Riveting Rome

We were two kids in a candy store, surrounded by boundless treats. We grew up learning about Rome, we studied Rome in school, we were influenced by Rome; its culture, its art and its architecture. It has survived over 3000 years and was the center of civilization. There is an old saying, “all roads lead to Rome”, and we quickly saw why.  Rome is grand, magnificent, a part of history; it is history. No matter where we turned, we were greeted by something amazing.

Bernini’s spiral staircase from the 17th century does not use a supporting middle rail – the entire structure is supported by the delicately carved spirals. Their weight is supported by the sides of the wall.
Beautiful Santa Maria Maggiore. It is a major Papal basilica. It is where the pope goes to pray.  Built in the 4th century it is where the sighting of Virgin Mary occurred.
Inside the basilica varied architectural styles are displayed , from early Christian to Baroque.
The alter. This basilica is dedicated to the Virgin Mary.
Polo sister Adriane marveling at the sights.

My sister and I bought a Roma Pass and that gave us front of the line pass to many popular attractions. One of them was The Mausoleum of Hadrian, also known as Castel Sant’Angelo.

To get to it, we crossed the Bridge of Angels or The Ponte Sant’Angelo. It dates back to the first century. During the medieval period, it was sometimes called the “Bridge of St. Peter” and was used by pilgrims to cross the Tiber River to get to St. Peter’s Basilica. In 17th century Pope Clement IX commissioned new statues from artist  Gian Lorenzo Bernini to represent the life and death of Christ.

Bridge of Angels or  Ponte Sant’Angelo
The Mausoleum of Hadrian. Construction started in the 120 AD and was completed by Antoninus Pius in 139 AD. The ashes of the late emperor, his wife Sabina as well as those of Aelius Caesar (Hadrian’s first adopted heir) were deposited here. Subsequent emperors, and their family also had their ashes deposited here until 217 AD.
Polo sister Marina goofing off on the wall.
Statue of the angel St Michael. Sculpture by Michelangelo’s pupil
Raffaello da Montelupo (1504–1566).

What can be said about Trevi Fountain…yes it’s gorgeous. But, and I say but, we were not expecting how truly magnificent this work of art truly is.

Fontana di Trevi, was designed by Italian architect Nicola Salvi and completed by Giuseppe Pannini in a very Baroque style. It is one of the most famous fountains in the world. The fountain has appeared in many romantic films, including Federico Fellini’s La Dolce Vita,
Adriane with an obligatory picture in front of the fountain.
Marina with an obligatory picture in front of the fountain.

One of the sight that excited us the most was the Roman Forum.

The center of day-to-day life in Rome. This was ancient Rome, the site of public speeches, processions, trials, matches; it was simply the center of everything. Located just outside of the Colosseum it is still being excavated today. Here some of the oldest structures of the ancient city are located, including ancient royal residence, the Regia  from the 8th century BC, and the Temple of Vestal Virgins from the 7th century BC.

It had to be done. Yes, the Colosseum, the most famous sight in the world. We took the public bus there, and there in the centre of the city stood this ancient engineering spectacle. Made from travertine, tuff, marble and brick-faced concrete.

The largest amphitheatre ever built. It was built from 72 to 80 AD. First commissioned by the Emperor Vespasian, it was not completed until 80 AD by his son Titus. He gave this gift to the people of Rome. It could hold 50,000 to 80,000 people.
 After Titus raided the city of Jerusalem and looted all the treasures. They were used to pay for the building of the Colosseum. He spared no expense. However, the hard work was done by 100,000 slaves and took about 8 years to complete. The materials used were: Travertine limestone, tuff, cement, tiles, brick, marble and terra cotta pipes.
Epic battles were fought here, gladiatorial contests, speeches, re-enactments of famous battles, executions, great dramas and animal hunts.
The Arch of Titus located just outside of the Colosseum was constructed in 82 AD by the Emperor Domitian after the death of his older brother Titus to commemorate his victories.

Baptized in blood, Rome was established in 753 BCE by Romulus after he killed his brother Remus over a dispute. Rome over the centuries spilled more blood as it expanded. In its glory the Roman empire encompassed most of continental Europe, Britain, much of western Asia, northern Africa and the Mediterranean islands. It saw bigger than life leaders such as Julius Cesar, Caligula, and Nero. It established civil law, the Senate; epic games. It cemented itself as the center of Christianity and inspired great works of art and architecture. As we walked the street, everywhere there were reminders of its glorious past in its glorious present.

Marina with a little tickle-tickle.

Piazza Navona, also known as “Circus Agonalis” is a beautiful square in the center of town. It is a place where ancient Romans went to watch games, listen to some music and watch artists at work. Built in the 1st century AD, it features three amazing fountains.

Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi in Piazza Navona. Designed in 1651 by Gian Lorenzo Bernini for Pope Innocent X located in front of the church of Sant’Agnese which is simply breathtaking. Sorry, no pictures allowed.  
Marina in front of the statue of Neptune, another smaller fountain in Piazza Navona.

One of the highlights of Rome and on our bucket list was the Pantheon. On the outside it looks like another temple, but inside, behold, it is a MASTERPIECE. The Pantheon was a former Roman temple, now a church dedicated to all gods. It was completed by the emperor Hadrian around 126 AD. It is the best preserved Ancient Roman monument.

The Pantheon
The interior has the shape of a cylinder covered by a half of a sphere; the height of the cylinder is equal to the radius of the sphere. It is an architectural marvel.
The Panthium also holds the tombs of Kings, poets and the famous artist Raphael. Its marble floor contain original 2000 year old series of geometric patterns.
There is no windows inside, except in its giant dome, a famous hole in the top, the oculus. The dome is the largest unsupported dome in the world and is in perfect proportion . The distance from the floor to the top of the dome is exactly equal to its diameter.
They say all roads lead to Rome, and now we knew why.

Watch our video 4 DAYS IN ROME!