Tuesday, November 18, 2008
Rome was one of the coolest cities that I have been to so far. It's hard to compare to some of my other favorites like Dublin and Cinque Terre because those were just beautiful and fun cities, whereas Rome was more of constant sight seeing.
The first day I was there we took a tour of the Colosseum. It was crazy just standing there and thinking about a stadium packed full of people watching prisoners and animals fight to the death. I learned a lot of cool stuff, such as how sometimes they would flood the fighting arena and bring in small boats and re-create famous sea battles. After this we kind of hung out outside of the Colosseum to watch the sun set, which was beautiful to watch over the Colosseum. We went out to dinner and got to bed early, as I was exhausted from waking up at 4:30 am for my flight.
The next day we woke up really early to catch a 3.5 hour tour of the Vatican. The Vatican museum was pretty amazing, they had a lot of cool paintings from artists such as Raphael, Da Vinci, and Caravaggio. The tour ended in the Sistine Chapel, which was a lot smaller than I thought it was going to be. The ceiling was pretty awe inspiring, as was the Last Judgement, but I found it a pretty unpleasant place to be in. People were constantly trying to take pictures and talk, both of which were unallowed, resulting in security to literally yell "NO PICTURES" or "SHHHHHHH" every 10 or 15 seconds. It would be even more unpleasant if there were constantly talking and setting off flash photography, which kind of made me wonder why people can't just respect the rules and admire the artwork for a couple of minutes. Here you have a beautiful room covered in some of the most well known artwork in the world, and the whole aura of the room is ruined by yelling security guards. After the tour we walked briefly through St. Peter's Basilica, also amazing.
The next day we took a free tour of Palatine Hill and the Roman Forum. It was really interesting because I was talking to my dad afterwards and he was saying that he didn't find them that interesting when he was there, and that all it looked like was a bunch of ruins. It made me realize that you pretty much need a tour guide for these kinds of places to get the full effect. Because we had a tour guide, we got to see places such as where Julius Caesar was killed and where he was cremated. People to this day still but flowers over the spot where he was cremated!
That night was our last night in Rome, which turned out to be an excellent ending to our weekend because Andrea Bocelli was playing a free concert! I'm not much of an opera person, but hearing such a world renown singer perform live was incredible. He sang for almost two hours! I guess that we came on a good weekend, as apparantly he rarely does live performances let alone free ones!
All in all, Rome was one of my favorite places that I've been so far. It's just awesome how you can walk through a city and be surrounded by ruins of one of the most important civilizations in history. If you get a chance to go to Rome, take advantage of all of the tours that you can, it will make your experience there much more memorable!