decided to take me to Rome for my Christmas present but we were to go on
Valentine's weekend. Rome is still very cold in February so we wrapped
up warmly. I think it was much colder there than in the U.K. so I
wore two jumpers, a jacket and a big overcoat just to make sure I was
Here I am in St. Peters Square complete with winter ensemble plus
scarf because it was really cold, especially when the sun went away.
We had both never been to Rome before so were quite looking forward to
seeing if it was as impressive as the postcards suggest. It certainly
had enough history to tempt me to visit for a while.
Peter's Square was really amazing. I'm glad the Pope was not making an
appearance that weekend as I hate crowds and this place would have
certainly been crowded. We phoned up my Aunt who is very religious and
said we were standing in the square and about to go into the Basilica.
She had done this trip many years ago and was interested to learn of
our forthcoming itenary.
Dan was also warmly dressed and happy to be on another 'weekend
away', especially off season as it were.
The Vatican has been
the papal residence since 1377. Before that, the popes resided at the
Lateran with the exception of the 1309-1377 Avignon Papacy. Vatican
Hill was the earlier site of Emperor Nero's Circus, where St.
Peter was crucified upside down. The first Christian Emperor,
Constantine, built a magnificent basilica on this spot, but during the
Avignon Papacy, it became neglected and needed to be rebuilt. In the
early part of the 16th century Pope Julius II undertook this task. The
modern basilica we see today took 176 years to complete. This picture
shows the Basilica and St. Peter's square surrounded by Bernini's
went inside and it was incredible. This is just the domed ceiling so imagine the
scale of the place. We had stiff necks when we eventually came out
because there was so much to see! Michelangelo started this ceiling
but he did not live to see it finished. It must have been a huge
This was the view looking up the large corridor leading
to the famous domed ceiling. You can just see someone standing
underneath a large baroque canopy which in itself is dwarfed by the
huge expanse of dome. This canopy or 'Baldacchino' was designed in the
17th century by Bernini. It is made of gilded bronze.
is so much to see around the St. Peter's Square area that you could
take all day looking. There are the usual souvenir shops selling
religious artifacts and jewellery but they are very plush; not the
usual souvenir stalls that you find at most other historical sites.
After all. this was Rome! I brought the obligatory set of Rosary beads
and off we set looking for other places to visit.
What's good about Rome is that you can walk around the city without
having to take buses or taxi's' but beware, the locals use 'scooters'
to get about and they don't always stick to the roads either!
is the famous Colosseum where nearly all the Roman games were held. It
is huge; walking around it alone takes you at least fifteen minutes.
Some of it is better preserved than other bits, but you certainly get
a feel of just how many people this stadium would have held when
mad Emperor Nero fed Christians to the lions, just to boost his
These Roman guards were having some fun with the tourists so we kept a
discreet distance away and watched other people being made to look
in the day we wandered around and found the Trevi fountain. This was
in a restaurant area so we had lunch and then decided to run up the
Spanish Steps which is very close by. Perhaps we should have done this
before lunch as there are quite a few steps and my energy levels are
always low after food.
There is a whole area in Rome known as the 'Palatine'
that is given over to ruins and on-going
excavation. It is very interesting to walk through and try and work
out which ruin comes from which period in history.
Dan found some more steps for us to transverse........sigh.
He also found that someone else called Daniel had been there before
him. Perhaps it had been a gladiator or prisoner during the time of
Julius Caesar, who knows. But whoever it was, he had been locked up!
Imagine having a house as big as this. All that cleaning!
Rome was a great place to visit but it was very cold during February
and you really did need a strong pair of comfortable shoes for all
that walking. I don't think I have ever walked so much in my life! But
as far as ideas for Christmas presents go, this one was great; I
wonder what I will get next year..........
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