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Northern Italy Road Trip Part III

Author: Jim and Donna C. (More Trip Reviews by Jim and Donna C.)
Date of Trip: October 2010

We finally got in...crowded!!! Barbara showed us the most important pieces. I'd have to go through my camera to name what we saw. We saw some historical sculpture pieces, beautiful large tapestries, many paintings from Raphael. There were four rooms that were totally covered with Raphael paintings. There was so much to see, it was overwhelming, and we were moving through it all so fast. We also got to see another one of Michelangelo's pietas. We have seen three of the four. This one was behind glass.

You could really see that the Popes thought a lot about themselves. One Pope liked a floor in a thermal bath so much, he requested it to be taken apart, moved to the Vatican and put back together...it took 42 years to complete. Can you imagine?

Our last museum was the Sistine Chapel. We were left on our own for 10 minutes to admire Michelangelo's work. The Sistine Chapel was his first fresco work. He kept telling the Pope that he was a sculpture not a painter. However, the Pope of the time forced Michelangelo to paint the Sistine Chapel. It is fabulous! It isn't as big as we thought it would be, but it is grand never the less.

We left the chapel when we were supposed to, but we didn't see our guide. We continued down all the stairs and to the outside (felt good to be out of the mobs). We waited there for some time to see if our group immerged; they finally did. We then finished up our tour by going inside the basilica. The entire thing is decorated with mosaics and the floor is all mosaic marble.

We had five hours of an intense tour. Jim and I were both hungry, tired and sore. We never stopped. We said good bye to our group and to Barbara. We then went into the Vatican's post office to buy a stamp from the Vatican. We also picked up some post cards of the Sistine Chapel since we weren't allowed to take pictures.

We then crossed the square and found a place to eat. We found a nice little restaurant where we could get a salad. Yeah, salad! We both had one along with a piece of cake and a coke. We dragged ourselves to the meeting place for the hotel shuttle. The shuttle wasn't going to be there for another 45 minutes, so we had a gelato. Jim says any excuse. OK, on the shuttle, back to the hotel.

We had time to get our laundry done. We want to have all clean clothes before we get on the ship. We loaded up a suite case with our clothes and headed for the Laundromat. It was closed. What kind of Laundromat closes before 1700?

The shop owner next door told us that it wouldn't be open again until Monday. We dragged our clothes back to the room. I threw them all in the bathtub, along with some detergent, and stomped around trying to clean them, much like the old fashioned way of making wine. We had a lot of laundry and it took a couple of hours to get it all done.

Jim had set up the clothes line outside (we have a small balcony) and we were hanging what we could outside, in the closet and all over the bathroom. Think we got it all. We then went back up near the Laundromat to a restaurant we saw. We both had a grilled pork chop. We're getting pasta-ed out. Next to us was a couple from the states with who we had a nice visit. Back to the room and collapse for the night.

Sunday, October 23, 2010 - partly cloudy

romeSome of our clothes were still damp this morning. We thought of putting them out on the veranda, but the weather forecast was calling for rain later in the afternoon. Since it was unpredictable, we kept everything hung in the bathroom. We decided to eat breakfast in the hotel. It was expensive at 12 Euros each, but we were both hungry and didn't want to wait till we got into town.

We decided to try the public transportation to get into town today. It cost the same as taking the hotel shuttle, but it stops much closer to where we want to be. We first walked up one block, turned and went another block. Caught the FM3 train. When we got off the train we caught Line A on the subway to the main terminal where we switched to Line B. We rode that until we got to the Coliseum. We didn't even get lost, yeah for us!

Some sort of local festival was going on. The street around the coliseum was closed off to traffic and all sorts of things were going on. There were people doing tricks on roller blades, some foosball tournaments, I think they were go carts on display and then we watched a couple of games of which we weren't familiar.  One looked like four people playing tennis with tambourines.

Another was a line wound around a disk, the player rolls the disk (like bowling), trying to keep the disk between 2 lines. All sorts of stuff was going on. Turns out this was a festival celebrating ancient games -- Roman?

Jim wanted me to see the Roman Forum. This was the epicenter of the Roman Empire. I was surprised at how small it was. We stopped at the spot where Julius Caesar was killed in the forum. It was all very interesting.

Several temple areas were visible along the walk including the area where the vestal virgins kept the Roman fire burning. As long as the fire burned, Rome would stay in power. We ended at the Senate (small building). It is hard to believe that so much of the Roman Power was issued from this small building.

Jim has tried on three other occasions to find the Mamertine Prison.  This is where Peter was held for his beliefs in Jesus. This time we found it. It was in a small, unobtrusive building just outside the forum.

Entering the museum we could see the hole in the floor where Peter (and other prisoners) were lowered into a cell. We could see in the cell where Peter was chained. We could also see where water could come up...the water that Peter used to baptize the prison guards.

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