Erin and I overslept for the first time today (but only by 30-minutes, luckily) and quickly got ready just in time to grab some quick food items from the hotel breakfast and jumpon the tour bus waiting for us. Last night some of the group went out with Andreas after dinner out to a few bars and came back at 5:30a and our tour started at 8:00a. Everyone who went was really hungover and I’m so glad we turned in early. Even Andreas was a bit groggy as we road the bus over to the Vatican.
We then met up with a little old and blonde Italian tour guide, Gloria, and we did a 3-hour tour walking tour in which we got the whisper listening devices again which was great. I’m so glad we went earlier too because the Vatican’s line to get in was still short so after 20-minutes we entered up the steps of St. Peter’s Basilica.
This was everything I dreamed it would be and I am so glad I took Barbara Haegar’s History of Christian Art class my last semester of school because we covered a lot of the artwork done by Bernini thats located inside. I got to see the statue of St. Longinus holding the spear that pierced Christ’s side as he was on the cross. I saw Bernini’s incredible Throne of St. Peter done in all gold behind the altar. And lastly the best part was the Baldacchino, an amazing canopy that is 97ft. high, and above the altar and is above the tomb of St. Peter.
Afterwards we had 20-minutes to walk around the Vatican gift shop which was nothing but rosaries, bottles of holy water and post cards you could send which would have the Vatican seal and a postage stamp of Pope Francis.
Afterwards we hopped back on the bus and drove southeast down to the Colosseum and Roma Forum, which is ruins uncovered of ancient roman senate buildings. We used our roma pass and entered the forum in which we saw the original Arc of Triumphant done by Constantine. Then we saw a beautiful church that was completely intact along with shambles of broken columns lying about after years of invasions and raiding of the city.
We then turned in our whisper devices and could use our roma pass to get into one more thing for free, so we naturally chose the Colosseum. The line was quick and Erin and I hiked to the 2nd story to get the amazing view of the arena. Its just as the pictures describe it, but in perspective, is slightly smaller than OSU’s stadium. We walked around the perimeter and snapped lots of photos before exiting to grab food.
We stopped at a small pizza place called Ristorante Pizza and got pizza, bruschetta and a coke all for $10 euros. It was delicious as usual and we then mapped our our walking plan for the evening.
Classic Italian pizza
Our first stop after lunch was Trajan’s column which was magnificent as it is a continuous narrative of victory battle scenes of emperor Trajan. Then we walked to the Pantheon which was the one thing I really wanted to see on the trip. It free to enter so we got to go inside and see the incredible oculus at top (which is just a large hole in the ceiling that lets in light; also rain pours down onto the marble floor on rainy days) and the tomb of painter-architect Raphael.
We then walked down the street to the Trevi Fountain, and it was a big let down. There was scaffolding all over the front and the water was drained out of the fountain. So we walked two blocks down to the Fontana del Tritone (Triton fountain) done by Bernini as well, and it was much better! It had crystal clear blue water and was so nice to sit by before taking the metro back to the hotel.
Trevi Fountain with scaffolding:(
After returning to the hotel, Erin took a quick shower and I napped and re-organized my suitcase and purse before meeting a few people from our group downstairs in the lobby to grab dinner.
After everyone arrived, we walked around the corner to a small pizza place where we each got a personal pizza to go and a bottle of wine to share, and we walked down the street to some pretty steps to eat dinner and watch the sun go down. The pizza is very good here and real Italian crust is thin almost like a very crisp tortilla shell. Tomorrow we’ll attempt to go back to the Vatican to see the Sistine Chapel along with hitting up a few more museums before leaving Rome.