Monday, May 18, 2009

Vaticano e Trevi

Today was dedicated to the investigation of Citta Del Vaticano. We toured Basilica di San Pietro (St. Peter's Bascilica) on our own, and then we joined a tour group.

I learned a lot today--for instance, did you know that the term vatican has no actual religious meaning? It just so happens that the center of the Roman Catholic Church was built upon the Vatican Hills. Thus the name...

And did you know that the Vatican is guarded by the Swiss Guard? Well it is--but why do they wear those funny uniforms? No, I'm really asking, why do they where them??? I really want to know!

Did you know the Vatican is a city/state? And that they have their own postal service and banking system? Some of you may actually get postcards from a Vatican Post Office. IF the US postal service delivers it without a zipcode--oops! Did you also know that they have their own money--but the money is in the form of collector coins and can't actually be used?

We found it very interesting that people seemed to enjoy taking photos of the deceased Popes who were laying in repose in St. Peter's Bascilica. I enjoyed the sculpture and the frescos, but I can do without photos of the deceased.

I can't imagine how many people and how many hours went into the creation of these famous structures. Simply impressive. Although, to be honest--I enjoyed the works by Raphael more than I enjoyed the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. Sorry, but true. Maybe it was because it was crowded in there, and uncomfortable looking at the ceiling for any length of time. Or maybe it was because our guide shared interesting commentary about Raphael, and I enjoyed picking out the details he described. No offense, Michelangelo!

After leaving the Vatican, we took a taxi through Trastevere and over the Tiber River. Our next stop was the Pantheon.

We had been to the Pantheon before, but for some reason, we always arrive just as it's closing. So today we made it in time to go in and see the oculus. The Pantheon is especially impressive when you realize that the dome was constructed without the use of scaffolding. The builders used rock-climbing ropes. Sounds dangerous to me!

And the oculus is so cool! Does anyone know if it's really true that rain never falls through the opening because of the updrafts? I wish it had rained today so I could witness that!

We finally made it to Trevi Fountain today. It was certainly a spectacle! I can't believe the hordes of people who just sit around and enjoy the sights. It was certainly a great place for people watching. And we topped off the day with a gelato from our favorite gelataria. And for those of you who were wondering... I counted 109 flavors of gelato. I hope I didn't miss any...


Copyright 2009 Those Crazy Beans
Wordpress by WP Themes Creator