Posted by: Andrea | April 1, 2008

Rome Highlights

So Rome is pretty much awesome, let’s just say that right away. I’d been there before about 12 years ago and didn’t get much of a chance to sightsee because I was singing in a choir and we had to sing at St. Peters. Which was pretty cool, but also a bit of a letdown, as it was July and really busy, so there were tons of tourists talking as we sang. I also secretly kind of thought the pope just might stop by to check out our singing, but alas, we just got stuck with a cardinal. And sure, yes, ok, I’m sure my dad would be very excited about a cardinal, it wasn’t too thrilling to me. However, I did love the Coliseum. This time, it was so great to travel and see things and do what I wanted to do, instead of being herded around by a chaperone. And there were lots of highlights! The best things:

The history: I almost studied Archaeology as a career, so I love anywhere that’s really old. Probably why I love Europe, but one of the reasons I love Rome in particular. It seemed like everywhere I turned there was history. It’s probably a very American thing to get so excited about ‘old stuff’ but I can’t help it. It just seemed like you can dig a hole in Rome and find something that was made by the ancient Greeks or Romans. Nowhere in my life have I been somewhere where so much happened Before Christ. It was so exciting and impressive and I adored that.

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The art: Rome is the home of the greats: Michelangelo, Raphael, Bernini. And the best part about this is their stuff is everywhere. And it is awesome. There are a lot of famous sculptures and paintings in museums in Rome, but I loved how it was even out on the streets too. There are quite a few famous fountains, such as Trevi:

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but the coolest thing about them is that you can literally just turn a corner and find one. It is one of the best things about Rome, there are hidden gems everywhere and you never know what you’re going to find. This one is one of my favorites (the little turtles were added by Bernini):

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It was so cool seeing those famous pieces of art in person, especially when you don’t even expect to. This one we stumbled across in the Vatican Museums. Our tour guide didn’t even mention it:

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The Vatican: Not only is it totally gorgeous, but it also totally intrigued me. It’s a kilometer square but manages to have its own bank, postal service and railway. The pope is the ‘king’ and can do pretty much whatever he wants. The Vatican Museums are filled with art the pope of the time liked, put together whichever way he wanted to (including putting broken heads female heads on male bodies just because they fitted together). And did you know that St. Peters is made of marble stolen from the Coliseum? That all the marble columns that weren’t broken were taken and put into the Vatican? There’s a reason there isn’t any marble left in the Coliseum and it’s not just because it’s so old. Scandalous! Plus, all the guards dress like this:

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How awesome is that? These uniforms were designed by Michelangelo. Ah yes. The Vatican. Stylish perhaps. Move with the times? Not so much. And check this one out:

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That’s not a painting, that’s a mosaic. How cool is that?! Pretty freaking cool.

Gelato: Unfortunately, no picture of that, but let me assure you, gelato is glorious. And even though we walked so much my feet were about to fall off, I think gelato is entirely to blame for me not losing a single ounce while one holiday. The best flavor is chocolate and mint chocolate chip mixed. Seriously awesome.

Finally, the number one highlight of Rome: Spending time with my sister. It’s something I don’t get enough of these days and I miss it a lot. We haven’t always gotten along in the past, but I think that as we’ve gotten older we’ve both mellowed and really value the time we can spend together. I miss her very very much and it makes me sad that I can’t hang out with her whenever we want. I’m so glad that we got to take this trip together. She is an amazing person and has a wicked sense of humor. Nobody else would have thought to write my dad a postcard from the Pope (aka ‘Benny’) and if I had to face Naples, I’m glad it was with her. More on that to follow (in ‘the Lowlights of our trip’).

Just one more reason to visit Rome (which for some reason will not post correctly, so apologies):

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If you ever get a chance, go. You won’t regret it.

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Responses

  1. The one and only time I was in Rome, I was only there for 3 days and I didn’t really like it at the time. It was strangely hot, there were communist protests AND the Rome Marathon going on, not to mention it was holy week so the city was super crowded. I really REALLY want to return because I think I would love it as much as you did. *sigh*

  2. Honestly, I think that there are other cities in Italy that are cooler than Rome: Florence and Venice are two. On the other hand, we had very limited time and Rome was very accessible. It’s a good intro to Italy for someone who’s never been there (my sister) and EVERYONE spoke English. So no worries about stressful restaurant ordering or asking directions. I’d probably go back just to see a few little things we missed (like the catacombs under St Peters, you have to book months ahead for that) but only for a few days. It’s a great place to start out in Italy but it shouldn’t be the only place you see. But lots of fun for a few days away from rainy Glasgow!


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