and that is where we are.
Certainly not the favorite part of our trip, but how could we be tourists in Italy without visiting Rome? Like most big cities, it is large, crowded, noisy and probably dirtier.
As tourists, of course, we had our sights set on The Colosseum, the Vatican and the Sistine Chapel. Fortunately we booked ahead and reserved early morning tours, thus avoiding the long lines waiting for admission. We were told there are 30,000 visitors a day to the Colosseum.
With our guide from Walks of Italy, we walked around the Colosseum and learned all that is depicted in the movies isn't accurate. The Gladiators did not look like Russell Crowe (they were fat and ugly and most often they were prisoners or slaves.)
As impressive as the Colosseum looks today,
one can only imagine how magnificent it was when covered with marble. Throughout the ages the marble has been stripped for other projects like St. Peter's Basilica. It has been damaged by fire and earthquakes and has been the victim of vandalism.
As we walked through the ruins of Palatine Hill, we gained renewed appreciation for being spared the lot of living during the dark ages and for modern sanitation. Did you know that instead of one seated toilet, sometimes there were 10 or more in a room? In addition to taking care of one's "business" it was often a place for socialization? And if you committed a crime you could actually be "thrown to the wolves" or any other wild animal? Of course if you survived the encounter (slim chance,) you would be exonerated. And then there were the barbarians and the plague! Goodness what a dismal time it must have been.
On to Vatican City; again, with a guide from Walks of Italy. We started at the Sistine Chapel before it was open to those without reservations. And we are so glad we did! It was not crowded and we were able to actually sit in the chapel for about 20 minutes just looking at the ceiling. We were not able to take photos inside the chapel. Why? Because Fuji (the film company) sponsored some renovation and were given the copyrights. We did take this photo just before entering the chapel.
Not done by Michaelangelo, it is nevertheless beautiful.
After our time at the Sistine Chapel, we visited the expansive Vatican Museum. We think we have seen enough lovely renassance paintings and sculptures to last us awhile.
Before leaving the Vatican City, we stopped by St. Peter's Basilica.
This ends our time in Italy. As we return home we take with us a better understanding of ancient history , especially as it relates to the Bible.
As much as we have enjoyed our Italian adventure, our souls are fed and we are looking forward to returning to our little cottage, especially to our kitchen and our memory foam mattress.