

Our first visit was to the Baths of Diocletian, which had some very beautiful gardens, with sculptures. And inside the rooms, there were also lots of classic sculptures.

There we realized that the GPS we have bought some time ago, to use in journeys through Europe, didn't work outside Spain. So we had to be all the time doing it the old way, asking everyone, and with a map.
But there was no problem at all, because Italian people are very kind.

After this we visited Piazza Della Republica, that has a fountain with four sculptures of nymphs of the waters: of the Oceans, of the Rivers, of the Lakes, and the Underground Waters.
There is where we first saw the stoned streets and roads of Rome, that we found very beatiful at first, but after hours and hours of walking, were not so fun LOL!

Our next visit was the Fountain of Trevi. It's awesome! And it is always full of people, at any hour! It is one of the most beautiful fountains we've seen in our life. It is sculpted simulating natural rock, attached to a building. It looks like if a part of the sea shore had been created there in the fountain and that building.

The tradition is that if you throw 1 coin to the fountain you will go back to Rome. As Jordi and I already saw that it was impossible to see everything that you can visit at Rome, we of course launched our coins.
For my single friends: if you throw another second coin, you will meet an italian boyfriend/girlfriend. And if you throw a third coin, you will marry with him/her.

Then we went to Piazza Barberini, and saw the triton fountain, and then to see the Church of Santa Maria Della Concezione, of the Capuccini monks. I love these monks, so for me it was very moving to enter this church.
It is a must-see place, because it is very special. The crypt is decorated with the bones of 4,000 Capuccini monks from 1500 to 1870.
The idea of doing this decoration with the bones of the monks was of Cardinal Barberini, to show that the body is just the box of the soul. There is a inscription in the crypt that says "as you see me now, you will be, and as I see you, I was".
I actually thought that it was somewhat scary, but the place gave me much peace, and it really transmits the message that death is only the beginning. We were fascinated by the crypt, and we bought a pair of souvenirs: a bracelet of skulls for me, and Jordi bought the cross of the Capuccini, that is made of wood and is like a T.

From there we went to Borghese Gallery, that is in a big park called Villa Borghese. You have to bought your tickets online because there is a lot of people who visit this gallery, and we had a hour reserved to visit. That was the reason to be all time running and ruining our feet LOL!

We went through a big wall called Porta Pinciana and reached Villa Borghese, that is a gorgeous park, with sculptures, fountains, big columns, huge trees... and at the end of the park you can find the museum, Borghese Gallery, where we saw important artworks like the sculpture "Apollo and Daphne" by Bernini. There was also works of Tiziano, Rubens, Botticeli and others. And one of my favorite works of Raphael, the Young Woman With Unicorn.

Then we went to visit the Piazza Spagna, and of course we sat on the Spanish Steps.

And from there we went to Piazza Del Popolo, that uses to be full of musicians, so you can enjoy the music while you see the architecture and sculptures.

At the following day we visited Santa Maria of the Angels and Martyrs, that has awesome doors with sculptures that seem like getting out of the metal. In the same square in front of the church we took the subway to visit the Vatican City.

We had bought Roma Pass, that is a card to travel in bus, metro, and train, and you also get discounts on museums, being the first 2 free. It lasts for 3 days.
Another trick if you go to Rome is to get the entry for Vatican online, so you can skip the queue.

When we arrived at Vatican, it started to rain. But we enjoyed the visit very much. We even were able to see some guards in colored uniforms, the Pontifical Swiss Guards. Vatican is an independent state with its own city walls.

What can I say about Vatican? It just leaves you breathless all the time. I can't describe in words how it feels when you enter San Pietro Basilica and watch the Pieta sculpture of Michellangelo surrounded by the magestic architecture and decorations. It is an awesome place.
After this we walked all around the walls of Vatican and entered the Vatican Museums. We also went there running because we were 1 hour late from the online ticket we bought, but the people at the gates didn't look at the hour LOL! We also didn't have to be in the queue because we had bought the ticket online.

And all the sculptures, paintings, that we saw there... each one more stunning that the previous. We feared to miss something, and suddenly, in a corner, I saw one of my favorite sculptures, Laocoonte! And I started to scream "It's Laocoonte, Laocoonte!" and a lady looked at me like wondering "what happens to this gal?" LOL!
And the painted and decorated ceilings... you were all time looking up at them, at the sides, in every room. Jordi and I ended with a big neck hurt LOL!
All my favorite paintings and sculptures were there, as for example "The School of Athens" by Raphael.
There was also a room of Egyptian art, awesome too as everything there.
And some very curious artworks like a religious Van Gogh, and some paintings of Botero. There was even one work of Odilon Redon, and of Gaugin.

At the end of the visit, there was the Sixtine Chapel. When I entered I felt a big emotion. Nothing that can be explained. What an extraordinary work, something of another world. We sat in a side, looking to those ceilings, open mouthed and shocked, I couldn't even move.

We also visited Palazzo Barberini, with masterpieces of the greatests artists of Reinassance: Tizziano, Caravaggio, Tintoretto, or Raphael, and others.

Our next visit was the Pantheon, a temple in the center of Rome devoted to all gods, that was built by Agripa. It is absolutely shocking. You enter under those stunningly enormous columns and you imagined how it may look in those days in which it was built. Inside it there were big statues. It was a place with a very special magic, very beautiful at night.

After that we went to Piazza Navona, which is full of painters. I loved that square! Maybe it's one of my favorites. It is surrounded by gorgeous restaurants, and it has 3 fountains with sculptures. Very gorgeous!

Asking some people we found the City of the Cats, that is actually one of the most ancient ruins found at Rome, and consists of the remains of four temples. It is called Area Sacra but no one knows it by this name, although everyone names it the City of the Cats, because as soon as it was discovered and the excavations began, a lot of cats took it as their home, and you can always see some of them. But as it was raining when we arrived, they were all in shelter, although we saw a black cat under a stone :)

The following day we went very early to the Basilica of San Pietro In Vincoli, where you can find the sculpture of Moses by Michelangelo.
The priest started the mass, and we followed. It was the most special mass of my life, because while I was praying I had Moses at my right side. It is something I will never forget.
As you go down the street you find the Sciences Faculty, with an extraordinary facade. And if you continue walking you reach the Colosseum.

The Colosseum is awesome! We walked all the stairs and all around, took lots of photos, and when I was more excited with my video camera, the battery went off :((
We were about one hour inside the Coliseum, enjoying the views of inside, and even from what you can see from the top of the building.

Then we went to the forum and saw the Arch of Constantine. We also were in the gardens of Augustus, and reached the Palatine.
All that area contains the most important buildings of the ancient Rome. We even were able to visit Caesar's tomb. It was a very special moment for me.

It was awesome to walk between the remains of the ancient Roman Empire. Every ruin was more and more stunning. You can try to imagine how it was more than 2,000 years ago.
Going upstairs you reached the Curia Hostilia, where there was an exhibition in which we entered, of course! :D

And then higher and outside the forum, we reached a square with a large column with engravings, and two basilicas, and on the other side of the street, the monument to National Monument to Victor Emmanuel II.

We did some photos, and took advantage of its stairs to rest a moment, because we had to hurry to go to the Bocca della Verita ("Mouth of Truth"), that is in the church of Santa Maria In Cosmedin, in which rest the remains of Saint Valentine.
We paid 1 euro each one to go down to the crypt. The church is very interesting, and while we were there we listened music of Greek origin that they play for the rites.

As we were not so hurry, we could stop by a beautiful park near there called Forum Boarium, and also see some other ruins and archs near.

Then we took some time to eat a good pasta dish in a restaurant near the City of the Cats. And we decided to eat the dessert in another place, and we went to one of the best ice cream shops of Rome, that is just in front of the City of the Cats, and is called "Gelateria Artigianale Corona", where they do homemade their ice cream. And for just 2 euro you can taste the best ice cream that you ate in all your life. I tasted one of black chocolate and chocolate with strawberry cake. And Jordi one of pear compote with cinnamon and chocolate with brandy and prunes. Exquisite!!!

At the evening we went to the Capitoline Museums. You have to go up in some large stairs, and at both sides there are fountains of lions. We were passing by that zone to go to one or other place several times, and one of those lion fountains spilled its water over us up to three times LOL! Every time we passed there, we said "once again!" :D

And if we thought that we had not seen enough amazing things, when we entered the Capitoline Museums....WOW!!! We could see the Capitoline Wolf, the symbol of Rome, that is a wolf with Romulus and Remo.

Also lots of  the most famous Italian sculpture and paintings. There was also an exhibition of Galileo, and we saw the pendulum of Galileo.

And the best of all was to see Jordi's favorite sculpture in one of the last rooms, the sculpture of Alexander the Great by Cares. Alexander the Great is the favorite historical character of Jordi. At home there are lots of books, and I will never forget the shine in Jordi's eyes when he saw his sculpture there.

We had few more rooms to see, but we went back to see Alexander's sculpture to look at him again. I told Jordi, say goodbay to him, and Jordi said "see you again".

It was already at night, we did the last photos of Rome at night. And Jordi said "we finished with Rome", and I replied "or Rome finished us". LOL! We were so tired, so we sat again in the stairs of the monument to Victor Manuelle II with our map in the hands. And we started to talk of what we may do, to take the subway again and return to the hotel, or walk a lot of kilometers to see the squares of Rome again? We were thinking some time, and I told Jordi "actually, my feet hurt so much that is like a dull pain, so I don't care a bit more".

So we walked again through the Fountain of Trevi, the Pantheon, Barberini square, Navona... LOL! Sometimes we are so wild! HAHAHAHA!

We reached the hotel quite late, and at the following day we saw the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggliore, that was just in front of the hotel and we could see through the window. So we visited the basilica, and with those final images we went to take the plane.

When we arrived at Spain it was the lunch hour, and we were in Valencia. So as a final point of our journey, we ate a paella and we drank a toast (with beer) to the unforgettable trip that we were able to enjoy. We were safe at home, and we had enjoyed of one of the best days of our life :)

-Emma Alvarez-

© 2008 by Emma Alvarez. Link to this post without copying the text.

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