Friday, July 29, 2011

High on Rome

Today brought humidity and a lag to our steps.  No wonder we were dragging just a bit though, we really have been on the go this week, even with our rests in the park and siestas in the apartment.  But it was our last full day in Rome and we had a couple things we still wanted to do, if we could.  So back to St. Peter's we went this morning, to climb the cupola.  320 stairs to the top...and that was after the elevator part way up (shaving off more than 200 more steps - well worth the extra 2 euro, I figure!)  Surprisingly, the climb was considerably less arduous than we anticipated, at least at the time.  Our legs were feeling it later in the day though.  But it wasn't as hard as climbing the Duomo in Florence.  What a view from up there!!

The interior of St. Peter's looks so far down and how small the people are. You can get a sense of just how incredibly HUGE this basilica is when gazing down from up here. And the photo below in only one of the short (transepts?)

The letters in the gold ring around the top are about ten feet high...they appear only inches big when looking up from the floor.

 Once at the top, you can circle around the outside of the cupola to stare in amazement at the view!  This is looking down over the facade of the church, at the piazza designed by Bernini.

Looking down the opposite side..."someone" apparently has beautiful gardens in which to stroll around in Vatican City...can't imagine who that could be!

At the top, feeling quite pleased with ourselves!

Mom on the way down...a couple of the spiral staircases were quite narrow and steep.  At one point, a woman behind me kept talking about feeling claustrophobic.  I didn't mind it at all, but can see how it might bother others.  There were also places where the walls and stairs were curved, which was pretty discombobulating to climb!

Part way down, you can walk out over the roof of the facade and, if feeling inspired to part with your money, you can buy something at the gift shop (we were not so inspired!)

We worked up quite an appetite with all this climbing, so next on the agenda was lunch.  I can't recall the name of the place - possibly San Marco, which sounds right since it had a pic of Venice on the wall.  It was a couple blocks from Lepanto metro station.  We had pizza...and lots of water!  I had a pizza with buffalo mozza, a particular variety of tomato which name I can't recall, prosciutto and basil on a thin crust.  It was good, but not as good as the smoked salmon delight from last night.  Mom tried one with a thicker crust, which had some type of greens on it (didn't quite seem to be spinach, but not sure.)

Mom had read about the museum in Palazzo Barbarini and was intrigued, so after lunch we hopped on the metro and were there in no time!  A rather imposing structure it is, I must say. 

They were so strict about their no photo rule that you have to check all cameras, bags, purses, backpacks, etc at the door (in a locker, you pay a euro deposit for the key).  The first floor was closed, but the upper two were open. The man at the desk assured us that their masterpieces were on the second floor.  Raphael's Fornarina (sp) is there, as is Caravaggio's Judith beheading Holofernes (the crone on the right is mesmerizing, her face has such an intense expression!) and a Hans Holbein painting of Henry VIII, among other works.  A most impressive collection.  After making the rounds of the many rooms on the second floor...we looked at the staircase, looked at each other, and agreed we were saturated with art and quite possibly our brains would explode if we tried to fit more in. 

So we left.  When we came out the doors, we noticed a fountain so of course I had to play in it...

And I just loved the glow of these buildings in the afternoon sun...

And this fountain in Piazza Barberini...

By now it was around four or five o'clock.  We considered having a rest in the apartment for a couple hours and then having an evening stroll (since we hadn't yet experienced the streets of Rome at night) but we got lazy and decided to spend our last evening in the apartment.  Dining on the little terrace and just enjoying the view of the umbrella pines, watching the crazy traffic (we have a rush hour outside our window around 7-8pm when the traffic swells to 3 lanes, with motorcycles and scooters weaving in and is most entertaining!)  Tomorrow we head to Assisi...wish me luck driving out of Rome!!!  We're picking up our rental car at the Hertz in the Villa Borghese.  This will be quite an adventure, I'm sure.


Trekcapri said...

Hi Anne, kudos to you and your mom for the 365 stairs climb. But wow the view does look like it was worth the effort. Great photos. I'm really enjoying coming along with you around Rome. I look forward to reading where the two of you will go next. So much fun. Thanks for letting us share in your explorations.

I'm sure you'll do great driving out of Rome. Keep on having fun.

SJ(Shelagh) said...

I'm enjoying travelling "with" you Anne!
The greens on the pizza that you weren't sure about were probably arugula, "rucola" in Italy.
I love them, very peppery!!
Your mum sure has lots of energy!!!

Anne said...

Thanks Trekcapri! The drive wasn't nearly as nervewracking as I feared it might be. We are in Assisi tonight, and stayed up late watching a concert in Piazza Commune. Details coming soon, am off to bed right now!

Shelagh, ah yes I expect you are right about the arugula. Thanks! Mom is in fantastic shape, the only thing she's had trouble with has been her knees a little bit. We need to make sure not to overdo it with the walking. So the busses and metro in Rome have been a perfect way for us to get around.

sandrac said...

Beautiful photos, Anne -- I envy you playing in the fountain. I'm going to miss seeing Rome with you; but can't wait for what's next!

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