Sam's Exotic Travels to Rome, Italy - The Eternal City
Rome was the first stop on our tour. The Eternal City, Rome is a blend of Roman antiquity and grandeur and the hustle and bustle of modern times. Too bad we only had a few precious hours.
Rome is a heady blend of artistic and architectural masterpieces, classical ruins, and extravagant baroque churches and piazzas. The places evoke the people -- Roman emperors concerned with outdoing their predecessors in grandeur, powerful prelates enmeshed in intricate scandals, geniuses summoned by popes to add to the Vatican's treasures, a dictator who left his mark on the city before his imperial dreams were shattered, and the contemporary Romans, full of the earthy energy that makes this a city of unique vitality.
More than Florence, more than Venice, Rome is Italy's treasure trove, packed with masterpieces from more than two millennia of artistic achievement. It's here that a metropolis once bustled around the carved marble monuments of the Roman Forum, where centuries later Michelangelo Buonarroti (1475-1564) painted Christian history in the Sistine Chapel, where Gian Lorenzo Bernini's nymphs and naiads dance in their fountains, and where an empire of gold was worked into the crowns of centuries of rulers.
Today Rome's formidable legacy is upheld by its people, their history knit into the fabric of their everyday lives. Students walk dogs in the park that was once the mausoleum of the family of the emperor Augustus; Raphaelesque Madonnas line up for buses on busy corners; a priest in flowing robes walks through a medieval piazza talking on a cell phone. Modern Rome has one foot in the past, one in the present -- a delightful stance that allows you to have an espresso in a square designed by Bernini, then take the Metro back to your hotel room in a renovated Renaissance palace.
My albums include the following:
Colosseum and Surrounds. The most spectacular edifice of ancient Rome, this sports arena was designed to hold more than 50,000 spectators. It was completed in 80 AD, taking only eight years to complete. Seriously damaged by earthquakes, it was further damaged when Renaissance princes used the Colosseum as a quarry for building materials. The ruins were saved by l Pope Benedict XIVin 1749 when he declared it sanctified by the blood of the martyrs.
People - While I like history and architecture, some of my best pictures are of people. These are no exceptions.
The Vatican - The Vatican is a sovereign nation located within the boundaries of Rome. While it is one of the smallest nations on Earth, it is also one of the most important customers to Swiss Banks. The home of the Pope and other Catholic Church leaders, it has a population of 300. The Pope resides in the brick building to the right of St. Peter's Cathedral and makes his public appearances to faithful in the square from the second to the right window on the top floor. (No he wasn't home when we visited).
The Vatican - St Peter's Cathedral - The largest church in the world, built over the tomb of St. Peter, is also the most imposing and breathtaking architectural achievement of the Renaissance. Its history goes back to AD 349, when the emperor Constantine completed a basilica over the site of the tomb of St. Peter, the Catholic Church's first pope. In danger of collapse, it was completely rebuilt in the sixteenth century under the guidance of Michelangelo, already in his 80's, but was not finished until after his death.
Trevi Fountain and Surrounds. Alive with rushing waters and marble sea creatures commanded by an imperious Oceanus, this aquatic marvel is one of the city's most exciting sights. The work of Nicola Salvi, it was completed in 1762.
Rome - Other Pictures - Basically pictures of modern Roman street scenes, these pictures are but a snapshot of Rome today, taken on a Sunday afternoon.
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