Italy Day 6: Theatre of Pompey, Bruno, & of course back to the Victor Emmanuel Monument

April 22, 2012

I feel like singing "This is the travel post that never ends, it just goes on and on my friends. Some people started reading it thinking it would be short, but three months later they are still reading it because it never ends." How many pictures did I say I took again? I forget. But none the less, it was a lot. Let's start today by finishing up day 6 in Rome. We started off our day at the Castel San't Angelo and have trekked our way over to Piazza di Campo Dei Fiori to gawk a the statue of the ominous Giordano Bruno. But more about him in a minute. 
 First up a Madonella in Rome. If you remember these were put up to prevent crime. Apparently you don't want to sin with Mary looking at you. Supposedly it worked well.
 This was by far my most favorite wandering through back streets find, Director of the National Antimafia! Sweet!

 We heard there was another bone church in town that allowed visitors to take pictures, sadly it was Sunday and they weren't open. But they did have a really neat exterior.

 Some random fountain, looked like it was puking up water. I didn't choose to drink out of this one.
 Now for your dear ominous friend Giordano Bruno. Campo di Fiori is a lovely market, if you are ever in Rome I suggest you find it. They had everything you would expect from a great farmers market along with clothing and cooking vendors. There was one particular vendor who made hats, and they were the most awesome hats ever, but they were not the cheapest hats ever...hence I didn't come home with one. I did try some white truffle balsamic vinegar, heavenly. I could have drank the whole bottle. If you want to try a lot of different Limoncello flavors and don't intend to buy, this is the place to be. If someone offers you Grapa don't take it. I learned my lesson in Naples. In a search for "vino dulce" at a pastry shop one night I ended up with Grapa, which is essentially disel fuel. Just thinking of it burns my stomach. Turns out it isn't really wine at all, it is a grape based brandy. Consider yourself warned.  Hands down best street market in Rome.
 Isn't the statue of Bruno just creepy? He was a friar, who happened to be friends with Galileo, who was burned at the stake for being a heretic. I have heard that Galileo watch him be burned to death, which is interesting because supposedly Galileo wasn't sympathetic to him in his writings. This is yet again a prime example of what speaking against the Inquisition gets you. An interesting fact about Campo di Fiori is that there are no churches around it(so I am told), with Rome containing 900 churches you nearly hit one at every step. But in all the Romans loved to burn people alive here.
 What's that? Oh we just walked past the Pantheon again. I feel like we walked in circles the whole time, but you kind of have to to keep up with where you are.
Another Madonella. Once someone points them out to you, you see them everywhere. Before today I hadn't noticed a since one. 
Now for what I was most excited to see the Theatre of Pompey. Or better know as the place where Julius Caesar was assassinated. On the above picture on the platform is where he was killed. Of course at the time the place looked totally different. 
This place was not traditionally the Roman Senate, but at the time work was being done on the actual Senate building. The Senate just happened to be meeting here. 
At one point in time they let people tour this, but when we came it was not an option. 
Notice how ground level at the Theatre is much lower than the ground level in modern Rome? Like I said many posts ago, Italians thought ancient Rome was nothing interesting and rather junky, for years architects from across Europe just came by and tromped around the ruins and took pieces with them. 
Other than Ancient Rome just being torn down by random Europeans, the Italians also filled a lot of the area in with dirt. Archeologists today are still uncovering things, for instance if you look back at one of my first posts about Ancient Rome you will notice a lot of signage about Nero and a huge covered excavation site. 

There were a ton of cats at the Theatre of Pompey, somehow they all managed to escape the camera. Our group leader Elle (the professor who puts these awesome trips together) said the last time she was here that you could smell the cat pee before you even saw the site. Apparently that has been cleaned up a bit. 
It is so weird to be standing in places that were around before Christ was born and see modern day advertisements smack in the middle. When I heard we would be seeing ancient Rome I didn't mentally picture it being right in the midst of modern Rome. 

I am starting to think I went to Italy to tour the Victor Emmanuel Monument, I sure did go in there an awful lot. 
But then again, had I not gone in a billion times I wouldn't have found more cool things every time I went. The above and below pictures go together. This is the death mask of Giuseppe Mazzini. Is it too morbid that I think these things are cool?

A church inside the VE Monument, I swear the place is so huge you need a solid day to explore it. In two I am sure I still missed things. 

There is nothing historically interesting about this picture. We went to Italy at Christmas so of course you are going to see the manger scene everywhere...but why on earth is Jesus's family white and everyone else brown? 
Well this is all for today, it seriously took me two days to write this post. I have become such a blog slacker, considering we were to Italy in December this should be done by now ha!