Saturday, January 12, 2008

Trip to Rome

I spent my recent vacation in Rome and Barcelona. Because of the winter, we wanted to go somewhere south in Europe and it being Christmas time, Rome was our first choice. We also chose Barcelona so that we could spend some time at the Beach.Our first stop was Rome.
Without getting into the details of logistics, I will write about the main places we visited.
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Vatican City - A trip to Rome cannot be complete without going to Vatican city. The smallest soverign state in the world, this is the seat of the Pope. There are 2 main places to visit inside Vatican city:
1. St. Peters Basilica - This is perhaps the holiest place for Christians. This is built on the burial site of St Peters, one of the 12 apostles of Jesus and who according to legend was entrusted with the task of expanding Christianity. This is where the Pope performs the Christmas midnight mass and we were lucky to witness that. This was once in a lifetime moment for us. Inside this basilica, you can see many of the famous Christianity related historical sculptures and frescoes by Michelangelo, Da Vinci, Raphel and others. The most famous work inside this basilica is "Pieta" by Michelangelo, a sculpture of Mary holding Jesus after he was crucified.
2. Vatican Museum - This contains many famous works of art and sculpture which belong to the Roman Catholic Church. Sistine Chapel, which contains the world famous fresco, "Creation" by Michelangelo is enroute to the Vatican Museum. We were unlucky not to get inside the museum because of a 2km long waiting line :(
Fontana di Trevi(Trevi Fountain) - This is the most famous and largest of the fountains in Rome and legend has it that if you throw a coin in this fountain, you will return to Rome. It is huge and really beautiful.
Piazza di Spagna( Spanish square) - This is a really beautiful place to be in summers. Close to the main square is a set of steps called the Spanish steps which connect Piazza di Spagna with Piazza Trinita dei Monti. This is a must see spot in summers when you can see flowers lining these steps. We could not see the real beauty of the place is it was December
Colosseum - If you have seen the movie Gladiator, you must know about Colosseum. This is where the gladiators fought - with other gladiators and with animals. This place is now mostly damaged but can still hold your imagination if you stand inside it and imagine the battles that took place centuries ago
Monumento Nazionale a Vittorio Emanuele II (National Monument of victor Emmanuel II) - It is situated close to Piazza Venezia and is a monument to honour Victor Emmanuel, the first king of a unified Italy. It is built of pure white marble and features majestic stairways, tall columns, fountains, a huge equestrian sculpture of Victor Emmanuel and two statues of the goddess Victoria riding on quadrigas. This monument also has a museum which contains many artifacts related to World War 1 and Italy's military history
In general, Rome is a small city with friendly people and delicious pizzas. The city contains many fountains and squares and over 900 churches.If you are a lover of art and/or history, want to witness works of Reniassance period and Baroque style, Rome is a must visit place.

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