We started the day off today on the completely opposite side of Rome at the Piazza del Popolo and Santa Maria del Popolo, which seemed very plain on the outside but upon entering proved to be very ornate. The aisles were symmetrical with many chapels lining the sides. Nearby we also got to see the original city gate on this side of the city. We then walked to the Trevi Fountain, which was my all-time favorite place in Rome. Before I left for this trip, I was reading through a biography book I made in 8th grade and I had written down that my dream vacation was to go to Rome and see the Trevi Fountain, so I guess I can check that one off my list. We then walked to the Pantheon and finally got to go in this time after passing it so many times. We had quite a bit of time to spend there so I decided to sketch. I chose to sketch the general structure of the outside with the columns in front. It is such a massive structure and the engineering behind the dome is amazing. It also made for a very cool design on the ceiling which we saw replicated in many structures after this. For the afternoon we went to the Capitoline Museums and saw many sculptures including a giant on of Constantine outside in the courtyard. We then got to walk up and go inside “the big white thing” which we basically concluded serves no purposed. However it is a very prominent landmark and guided us home many nights in Rome.
Today we started the morning off with a walk to Area Sacra, a square roughly equivalent to a US City block, that is about 20 feet below the rest of the city. This is the location of Caesar’s assassination, which currently houses many of Rome’s cats. We then went to Campo dei Fiori and saw Giardino Bruno, who was burned at the stake for blasphemy in saying the Earth revolves around the sun. We then walked to the church of Santa Marian Sopra Minerva that had an elephant supporting an obelisk in the center of the piazza in front of it. The plain facade of the church was very misleading of the inside as we saw upon entering the church. Every piece of the floors, walls and ceiling was covered with the most ornate detail. Definitely one of the more beautiful churches we entered, although all of them were amazing. On our way to the Spanish Steps, we got to see the Marcus Aurelius column, which highly resembles Trajan’s column, and people can get these confused/interchanged often. The Spanish Steps were one of my favorite places in Rome because of the bliss and beauty and basically the atmosphere surrounding the area, although it was filled with tourists. We then had some free time around this area so we walked around the area and window shopped in the very high end stores, but the security guards at each door intimidated us too much to actually go in the stores.
We started the day off very early and at 8 AM headed to the Colosseum. I thought it was so cool to be walking around inside of there. It seemed so surreal. Whenever we walked home at night we always used the colosseum as a major landmark to know that we were getting close and it was just so crazy to think that people walk by such a historical place on a daily basis. We then saw the Arch of Constantine right outside of the Colosseum. It was mentioned that the marathon was finished there when the Olympics were held in Rome and I thought that would have been awesome to run in. We then walked over to the Roman Forum, Trajan’s Forum, and the Forum of Augustus and it was amazing how gigantic all the structures appeared to be from the remains. By the end of this our feet were DYING!!
We met up with Dr. E at 9 AM today after some breakfast (rolls, yogurt, cheese, salami). We decided to go see a few things that were not on our itinerary since we had some free time. We went to a statue called the Mouth of Truths, portraying one of several possible pagan gods, in the Church of Santa Maria. Supposedly it will close on your hand if you are a liar. We then walked over to and across the Tiber River area and then to the Campo dei Fiori, which quickly became our favorite spot in Rome. We had some free time to explore and had some very good paninis for lunch. We then went back to the hotel for a quick nap and then had dinner as a group right up the street from our hotel.
Effie and I met up in Omaha to begin our travel in Rome. We had our first encounter with “Stranger Danger” on the train that took us to the International terminal at the Chicago airport. He asked where we were going and why and we reluctantly told him ITALIA! It ended up paying because he happened to be a security worker, therefore escorted us to the front of a 45 minute security line that we were able to bypass altogether. The 4 of us (Effie, Emily, Matt and myself) were al seated next to each other in the middle 4 seats of the plane. After a very long and sleep-deprived plane ride, we arrived in Rome at approx. 8:30 AM local time. One thing that we noticed on the plane was that al the Italians seemed to all know each other and were walking around the plane like it was a big party. We were picked up at the airport by a man holding a sign with all of our names (I felt like I was in a movie). We got to our hotel and discovered that the concierge man was not the friendliest. After pizza at the pizza inn, we found our way up to our room, and lucky for me, I got to sleep on the cot that slightly resembled one you would find in a jail cell!