Sunday, September 30, 2012

Italy Day 7: Catacombes & Last Night Outings

After leaving the Vatican we rushed to a late lunch and hopped on a bus to the Catacombe di San Callisto. They were a bit out of town and we couldn't take a lot of pictures, but it was a really cool experience. 
 What I found interesting about the site was that the oldest graves were closest to the ground surface. The deeper you got the newer the graves were. At the time they were burring people by continuing to dig downward and would lower people in to put in the new bodies. The stairs you take to get in and out of the Catacombes are not how people originally got in. They weren't installed until much later.






 The "newer" stairs, although I think they were put in sometime in the 3rd century.
 One of the original entrances where they would lower people in. This is why you want to travel with a history professor, Elle happened to know where this was and we walked out past the actual tour area to it.
 After getting back into town we headed towards the hotel and happened to pass our favorite gelato shop. Seriously we went several nights in a row, I could die very happily after eating their Tiramisu gelato.
 After resting for an hour and getting our fill of "free" wi-fi, everyone agreed we needed to hit the town before getting up early to come home. First stop...the Trevi Fountain. What is our Trevi count as of now? Who knows, I saw it more than my bed on this trip!
 This time though we did get to throw in coins. Being that Euros are so much more expensive we tossed American pennies...I'm sure it doesn't work the same way.
 The neighborhood around the Trevi is much more magical than it is during the day. It is hands down the most romantic place on earth, and something about the freezing cold make it that much more romantic. There were hazelnut vendors on every corner and Christmas lights everywhere. I could have given up everything and skipped our plane home to stay in Rome forever.
 When Jeremy wouldn't take a pic with me this random guy tried to take a picture of me, and not for free. Then Daniel jumped in, we were all a little silly at this point, but he definitely took the cake for goofball. And notice I said the Trevi was romantic, I didn't say I looked hot. I look like an American who was freezing to death and wearing every winter accessory she owns at once. Where on earth were my gloves?
 Finally ole JerBear jumped in. Too bad the lighting on our faces is so terrible.
 Hazelnuts! He was not happy I was taking photos and not buying anything, and that seems to be the Emily with a camera in Rome theme.

 Eventually after wandering shops and sampling every version of limoncello available we landed at Ciro & Ciro for the best fried food on the planet. Most of us go the sampler that had friend spaghetti, veggies, cheese, and a whole bunch of other things. Fatty food heaven!

 Before we officially gave in for the night and realized we had to sleep or would be more than miserable on flight we hit up the best gelato place on earth one last time.
Then we gave in and went home. And that makes the last post for Italy. Sad face.

Now I need to go back and do it again. Then again I just need to move there.

What is your most memorable trip? 

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Italy Day 7: The rest of the Vatican

Remember back in June when I said I'd finish the Italy posts? Yeah I totally blew that one didn't I. So let's try to get this sucker wrapped up, lots of photos and a little talking. 

Let's pick it back up at the Circular Hall in the Vatican. I left a bunch of pictures out, just because this is such a picture heavy trip. 
 Christina, our guide told us the Hercules bronze statue was struck by lightening and therefore decidedly cursed. The Romans buried it, and it wasn't recovered until years later. Funny enough, as Daniel was leaning on it we were told it was bad luck to even touch it!

 The floor in the Circular Hall looked 3D in person, the picture just doesn't do it justice.
 The goddess of fertility, if you rub her you supposedly will conceive...I intentionally stayed away.

 I can't remember the name of this piece of furniture, but it was used when the Vatican decided what they thought about Mary's immaculate conception.

 Lucky for me and my camera this was one of the few days in Rome that it didn't drizzle constantly. the lighting was beautiful.

 Outside of St. Peter's. We weren't able to take pics in the Sistine Chapel. I know sad face. It was absolutely beautiful.


 The door the pope only walks out of every 25 years. I swear being Baptist and visiting a Catholic nation is very interesting. I love random historical facts, and Rome wasn't short on those at all.

 Inside St. Peter's.







 It was very crowded in St Peter's and the closer you got to his statue and tomb the more claustrophobic it felt. Which is a strange feeling to have in such a large place. If I remember right St. Peter's is the tallest building in Rome and no other cathedrals are allowed to be larger then St. Peter's.

 It was having some sort of renovation done so I didn't get a great picture, but I got a picture none the less. It seems like at some point people were allowed to get closer than this, at least that is what our guide said.




 People make a pilgrimage out of coming to the Vatican just to see the stature of Peter. There is supposed some luck or blessing that comes from rubbing his feet, and as you can tell from how worn down they are...his feet have been rubbed a lot. I stood here several minutes taking pictures trying to get one of it without people touching it and this was the best I could get.

 Pieta' is seriously the most amazing statue to look at in person. This is the only statue Michaelangelo carved before being sponsored or paid for it. He even carved his name into Mary's belt(sash), and it seems like Christina said this is the only statue he has carved his name into.
 You can enlarge the picture above to read it better, I just added it in case anyone was interested.

When he carved Pieta' he intentionally made Mary larger than Jesus to show a mother's love for her child, and Mary's love for Christ in particular. If you look really close you can see his named carved in the belt that crosses her chest.

 The Swiss Guard. I didn't realize it but you have to actually be from Switzerland to serve in the Guard at the Vatican. 




 Our little group standing outside talking to Christina about random Vatican things. She was absolutely awesome, we had her with us every day that we were in Rome and it was so sad to leave her.


 Another Modenalla outside in Vatican City, because everyone behaves when Mary and baby Jesus are watching. No seriously, they put these up to cut down on crime ha!
Last but not least the balcony the Pope addresses everyone from no Tuesdays. 

That's not all...we still have to wade though the Catacombs. I told you guys forever ago, I took a lot of pictures. 
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