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Rome! August 22, 2012

Posted by sesolomon in Travel Log.

Easily one of my favorite cities that we traveled to during the travel portion of the Oxford program was Rome, Italy.  Because of the hustle and bustle of this city, easily the best way to get around to all the historic sites was by foot, hence the need for TWO walking tours!  The first day, we walked to the Capitoline Hill (designed by Michelangelo), the Roman Forum (the historic hub of Roman government), and the Colosseum.  Having been to Rome before, I wasn’t expecting to be as awed by the ruins as I had been the first time.  How wrong I was!  Regardless of it being my second time around, I was still shocked at how incredible each of these historical sites were.  My favorite for this day was by far the Roman Colosseum.  Located a stone’s throw away from the Roman Forum, this arena staged brutal sporting events in which fights between men and sometimes animals were often to the death.  Quite different from our modern day football and basketball games!  The Colosseum had several different levels for spectators to view from and climbing up the giant sized stairs was exercise enough!  Once we got to the top, we were able to walk out into the viewing area and see the whole inside of the arena.  What really surprised me was that a building like this could survive for so many years and still be structurally sound.

The Roman Colosseum

The next day, we visited the Trevi Fountain and the Pantheon.  Finished in 1762, this fountain was used as an aqueduct by the ancient Romans.  It is said that if you throw a coin into the fountain, you will return to Rome.  As it worked for me the first time and I was enjoying the city my second go-round, I through a coin into the fountain hoping that I would revisit this historic city yet again.  The Pantheon was equally as impressive as the Colosseum with its large dome and circular obelisk.  We learned that this monument has the world’s largest unreinforced concrete dome and that the obelisk in the ceiling exposes the Pantheon to the elements.  However, the ancient Romans were smart and made the Pantheon floors slanted to the middle so that the rain water would drain and not flood the entire building.

The Trevi Fountain

The Pantheon

Pantheon Obelisk

The following day, our group toured Vatican City and St. Peter’s Basilica.  This beautiful sovereign city-state was absolutely packed with people making it slightly difficult to navigate through.  My favorite room in the Vatican was a long hallway that had gold-framed paintings illuminated on the ceiling.  The lighting and the beautiful colors of the painting gave it a very palatial feel and was absolutely breathtaking.  Equally as stunning was the Sistine Chapel painted by Michelangelo.  To think that one man spent virtually years of his life on one room simply blew my mind.  After spending a few awestruck minutes in the chapel, we exited the Vatican and proceeded to St. Peter’s Basilica.  The Basilica was equally as impressive as the Vatican.  Set in the middle of the huge St. Peter’s Square, the Basilica towers above and contains many important sculptures and works of architecture art.

My favorite room in the Vatican

St. Peter’s Basilica Altar

St. Peter’s Basilica

By far my favorite excursion in Rome actually happened to be a spur of the moment decision.  My roommate and I shared a room that was on the top floor of our hotel and which had access to the roof outside.  Several of my friends and I ventured out onto the roof and got to take in the beautiful country of Italy from on high.  Though not as tall or touristy as some famous viewing spots like the Eiffel Tower, this was definitely one of the highlights of the trip for me.

Roof in Rome!

All in all, my return to Rome was a huge success and I’m hoping my Trevi Fountain fortune will come true and I will someday return to this beautiful city!



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