My Italy trip - Day 2

Asha DeshStarred Page By Asha Desh, 9th Jan 2017 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Travel>Europe>Italy>Rome & Lazio

A close experience with history I had heretofore observed just in picture collections and motion pictures. The landmarks, culture, scenery and food from the immense Colosseum to the spread of Olive trees-that blow one's mind!

Vatican City,St.Peter's Basilica, Sistine Chapel.

St. Peter’s Square : To the right you see the chimney from where the White Smoke comes when a new pope is chosen.
We got up at 5.30 in the morning, feasted on a sumptuous breakfast and left for the Vatican City. There were many lines already to get into the Vatican City. But because we were with the Globus tour, we got the opportunity to go in a shorter line, with a speedy passage. Vatican City is a country on its own, governed by the Pope. To get inside the Vatican City, one actually “Leaves Italy”. The Vatican City has its own postage stamps and will not accept stamps of Italy! We went through security doors, like an airport and arrived inside. It was an ethereal feeling to know that we were actually standing on the very holy grounds that the Pope walks on. We were at the Saint Peter’s Basilica. (BASILICA SAN PIETRO) To quote Rick Steves’, the travel writer, “There is no doubt; it is the richest, grandest and largest church on earth”. We walked through the Vatican Museum ( MUSEI VATICANI) ,a lavish place beautified with sculptures, tapestries, maps, paintings by Michelangelo, Raphael and the likes and finally arrived at the famous Sistine Chapel, with Michelangelo’ s painting on the ceiling! We learnt the meaning of the word “fresco”- painting on wet plaster. If he did not get it right the first time, the whole thing had to be scrapped off and done again! All this, while lying flat on scaffolding, high up in the air. No wonder, that after it was all done, he did not want to hold a paint brush in his hand ever again. ((He relented later) It is indeed a marvel. All the things we had read and heard about were in front of our eyes. I was overwhelmed with a sense of gratitude to God for bestowing this grace on us. Our guide, Marco, was a retired History professor. His knowledge and passion about Rome was very evident. It was extremely hot, but apparently the previous week had been cold and rainy, so we counted our blessings. What I have described above contains works of masters in their life time and no amount of time will justify seeing and relishing this completely. We exited the Sistine Chapel and spent some time in the courtyard of the magnificent St.Peter’s Basilica. We had a group photograph taken right in front of the Basilica and proceeded further with our tour.

City of Rome

By now I was also getting used to hearing Roman architectural nomenclature, like Doric , Ionic and Corinthian, thanks to my personal guide/ architect husband! I was hearing many descriptive words like Modern, Baroque, Renaissance, Christian and Gladiators. The famous chariot races were held in the Colosseum. From there we went to the Roman Forum, which was the political, religious and commercial center of Rome. It was a lot of walking and climbing up and getting down, and so on. The bus took us around the city of Rome ,around the River TIBER, pointing out some more important stuff, like Circus Maximus, The ruins of the lofty Palaces, Capitol Hill, The Vivator Emmanuel Monument ( dubbed the wedding cake, a humongous building ) and some more sights , before returning to the hotel for an afternoon break. We were on our own for lunch, and like many of our counterparts, got a take-out Pizza to our room. We had a nice siesta and were ready for the afternoon optional walking tour of Rome.

Trevi Fountain , Pantheon and the Four River Fountain.

The evening walking tour of Rome started with the bus dropping us off at a strategic point. From there we walked to the Trevi Fountain, which was under construction. We were allowed to walk along the semicircular bridge in front and do the famous coin tossing ritual. We ate Gelato, the famous Italian ice cream. All over Italy, there is no dearth of Gelaterias, and gelato comes in all flavors. We continued with the walking tour, looking at more churches, Obelisks, and Piazza. We then arrived at the Pantheon, a well preserved structure till today. It is a massive building with huge pillars and a great dome, which is said to have inspired other domes later on.

Piazza Navona and the Four Rivers Fountain

We finished our walking tour at the Piazza Navona. Today, it is a central gathering spot, a very active place. The center of this Piazza is the Four Rivers Fountain. This structure is an Egyptian Obelisk, supported by four river gods, each representing a continent. In those days (1650) only four continents were known. Africa, Europe, America and Asia. The four rivers are, Nile, Danube, Rio de la Plata and THE GANGES ! I could not suppress a surge of pride that went through my heart!

Margherita Pizza

We bid farewell to our guide Marco who really needed both hands to talk ! We were free for the rest of the evening after that. We had dinner at a wayside restaurant called Bianca restaurant. I just can’t get over how, in Europe, all these restaurants are just situated on public streets! Quaint, but I wonder about that. We had Margherita pizza, which is Mozzarella cheese, tomato and basil. I learned that the name came from a famous queen, named Margherita, who loved this combination. Well, I have something in common with that queen! We saw the Termini, which is the Terminal Train station, and then returned to the hotel. We repacked everything for the next day. This ended our first day of tour in Rome.


Colosseum, Europe, Italy, Pope, Sistine Chapel, Stpeters Square, Travel, Trevi Fountain, Vatican City

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author avatar Asha Desh
Freelance writer. My genre is a mixed bag . My articles include Reflections on life, Humor with meaningful messages, Travel, Light reading and Fiction.

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