Monday, July 20, 2009

2008 Winter in Rome Day 4

Day 4 10th Dec Wed

Light Rain

Since we stay near the Pantheon, the idea is to visit places that are most accessible on foot and then branch out of Rome gradually. My plan is to cluster our places to visit so as to minimize transport costs.

The Colosseum

Today we set off for the Colosseum , Rman Forum and Palatine Hill, a short walk behind the apartment. It was an unhurried start since the rain from the previous night has refused to stop. Between the 3 of us, we used an umbrella that broke 15 minutes into the walk because of the vicious wind.

From Torre Largo Argentina, we headed towards the Colosseum area and paid a combined entrance fee of €12 to visit the 3 sites, located next to each other. I enjoyed the colossal Colosseum the most because of the sad stories and sacrifices slaves, gladiators and Christians faced there. In fact, the Pope holds mass every Good Friday in the Colosseum – that speaks volume to its significance as a place of martyrdom.

Next we proceeded to the Palatine Hill and archeological sites within the premises. We passed gladiators wanting to pose with tourists with a fee and freelance guides. Our skin color made it easier for the first time as tourist in refusing unwanted services. Hope was tickled pink skirting around them.

The Forum

Light rain came on and off like a sprinkler in the most annoying fashion. By 1 pm, the lack of lunch and endless cobbles in the Roman Forum caused my entire body to scream out and the 2 shutterbugs left me to nurse my injuries on the torso of an unknown soldier while they snapped away merrily. We bade ancient Rome goodbye and made our way back towards the Pantheon.

Chiesa de Gesu

Lunch at a bar across Chiesa de Gesu was pretty good with the usual Roman fare of pasta and red wine. Sated , we went over the church to admire the biggest chunk of lapis lazuli used as a tomb stone over the body of St Ignatius. Actually the light condition in the chiesa was so poor I could not note the lazuli’s color. The arm of St Francis Xavier encased in a glass urn drew murmurs from all of us. Chiesa de Gesu is indeed opulent and redolent with splendid splashing of ornaments.

The Colosseum

Before retiring, we spent some time in the Pantheon for the first time, after dark. We gawked at Raphael’s tomb, whom nature refused to be outdone. The dark sky gaped from the oculus, interrupted by soaring sea gulls. It was like white kites in the night and makes the interior of the Pantheon stretch beyond its brick walls. Hadrian had implemented the first unsupported structural dome in ancient Rome and is really a genius to lighten the load by using an oculus.

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