|in the forum|
On Tuesday, we got into our hotel around 1:00. Nathaniel surprised me by being up to walking around all afternoon and evening. He took me on an obelisk tour, because you know I like Egyptian stuff.
On Wednesday we went to the Roman Forum, Colosseum, and Capitoline Museum. I was surprised by the lack of signs at the forum, but I really enjoyed it. We took our time (translation: Nathaniel followed me around for hours). We saw the Palatine Hill and house of Augustus, which we were allowed to go into to see the frescos. I was able to peek into the house of Livia, and the paintings in there looked incredible, but it wasn't open to the public and was hard to see. Everywhere I turned, I saw something from one of my old Latin or history books. Heaven! Then we headed onto the Colosseum.
On Thursday, we went to the Vatican. We bought tickets ahead of time so we could get in fast, and it really paid off. We got in before it's actually open, around 8:30, along with a lot of other people. But all of those other people went to one side, so we went to the other and had the entire Paintings gallery to ourselves. I mean, other than the security guards (who are understandibly placed in nearly every room) Nathaniel and I could view works by Raphael, Carravaggio, etc BY OURSELVES. And this was room after room after room. There was a tapestry room, too, with enourmous tapestries depicting Jesus's life. All of the paintings were from the twelfth through seventeenth centuries, and I recognized several, although I couldn't have told you who painted what most of the time without reading the labels.
Then we headed to the early Christian sarcophogus rooms, which we had to ourselves, too.
After those two galleries, we did encounter other people, but there were only a few places that were truly crowded (like the Sistine Chapel, of course, and the Map Room and Raphael Rooms). The Vatican Museums are amazingly huge and labyrinth-like. We spent several hours there, and then headed to St. Peter's Square.
|in front of St. Peter's Basilica (the square was partially blocked off due to preparations for the holy week masses that would be coming up the next week)|
We wandered through St. Peter's and then back onto the square. We went into a free exhibit on the history of the bible that had several old bibles and related artifacts on display, including a fragment from the Dead Sea Scrolls. One of the most interesting things in that exhibit was the biblical papyrus fragment found in a mummy case in Egypt.
I'm going to stop for now, but you can see how amazing Rome was!