Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Rome - Day 2 - in which we stuffed ourselves on art and pasta!

I should have posted these 2 pics with my last Rome post as they are from the end of our first day.  We wandered round in circles seeking the Trevi Fountain due to an inaccurate tourist map but, on the plus side, they were lovely circles to be wandering in!

And by the time we found it, it was dark so only grainy pictures to be had.  But very romantic with the flickering lights on the blue water.

We did not throw any coins into the fountain so we are not guaranteed a return visit to the Eternal City.  But I suspect we'll be back anyway.  The area around the fountain was cordoned off due to sheet ice so one's options for coin-throwing were limited to braving the Policia and hopping over the cordon to stand in front a giggling mob of Japanese kids to take one's chances.  This option came with high risks of a) falling over on the ice in the effort of hurling the coin over one's shoulders (to the inevitable hysteria from the Japanese) and b) missing the fountain altogether (even worse...).

We didn't risk it. Wisely.

Day 2 was the Vatican Museum and St Peter's Basilica.  There were no queues - Go February!  We paid the extra for guided tour as we know very little about art or architecture and suspected (rightly) that without a guide we would spend hours wandering around getting increasingly footsore and still miss all the good stuff!

Our guide was well worth every Euro.  She saved us hours of wandering and, more importantly, made the statues and frescos come to life by adding colour and context.  I especially liked the way that she would say before referencing some obscure patron, architect or artist, "As you know, Gianni Pozzo designed this in the school of.....etc etc"  The "as you know" made me feel very clever as I nodded knowingly!!

I particularly loved this statue, not just because of its back story and historical improtance but because of the power of the pain and passion in the man's face and the sheer nastiness of the serpent.

I always find a doggie somewhere.  There was a room full of animals but we were rushed past it in the guide's haste to get somewhere else before a huge gang of Koreans.  We tried but couldn't find our way back to it once the tour was over...

Nero's red porphery marble bowl.  He may have bathed in it - beats the hell out of Wickes!

Oh, the ceilings.  Acre after acre of gilded, colourful, neck-defying beauty.   They were simply stunning.

We loved the Raphael Rooms and the Sistine Chapel although the latter was a little overwhelming due to the crush of noisy humanity.  My aunt has just emailed me a detailed fly-by of the Sistine Chapel which is much better in one sense as you can linger over the tiny details and enjoy "looking" at the space with no people inside.  I doubt the fly-by would be as compelling, though, if we had not been there in person.

Even the staircase in and out was a stunning piece of art.

After several hours of glazed-eyed staring at "stuff", however gorgeous, it was a relief to emerge into the brisk (OK, arctic) sunshine of St Peter's Square.

I presume there is a religious reason why the Christmas Tree and Nativity scenes were only being removed on 6 February so will refrain from making a comment about the laidback approach to life exhibited by modern day Romans

The frontage of St Peter's Basilica.

One of the Spanish Guards.  But wearing a tabard against the cold so we could not check out his pantaloon knickers!

What an awesome church it is!  No flash photography permitted so the shots are somewhat grainy but it was awe-inspiring.  Every inch was considered and decorated.  Nothing was without meaning or significance.

And quite a dome to behold.

Bernini's tabernacle.

It was a brilliant day.  I loved the sheer weight of history and beauty and how it fits into everyday life.

We were shattered that evening though and couldn't face heading far from the hotel to find somewhere to eat.  Luckily for us there was a pretty little trattoria mere yards from the hotel which looked nice and seemed popular.  We staggered in and ended up, through sheer lack of brain power, choosing a primo piatti and a secondo piatti (ie. plate of pasta followed by a main course, either of which would have been quite sufficient!).  We were stuffed.  How do the Italians do it?  A learning experience but delicious!


Linz M said...

Gorgeous photos - I love Rome. Looks like you had a lovely time x

Seren said...

Fantastic pictures - one very jealous blog reader over here :-)


Claire said...

Oh still so jealous! x