Thursday, 13 September 2012

Rome, Italy

Rome, 10-13th September 
My first glimpse of Rome was the colosseum. On the bus ride in, along a main carriage way of road, appeared the colosseum. A historical feature - thousands of years old - situated in the centre of the city. The contrast of old against new is breathtaking and a feeling I've never experienced before. On my first night in the city (shortly after arriving) the girls in my room advised me that the colosseum was best seen at night. 

The following day I had booked a tour around the colosseum - the inside is just as fabulous as the out! The Forum Gardens are the ruins left from an original Roman settlement and can be found next to the colosseum - another excellent contrast of old and new in the centre of the city.

A part of Rome I was extremely excited to see was the Trevi Fountain. The Trevi Fountain is the largest baroque fountain in the city. One coin in the fountain ensures a return to Rome, two coins means you'll return to Rome and fall in love and three coins means you'll return to Rome, fall in love and marry! This fountain held magic for the thousands of people that flock to it each day, but its real magic was at night. The small streets surrounding the fountain were filled with Italians eating their dinner (most Italians do not eat until 9pm), couples were walking to the fountain to spend time together. Regardless of the high levels of tourism around this fountain, it is still a place where the locals like to visit.

In a quiet piazza, on the Aventine hill, holds the embassy of the order of Malta. This Villa has a secret garden and a secret entrance to the secret garden. At the secret entrance is a gate and this gate holds a keyhole. Upon looking through this keyhole you see a garden which is perfectly aligned down a pathway. At the end of the pathway is a view of St Peters Basilica, Vatican City. This 'secret' view point is magical. It is off the busy track of the colosseum where thousands of tourist flock. When I arrived at the door there was just myself and one other.

My final day in Rome was spent in Vatican City. I arrived extra early as i was attending Pope Benedict XVI's weekly sermon and blessing. Thousands of other people also had the same idea. I am not a religious person but I want to experience as many things as possible. At this sermon Christians (and I suspect many other religions) from all over the world came together to celebrate life. Everyone was so kind and so friendly - sharing their experience of Rome and their experience of The Vatican. Pope Benedict XVI's sermon emphasises how religion - when viewed in the correct way - can bring people together in a loving way to celebrate family and life. Following this I went on a tour of The Vatican and St Peter's Basilica. 

The picture on the left was taken in St Peter's Square. The dome (that I had seen from Aventine hill) is clearly seen above the museum. During the tour we were taken into Pope Alexander Borgia's bedroom. This notorious Pope had held a fascination for me and standing where he had stood was fantastic. Michelangelo's sistine chapel was featured on the tour as well as the Raphael rooms - evidence of the expense taken to produce this fantastic building.

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