Monday, October 8, 2012

The Driver's visit Italy: Rome (Day 1)

      We made it to Rome and spent 2 full crazy busy days there. We basically went non-stop from morning till night. I split our Roman adventures into 2 blog posts because there is so much to see there!


What is now the Church of Santa Maria degli Angeli used to be part of the Bath of Diocletian which spread over 10 acres.

This Meridian is inside the church and acts as a sundial. As the sun shines through a tiny hole in the wall and it crosses the meridian rod at noon. This was actually Rome's official city timekeeper until 1846.

This is one of the original marble pillars. Hugeness. 

The biggest organ ever!

Bronze artwork in the courtyard. 

Piazza della Repubblica


Some old famous Roman guys…

The tiniest mosaic ever.


We did the Rick Steve's tour of the Vatican and had a great time. 

The entrance to the Vatican.

The famous stair case.

Thank you Texas for helping out the Vatican! :)

Apollo Belvedere- sculpted by Leochares. There was a big tour group there, so unfortunately my Apollo pic includes the back of some heads. 

This is Laocoon, the high priest of Troy, who tried to warn the Trojans of the Trojan horse filled with Greek citizens. The Greek gods would have none of this and they sent snakes to kill him and his two sons. 

Belvedere Torso- This is one of the famous sculptures in the Vatican. Yes, I know what you are thinking. Really? This used to be Hercules sculpted by Michelangelo.

Back in the day many of the sculptures were painted and have eye balls. Kind of weird if you ask me.

The wall of Tapestries. They hang from the ceiling to the ground and cover an entire hall way. This is one of Jesus coming out of the tomb and as you walk by it his eyes follow you and the stone moves.

This was the ceiling of the Tapestry Hall which is cool because it appears to be 3D. It is in fact painted on a flat surface.

Some tourists in front of us that had some amazing sock tan lines.

Paintings of Constantine, the Christian Emperor.

This is St. Peter's Square, but over 2,000 years ago used to be the area that Nero (a very bad ruler) held his chariot racing. During the intermission they killed Christians for entertainment.

This tall obelisk was once in Egypt and after they fell to the Romans it was moved in the middle of Nero's chariot racing course. It has been moved since then to the middle of the square. This a really really really old piece of granite.

If you stand in a particular point in the Piazza all of the columns line up perfectly and it appears to be one row of pillars.

In reality they run 3 rows deep. This has something to do with mathematics and architecture. 

Peter was one of the Christians that was killed in Nero's courtyard. Later, Constantine built a church on the site that he was killed. The Old Saint Peter's lasted about 1,200 years and then they came and built St. Peter's basilica which is what we see today. This is the best of them all.

From the back to the front of the church is as long as 2 foot ball fields! The church covers 6 acres! It is humongous!!

The canopy which was designed by Bernini and reaches 7 stories high.

This is one of the pieces of art that came from the original church. It is Peter and it is customary to kiss or rub his feet. Over time his toes on both feet have been worn smooth by all of our grimy little hands.

One of my favorite sculptures… It is called Pieta, which means pity, and was carved by Michelangelo when he was only 24 years old! You can't get very close to it because it is behind bullet proof glass. In 1972 some crazy man went at the sculpture with a hammer. 

The Swiss guards guard the entrance from the square into the Vatican. I'm not exactly sure why they are from Switzerland?? They do have great uniforms though!

St. Peter's by night.

Piazza Navona

Pantheon by night.

I know I say this a lot, but this time I really mean it. This is the best gelato in all of Italy. Giolitti. The most creamiest. The most flavorful. And with a big slab of whip cream on top. Yum. It was so good, we ate it 2 nights in a row.

So many good flavors...

A quick stop at Trevi Fountain

Mom and Dad throwing coins into the fountain over their shoulder to ensure their return to Rome. :)

Roman style parking.

Stay tuned for Rome Part II...