Saturday, 18 June 2011

The man in the stripped Pyjama's

A chest infection and food poisoning is not the greatest way to start ones visit to Rome. Combine that with 30 degree temperatures and uncomfortable becomes your middle name. However, Rome is amazing. I prefer it to Paris personally. In Rome, no building can be built higher than the dome of St Peters, so it makes for a very pleasant sprawling city, rather than multitudes of high rise buildings.

Seeing the sights of Rome, one has the feeling of being on a movie set. A lot of ‘Angels and Demons’ was shot in Rome. Not sure how they got rid of the tourists though. The Spanish steps, so named because of the Spanish embassy round the corner, should be named ‘the Spanish conglomeration of people’. You can barely see the steps or the fountain for the bodies.

Trevi fountain is much the same. Trevi fountain is actually the end point of one of the aquaducts, rather than a fountain by itself. The pope didn't think the original was impressive enough, so they put Poseidon rising out of the sea with his men and water horses in tow. I’m thinking of putting one of the front of our house, but I think I might be over capitalising.

The Pantheon, not to be confused with the Parthenon, is one heck of an impressive building with one of the first domes ever built on a church. I still can’t get past the movie set thing though, as this was the site of the water element in Angels and Demons.

The Vatican, a city that actually doesn’t include St Peters square, is architecturally interesting. When you stand in a marked spot in the square (that’s actually a circle), the pillars round the outside look like a single pillar, but if you move from that spot you can see that the pillars are four deep.

Four Pillars

One Pillar

I also asked one of the Swiss guards at the Vatican if I could take his photo, you have to ask any military or police personal first in most countries. He was fine about it, so I have my photo of the man in the stripped pyjamas.

The colosseum and the Roman forum are both remains from Ancient roman times. Pillaging took the marble that used to coat the outside of the colosseum so all that’s left is the stone. Earthquakes have also damaged it so that newer brick re-enforcements have been made necessary. In the forum there is a building that was the home for the vestal virgins. Girls were taken from their home at the age of 5 to live for 30 years as a virgin in the temple. Their blood was so sacred that if they lost their virginity while there, they were buried alive to keep the blood in the body. It was a great honour for the family to have a vestal virgin daughter, perhaps not so much for the girl. 

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