Italy

From Rome with Love

Hello family and friends!

It’s been a while since my last post and I’ve seen lots of wonderful things since then. I’ve been excited to share them with you and I’m happy to finally be writing this post.

As you probably know, in the beginning of February I went to Rome! It was an overall wonderful experience and there was SO much to see. So much in fact that it was hard to absorb it all in the less than 36 hours we had there. It is fun for me to sift through the pictures I’ve posted on here and recall the fun memories and interesting things I learned just about a month ago.

I went on this trip with my school so it was guided by some of the professors at our school. This was a big help since there is so much history in this city and I know/knew very little before coming here.

The weekend excursion began with a very early rise to meet the rest of our tour group in the middle of Florence before the sun was up. Then we took a bus ride to Rome that took about 3 hours. We made a stop along the way at a rest stop/gas station and let me just say, they are much nicer than ours. They have a wide selection of food that you can order including a variety of panini, coffee, pastries, and they have many souvenirs. I was so surprised!

Anyways, the even more exciting part of the trip came when we arrived at Vatican City and went on a tour through the Vatican museum.

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This was in the courtyard outside the vatican museum.
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School of Athens done by Rafael in 1509.
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I think it’s funny because the tourist looks strangely similar to the statue.
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Absolutely beautiful sculptures in a courtyard!!

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There was incredible art in there, I could post a million pictures but instead I can show you them on a slide show when I get home 🙂 My favorite was of course the Sistine Chapel. Absolutely captivating. I couldn’t stop staring at the middle panel where Michelangelo painted the moment when God is giving life to Adam. I also was really captivated by the depiction of the final judgement on the back wall. We couldn’t take any pictures inside the chapel but thats ok because pictures can’t do it justice anyhow. It’s just all so incredible because I learned about some of this art, and the history of Rome, throughout my school years but to actually be here is quite dreamlike! I never thought I would be able to see it in person.

Then we went outside and got a good look at St. Peter’s Basilica. Our tour guide provided us with information about how this church is built on top of a much older and smaller church. Actually most of the large Cathedrals are built this way, a bigger and better one on top of a smaller.

DSCN0751Our tour guide also pointed out the papal apartments where the previous popes have lived. Not pope Francis though, he decided he would rather live in the Vatican guest house nearby so he that he could have more interaction with ordinary people. What a stud.

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Plaza in front of Saint Peter’s

 

We unfortunately did not have time to go into the Basilica which was a big bummer but hopefully someday I will make it in there!

Next up was the…

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Hey good guess… it’s the Roman Colosseum!

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I’ll admit, it wasn’t the most romantic place to be on Valentines Day (considering 500,00 people died here), but it was better than the time I third-wheeled it with my parents to the Justin Bieber movie for Valentines Day a few years ago. Haahh. Jokes aside, this was pretty incredible, for some dumb reason I did not expect it to be in such ruins (my pictures show the good parts) but I guess thats what a few centuries will do to ya! P.S. Colton if you are reading this I was wishing you were here and that we could watch Gladiator together.

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Then we saw the Arch of Constantine (photo above). Constantine was the roman emperor who legalized Christianity around 300 AD after several years of harsh persecution. The story goes that the night before a major battle Constantine had a vision of a cross in the sky. After defeating his rival the following day, and being inspired by this mother and sister who were already Christian, he legalized the religion. Che insteresante!

That evening we went to dinner with our whole tour group and enjoyed traditional Roman dishes. First up, Carbonara. Which is pasta dish made with eggs, bacon, and cheese. I recently was taught how to make this by one of our Italian friends here! Parents I would love to make this for you when I get home 🙂 2015-02-14 20.28.16

Then we had another traditional dish that was veal with potatoes. Yum.2015-02-14 21.01.30

And then we finished out with some tiramisu. My personal favorite. Shout out to my grandpa who I love to cook with. (We’ll have to try making this sometime this summer).

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And of course we enjoyed great bread and wine throughout the meal.

That night we went for a short walk to explore the area near the hotel and we stumbled across this beauty. 2015-02-14 22.19.54

I couldn’t tell you what it was called but I hadn’t seen a church lit up at night yet so I thought it was spectacular. That night we were exhausted and had no trouble falling right asleep once we returned to the hotel.

The next morning we woke up bright and early and began another eventful day.

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The pantheon was one of my favorite sights. I can’t believe they built such massive structure around 120 A.D.! This dome actually inspired later architects like Brunelleschi who built the dome for Florence’s main cathedral Santa Maria Del Fiore.  (Fun Fact: Last week I started volunteering at this Cathedral as a tour guide so I’ll be sure to write a post about it in the future!).

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Tomb of the artist Raphael

 

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Later we saw the Victor Emmanuel Monument. Why had I never heard of this before? It was ginormous. It’s a monument to Italy’s first king and was built to celebrate Italy’s 50th anniversary of unification which occurred in 1861.

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Viva L’Italia!

From there we headed to the Spanish Steps.    DSCN0823

 

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View from the steps looking down.

Ok this next picture I just have to share because it was SO WEIRD. This man was floating in air. I looked for the wires people. I looked for the invisible box. But NOPE. If anyone has any answers for me please let me know.DSCN0871

That afternoon we saw the Roman Forum. By that time I was pretty exhausted and hangry (when you are so hungry you start to get angry) that I told the group I was with that I wanted to stroll through the forum by myself. And it was quite nice, I am not sure why but sometimes I really just like to take a moment to myself in order to really soak in my surroundings. And there was a lot to soak in.

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The Roman Forum was the main city center of the once thriving city of Rome (about 2000 years ago). It contained the most important government buildings, central market area, AND (FUN FACT: Julius Caesar was burned in this area).

It was incredible to take a moment and close my eyes and just imagine this now city of ruins, alive and busy with men and women in togas bustling around form one place to another in chariots.

We wrapped up things in this city rich with history and hopped on a bus to an area to take a tour of catacombs. There we went through the underground maze of tunnels lined with tombs of Christian martyrs.

Usually the tomb was just for one person and was no more than a slot on a wall lined with other tombs. This tomb was unique in that it was created for a family and it has artwork above it that was created shortly after the death of Christ. 2015-02-15 16.10.29

 

As you can tell we saw and did A LOT in the two days and one night we spent in Rome. It was equally exciting and exhausting. Which is probably why I got sick with a cold the following day but in my opinion it was totally worth it. I would love to go back to this city someday because there is so much more to see.

P.S. We saw the Trevi Fountain but it was under construction so I didn’t post pictures. Che triste.

Hope everyone is doing well!

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