Welcome to Roma!
What a first day to spend in this famous city. We bought a pass (per the perfect instruction of Rick Steves) to visit the Colosseum, the Forum and the Pantheon. So that is just what we did.
The Colosseum was unbearably hot. And really really crowded. Is it bad that that is what I remember from our tour there? I guess my American-ism has to shine through at some point. But it is an amazing structure where mostly barbaric entertainment was celebrated. So that's interesting. Time to re-watch Gladiator.
This tour really stands out in my mind. It is ABSOLUTELY AMAZING that we are able to tour Ancient Rome. I mean, Rome is where we (when I say “we”, I mean society at large) get everything: education, culture, democracy, SO many social practices, religious practices... I mean whoa. The list goes on and on and on. Rome ruled for 1000 years, from 500 b.c. To 500 a.d. That is a seriously long time. I mean, the U.S. Has only been it's own country for like 230 years. Being able to walk the city that was at one time SO PAGAN and housed so many people who shaped history. It's just mind boggling. Being able to see where Julius Caesar uttered those epic words, “Et tu, Brute?”, where he was assassinated, and then finally where he was laid to rest... well, that's just pretty epic. To be able to walk through the same doors as Constantine, Caligula and Cicero. To gaze up at the statues of pagan gods that the Romans actually worshipped... it really helped connect some Old Testament dots for me. This trek was a thrill.
|// The Forum. Ancient Rome. //|
|// Julius Caesars' abode. //|
|// Old. So old. //|
Okay, now this is really interesting. Remember how I gushed over Michelangelo in Florence? Well, the Pantheon is an ancient structure that inspired young Michel, so much in fact, that it inspired his dome design for St. Peter's Basilica. He used to sit in the Pantheon, staring up at the freakishly cool ceiling and sketch it. Sheesh. It is just SO COOL to see what inspired the glory out of that man. He was so incredibly talented... I am majorly crushing on him. I am about 600 years too late to profess my love directly to him, so you folks will probably get to keep hearing about it. Over and over. My husband is already over it. Anyways, back to the Pantheon. It's this mystical structure and no one has ever been able to figure out exactly how it was constructed. It began as an interfaith spiritual hub where anyone could come and worship anything, since the Romans served around 30,000 gods. Once Constantine legalized Christianity as the national religion, the Pantheon fell into disrepair. A few hundred years later, it was officially converted into a Roman Catholic church. Out with the statues of gods and in with the statues of Mary. It is still used today for mass, weddings and, ya know, tours.
|// Pantheon //|
|// Pantheon interior. Boss. //|
Rome is a city unlike any I've ever seen. Each corner of this town is dripping with such incredibly meaningful history. It would take years to actually get a good grasp on it's roots, so for now, I shall just enjoy the energy of this town and appreciate it's gelato. I've been really appreciating the gelato. You might be getting sick of me telling you that, but it won't change the fact that it's true! My new fave is pistachio. And limone. And stracciatella.