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All Roads Lead to Roma June 18, 2011

Posted by Joseph Mattingly in Travel Log.
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Friends, Romans, countrymen–lend me your ears!  For everyone wondering why I didn’t make this post in Venice, and also for those who didn’t, it is because Venice most decidedly has one of the worst communications infrastructures on the planet.  (Sorry folks, no postcards.)  Rome has definitely been the most interesting part of the trip thus far because of its *minor* historical significance as the cradle of western civilization and the fact that the Romans revolutionized engineering (see previous post).  So let’s just say I was excited to go to Rome.

It was in Rome that I came to the realization that the things I like about Italian food may not, in fact, be Italian.  I was thoroughly confuddled by the lack of anything alfredo with anything on any of the menus in any of the restaurants.  All the pastas and all the pizzas seemed to include a certain pomodori ingredient.  That means tomato, a flavor I find repulsive.  This made Italy significantly less exciting for me and significantly more so for everyone else.  Enough of that, though.

Our first day in Rome, we discovered the Pantheon, a magnificent piece of Roman art and engineering that fell into the hands of the Pope before it fell into the hands of history.  Instead of standing a magnificent marble-clad building with a grand bronze dome and magnificent Roman statues, the Pantheon is now a large hunk of concrete gutted of its proper interior and refitted to be a Catholic worship space and the eternal resting place of the artist Raphael.  We also went to the Borghese Gallery, a Cardinal’s house (seeing a trend yet?) turned art museum with some very famous statues and a very big (several acres), very nice front yard.

The next day, we made the journey to the Vatican City, which consequently is the first country we haven’t vanquished in a war yet, to visit the Vatican museum and St. Peter’s Basilica.  (Catholic-ness for the win!)  To put it bluntly, the Holy See is loaded.  Its interior walls and ceilings are painted by all the great artists and the rest of the empty space is filled with sculpture and such that might best be described as highly sought-after.  On top of that, St. Peter’s, which clocks in at the biggest Catholic church in the world, is a magnificent piece of art dripping in fine carving and gold leaf.  It was quite visually spectacular.

The last day in Rome was dedicated to the Roman ruins, the obvious thing to do when in Rome.  Our first journey was to the Coliseum, which was quite exciting to see.  I was quite shocked, however, at its size; I was expecting a ruin exceedingly massive.  Indeed, the Coliseum is massive, but it could probably still fit comfortably inside Bobby Dodd (or for the folks back in the homeland, the KFC Yum! Center).  Right across the street was the ruins of the Roman forum area.  As we ventured through the massive complex, we saw what remained of the Temple of Romulus (later converted into, you guessed it, a church), the forum, and the curia (home of the Senate and place of expiration for Gaius Julius Caesar).  It was a fantastic way to spend the morning, but I would really have liked to see the remains of the circus maximus and Via Appia (in true nerd form), but nobody else seemed to share that sentiment.

 So it sounds like I’ll have to go back to Rome again at some point in my life, but the first experience was definitely a great one.  I’ll post Venice in a day or two, so stay tuned for more exciting stories!  Ciao.

When in Rome, take lots of pictures of Roman ruins.

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Comments»

1. Paula Mattingly - June 19, 2011

Plus you must go back to Italy to get your soccer shirt!

2. Baba - June 19, 2011

I’d go back to see the the ruins of the Via Appia and circus maximus. Guess I can think in true nerd form also.


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