Just Traveling Thru
Arrival Hall Leonardo da Vinci Airport
Here we are in the Leonardo Da Vinci Airport soon
after our arrival. We had previously arranged for a "car for hire" rather than use a taxi to
Rome, as they are very expensive.
Our "car for hire" driver was very good with Rome directions - our apartment rental was on a very narrow one way street, and our driver quickly went around the block so that he could take us as close as he could to the apartment building entrance.
Arrival at our Condo Rental
We had rented a condo, very near to the Vatican, here we are just after we arrived. This
accommodation turned out to be in a great location - close to the Vatican, close
to the Tiber River and transportation of various types was accessible. It was also
quite large, clean and comfortable.
It is important to remember that this trip was prior to the proliferation of mapping software found on mobile telephones, etc. In other words, we are still glad that a "local" drove us to this rental because it was not easy to find and it was on a one way street that made getting there not straight forward!
Jet Lag has set-in!
Chelsea attempting to find something in her backpack , even though she is jet-lagged! It is just
crazy how jet lag makes even the smallest task seem more difficult. Did I mention that it will
"wear off" after a couple of days?
We followed our own advice; "On arrival, stay awake until an early local bedtime". If you doze off at 4 p.m. and wake up at midnight, you've accomplished nothing. Plan a good walk or exploration until early evening. Jet lag hates fresh air, daylight, and exercise. Your body may beg for sleep, but stand firm: Refuse.
Here is the street in front of our condo, see how narrow it is and yet cars are parked everywhere? This is a typical parking scenario in Italy, and it makes you realize why scooters and bicycles are so popular!
Parking anywhere in Rome is a challenge, especially so in this neighborhood (this close to the Vatican) parking is way beyond difficult. There are a number of parking garages scattered around the area, but we had made the decision to not drive in Rome.
Due to the size of Rome (496 square miles) and in consideration of the enormous amount of historical and cultural locations in the city, it would be to your benefit to consider doing some in depth reading on what is there to be seen, how to get there, and how to move on to the next site. There are a number of books out there, here is one of them.
There are a wide variety of ways you could utilize to explore Rome, ie;
- Take a Vespa Tour Around Rome
- Walk Around Central Rome
- Explore Rome by Bike
- Discover the City with a Roma Pass
- Eat Your Way Through Trastevere
- See the Eternal City from Above
- Hop-on Hop-off Bus Sightseeing Tour of Rome
- Rome by Segway
- Rome Public Transportation; Buses & Metro
This is the Hadrian Masoleum, later
called Castel Sant'Angelo. Built between 134 and 139 AD, and meant
to be Hadrian's burial site. Originally the mausoleum was a decorated cylinder, with a garden top
and golden quadriga.
Hadrian's ashes were placed here a year after his death in Baiae in 138, together with those of his wife Sabina, and his first adopted son, Lucius Aelius, who also died in 138 AD.
Castel Sant'Angelo from the Vatican side of the River Tiber
The popes converted the structure into a castle, beginning in the 14th century; Pope
Nicholas III connected the castle to St Peter's Basilica by a covered fortified corridor
called the Passetto di Borgo. The fortress was the refuge of Pope Clement VII from the
siege of Charles V's Landsknechte during the Sack of Rome (1527), in which Benvenuto
Cellini describes strolling the ramparts and shooting enemy soldiers.
Click here to read more about this historic building.
St. Angelo Bridge
Ponte Sant'Angelo, originally the Aelian Bridge or Pons Aelius, is a Roman bridge completed in 134 AD by Roman Emperor Hadrian, to span the Tiber from the city centre to his newly constructed mausoleum, now the towering Castel Sant'Angelo. The bridge is faced with travertine marble and spans the Tiber with five arches, three of which are Roman; it was approached by means of ramp from the river. The bridge is now solely pedestrian, and provides a scenic view of Castel Sant'Angelo. It links the rioni of Ponte (which was named after the bridge itself), and Borgo, to whom the bridge administratively belongs.
Castel Sant'Angelo Treasury Room
Hadrian's ashes were placed here a year after his death in Baiae in 138, together with those of his wife Sabina, and his first adopted son, Lucius Aelius, who died in 138. Following this, the remains of succeeding emperors were also placed here, the last recorded deposition being Caracalla in 217. The urns containing these ashes were probably placed in what is now known as the Treasury room deep within the building.
Vatican view from the Borgo Vittorio
A good view of the Vatican from the Borgo Vittorio, nearly a straight run from our condo to the
This area has everything you could possibly be looking for; super markets, restaurants, shops of all varieties, etc. In fact, we had a great pasta meal at Ristorante Da Marcello, discovered as we walked on the Borgo Pio headed back to our condo.
St. Peter's Dome view from the Borgo Vittorio
Because we were so near to the Vatican, there were numerous photo opportunities in that section
of the City.
You may not be aware, but St. Peter's Dome is not the largest dome in Italy. That honor goes to the Santa Maria del Fiore in Florence, which is the largest brick & mortar dome in the entire world.
St. Peter's Dome
We discovered a way to walk up to the top of the dome. This walkway winds around the dome, all the
way up to the top and then there is an opening directly over St. Peter's vault. We got a much
better view of the vault than the people below!
The first part of the ascent is comprised of 231 steps, and it's NOT strenuous, exhausting or claustrophobic. The second part is comprised of 320 stairs to the tippy top. The views from the top make this climb worth the effort!
Top of St. Peter's Dome
Once we reached the top of the Dome, we noticed that you could walk out onto a viewing platform and get a great photo looking back towards the city of Rome. You have to remember that the Vatican is it's "own city" and not a part of Rome. That is St. Peter's Square below us and the Tiber River is in the distance.
The Colosseum Security wore Roman Army Uniforms
The Security guys were all dressed as Roman Soldiers and they were everywhere around the Colosseum, and this one has just noticed that our son Jeremy has on a Milan Soccer Team shirt. Obviously, this guy is not a Milano fan. We read later that there were also numerous "plain clothes" security as well, but of course we never saw any.
Click here to view the Roman Army Wiki page which will provide you with the history and evolution of this big part of Roman History.
Ancient City Of Rome
It is immediately to the north of the Colosseum. There isn't much left there
except for ruins, but you can get a feel for what this city must have looked like 2,000 years ago! As you
look about at these buildings, keep in mind that most were constructed during Caesar Augustus's reign. Augustus
was Rome's first Emperor and he established a standing Roman army, a network of roads, and rebuilt much
of the city of Rome.
On his deathbed, Augustus boasted "I found a Rome of bricks; I leave to you one of marble." Although there is some truth in the literal meaning of this, Cassius Dio asserts that it was a metaphor for the Empire's strength. Marble could be found in buildings of Rome before Augustus, but it was not extensively used as a building material until the reign of Augustus.
Colosseum Arena Floor
The arena floor was originally made of wood, and as can be seen, has long since deteriorated. The Roman
architects created elevators to move things back and forth from below the surface to the storage
areas below the Colosseum. These elevators were obviously rope-pulls, but they were the first
elevators in the world.
The steps of St. Peter's in Rome are made of reused Colosseum stones. The outer wall of the Colosseum is estimated to have required over 100,000 cubic meters (3,531,466 ft) of travertine stone which were set, without mortar, and held together by 300 tons of iron clamps. It has been calculated that 300 tons of metal were used just for the clamps. This metal was plundered during the Middle Ages to make weapons. The holes where the iron clamps once were can now be seen throughout the whole structure of the Colosseum.
The security guards were everywhere, attempting to prevent anyone from defacing the Colisuem.
See the sign SPQR? That is an initialism of a phrase in Latin: Senātus Populusque Rōmānus ("The Roman Senate and People", or more freely as "The Senate and People of Rome"; referring to the government of the ancient Roman Republic, and used as an official emblem of the modern-day.
Old City of Rome
From the north end of the old city, looking back towards
the Colosseum. The large multi-column building on the left, is the Temple of Portunus, built
between 80 and 120 BC.
The Temple of Portunus or Temple of Fortuna Virilis ("manly fortune") is one of the best preserved of all Roman temples. Its dedication remains unclear, as ancient sources mention several temples in this area of Rome, without saying enough to make it clear which this is. It was called the Temple of Fortuna Virilis from the Renaissance, and remains better known by this name. If dedicated to Portunus, the god of keys, doors and livestock, and so granaries, it is the main temple dedicated to the god in the city.
The Arch of Constantine
The Arch of Constantine is a triumphal arch in Rome dedicated to the emperor Constantine the
Great. The arch was commissioned by the Roman Senate to commemorate Constantine’s victory
over Maxentius at the Battle of Milvian Bridge in AD 312. Situated between the Colosseum and
the Palatine Hill, the arch spans the Via triumphalis, the route taken by victorious military
leaders when they entered the city in a triumphal procession. Dedicated in 315, it is the
largest Roman triumphal arch, with overall dimensions of 21 meters high, 25.9 meters wide
and 7.4 meters deep. It has three bays, the central one being 11.5 meters high and 6.5 meters
wide and the laterals 7.4 meters by 3.4 meters each. The arch is constructed of brick-faced concrete
reveted in marble.
The largest triumphal arch in the world is the Arch de Triomphe, commissioned by Napoléon I to commemorate his military conquests. Architect Jean François Thérèse Chalgrin’s creation is twice the size of the ancient Roman Arch of Constantine after which it is modeled.
A fountain in the Trevi district in
Rome, Italy, designed by Italian architect Nicola Salvi and completed by Pietro Bracci.
Standing 26.3 metres (86 ft) high and 49.15 metres (161.3 ft) wide, it is the largest Baroque
fountain in the city and one of the most famous fountains in the world.
The fountain is at the junction of three roads and marks the terminal point of the "modern" Acqua Vergine, the revived Aqua Virgo, one of the aqueducts that supplied water to ancient Rome. In 19 BC, supposedly with the help of a virgin, Roman technicians located a source of pure water some 8.1 miles from the city. (This scene is presented on the present fountain's façade.) However, the eventual indirect route of the aqueduct made its length approximately 14 miles.
How to get to Trevi Fountain from the Vatican
- Walk: via Via dei Coronari, the distance between Vatican and Trevi Fountain is 1.7 kilometers and requires approximately 22 minutes.
- Bus: Bus departing from Principe Eugenio/Manzoni and arriving at S. Claudio. Bus departs hourly, and operates every day.
- Metro: Subway costs $2 and takes 12 minutes.
- Taxi: Costs range from $9 to $12 and requires 6 minutes.
- Walking Map: Click here to view
Walking up the path through the gardens, to the Borghese residence
Villa Borghese is a landscape garden in the naturalistic English manner in Rome, containing a number of buildings, museums and attractions. It is the third largest public park in Rome (80 hectares or 197.7 acres) after the ones of the Villa Doria Pamphili and Villa Ada. The gardens were developed for the Villa Borghese Pinciana ("Borghese villa on the Pincian Hill"), built by the architect Flaminio Ponzio, developing sketches by Scipione Borghese, who used it as a villa suburbana, a party villa, at the edge of Rome, and to house his art collection. The gardens as they are now were remade in the early nineteenth century.
Click here to go to the Wiki Page.
The Spanish Steps
(Italian: Scalinata di Trinità dei Monti) are a set of steps in Rome, Italy,
climbing a steep slope between the Piazza di Spagna at the base and Piazza Trinità dei Monti,
dominated by the Trinità dei Monti church at the top.
The monumental stairway of 135 steps (the slightly elevated drainage system is often mistaken for the first step) was built with French diplomat Étienne Gueffier’s bequeathed funds of 20,000 scudi, in 1723–1725, linking the Bourbon Spanish Embassy, and the Trinità dei Monti church that was under the patronage of the Bourbon kings of France, both located above — to the Holy See in Palazzo Monaldeschi located below. The stairway was designed by architects Francesco de Sanctis and Alessandro Specchi.
After exploring Rome, we took the train to Florence. The train systems in Europe are so comfortable and cost-effective, that it would have been foolish to have rented a car to make this trip. Click here to return to our Italy Trip Page.