This was our home for six wonderful days. For the first three nights, we were staying at the high class Universo Hotel with about half of the tour group. After they all left and we were footing the bill ourselves, we moved across the street to the Torino and saved ourselves a hundred bucks a night. We could drink a lot of wine and eat many meals for that.
We were two blocks from the Metro stop where the two lines intersect at the train terminal. With a seven day pass, we could see a lot of Rome.
My source for most of my Rome information is Judith Testa's excellent book "Rome is Love Spelled Backward". I will refer to her text liberally, and will cite it by JT### where ### is the page number of her book. I have emailed Judy about this posting, and I'm certain that eventually, her responses will gradually sharpen the correctness of my factual commentary with responses from my favorite Art Historian.
Our first tour was of the Vatican, and here we gathered and stood in line to enter. Below is the dome of St. Peter's which we will tour after going through the gallery and the Sistine Chapel.
This was Paulo, our guide in Rome. (Please correct my spelling of his name if necessary.)
The gallery is an extensive museum. One section has old maps of each section of Italy. It is truly remarkable how accurate those maps were. The one below is Sicily, of course, and really attests to the skills of the ancients in making accurate maps.
Above is the entrance of the the old part of the Vatican. There is a brand new entrance that was built just for the Jubilee, but Paulo said it's awful and we shouldn't photograph it. I'm not real sure what this is below and would appreciate email help.
Above, Paulo is explaining the painting of the Last Judgement which we will be viewing shortly. He didn't explain Michelangelo's Revenge, shown on the right. I photographed a bit of the copy -- we couldn't photograph anything in the Sistine Chapel.
The figure with the coiled snake is supposed to be the papal chamberlain named Biagio da Cesna, who criticized Michelangelo's figures because of their nudity. Here, his family jewels are clearly being feasted upon by the snake. The actual painting showed the figure a lot more clearly than this portion of the copy. (JT186.)
Another beautiful scene I can't identify.
We toured St. Peter's Basilica along with hundreds of other tourists. These two pictures here were taken on Monday morning when we returned to St. Peter's. Above is the famous Pieta by Michelangelo which is protected behind glass, and the one to the left is the interior from the back of the Basilica. I was not permitted to use my tripod, so in both pictures, I used my trusty bean bag. Fortunately, there were ledges all around the back that could hold my camera steadied on the bean bag.
I posted more interior pictures of St. Peter's in the next section.
Coming out of the Basilica, we saw St. Peter's Square.
This is the view of the front of St. Peter's from the square.
The guide made a huge deal of standing on a particular spot and seeing only one set of columns. It was simply the center point of the semicircle.
These are the living quarters of the Pope. It was said that every Wednesday morning, he waves to the throng in the square from second window from the right on the second story from the top.
We walked away from St. Peter's and crossed the Ponte S. Angelo bridge. This view is looking back at the Basilica.
Back from the bridge is a view of Castel S. Angelo. This began as a tomb, became a fortress, a prison, and then a papal apartment complex. Now it's a museum we didn't visit. (JT46)
Bernini's most famous fountain now resides in Piazza Navona. Called "The Four Rivers", it depicts a mythical source of the four great rivers, the Danube, Nile, Plate, and Ganges.
Note how the statue is full of holes. This makes it seem to be not so massive. Pope Innocent commissioned it and claimed its beauty added years to his life. It is described in JT227.
This is the amazing Pantheon. (JT42.) This incredible dome was built around 120 A.D. and the space inside is simply incredible. A hole right in the center and an ingenious draining system removes the water coming in from rain.
An entire chapter in Testa's book describes the history of the building and explains why it still exists today despite the damage and neglect that occurred during the barbarian occupancy in the dark ages. Nobody knows the genius architect that designed it.
An entire chapter of JT (242ff) is dedicated to this popular attraction, the Trevi Fountain. A furious squabble occurred in
1732 when the plan for the fountain revealed that its construction would ruin the view from the Conti family's view from their palace behind the fountain.
It finally took decisive action from Pope Clement XII who dedicated the entire width of Palazzo to the fountain. Some things never change!
Here we are in our Universo hotel room after a long day's touring. And what is Elaine reading? Judy's book, of course!
The S. Maria Maggiore church was only a few blocks from our hotel, and so that became our first visit. This is the view from the back, but from the front .
Inside, above the gold alter, are some of the oldest mosaics on record. Judy suggested having a pair of binoculars to see the intricate designs. We had'm!
I have enlarged the second panel from the top on the left.
Quotes Judy, "(In this) Adoration of the Magi, the Three Kings wear a standard Near Eastern article of clothing that would have seemed most curious to fifth-century Romans: trousers." Christ sits like an infant Roman emperor on a purple cushion of a Jewel encrusted throne. These are Torriti's mosaics which were executed between 432 and 440 under the patronage of Sixtus III. Elaine and I spent a long time looking at these.
Concert time. We all piled into our bus -- one of the last rides when we would all be together.
Above is the exterior of Chiesa di Sant' Ignazio. Below is the interior. For more interior pictures click here.
And here we all are between our rehearsal and our last concert. It's almost a sad occasion.
NEXT: Pictures from our Farewell Dinner.