Trip to Rome

March 31-April 7, 2001

Last Fall, my parents asked us to accompany them to Rome. This was a trip that my mother has been talking about for ten years. We settled on the Spring and were rewarded with great weather. We booked a tour which provided just the airfare and hotel in Rome and then left us on our own. Once we all got acclimated, we had a great time.

The Italians were all very friendly and it was a thrill to see all of the ruins and places that I'd read about for three years of high school Latin class. Here are some of our pictures from the trip.

What better place to start our photo montage than the Colossuem.

The Spanish Steps are a big tourist attraction and the first place we visited after checking into the hotel. Lots of gelato everywhere and we made sure to get our fair share.

After the Spanish Steps, we wandered around until we found the most famous fountain in Rome, the Trevi. The legend, as seen in the movie Three Coins in the Fountain, is that if you toss a coin over your shoulder into the fountain, it will ensure your return to the Eternal City.

We took a guided tour of the Sistine Chapel and St. Peter's. The Sistine Chapel was much bigger than I had imagined. All of the ceiling paintings have been restored. Too bad they don't allow photographs. It would take days to cover the Vatican museums.

St. Peter's is huge, much larger than we had imagined. We were glad we were with a guide the first time through, as we saw things we would have missed. We also learned that the marble for St. Peter's was stripped from the Colosseum. That's how it's been with the Church and Rome: many things were preserved because of Church protection while others were "recycled" into new buildings.

The most famous thing in St. Peter's is Michelangelo's Pieta. After being attacked several years ago it is now kept behind glass.

The heart of ancient Rome centered on the Forum (Foro Romano). Here you can see the remains of one of the most famous of the forums built by the Caesars. This was basically the main street of Rome. Along the walk, you can view the temple of the Vestal Virgins and many temples to the gods.

Our last glimpse of ancient Rome is the Pantheon. The Pantheon is one of those ancient structures that were saved because it was converted into a church.

We took a one-day side trip to Florence, the birthplace of the Renaissance. Though we were on a tour bus on the highway, we could see enough of the Tuscan countryside to know that we'll want to return and explore in the near future.

Florence is beautiful and without so much of the hustle of Rome. Much of the downtown is only open to pedestrian traffic, so you don't take your life in your hands crossing the street. You can see the famous dome by Brunelleschi on the Cathedral, which was started in 1296 (and Texans think the Alamo is old)! This dome served as the model for Michelangelo's work on St. Peter's. Galileo (and his daughter, if you've read the book) are buried in one of the cathedrals in the city as are other famous figures of the Renaissance.

A major reason for going to Florence was to see Michelangelo's statue of David. The statue was in the plaza for years, but has since been moved to the museum. Unfortunately, it was a two-hour wait at the museum, so our picture is of an exact copy of the statue that was put in the plaza to replace the original.

All in all, a delightful trip. We can't wait to go back and sample more of the food, the wine, and the atmosphere of Italy.