By now those who have read my earlier posts on Rome know that I was smitten. The history, ancient ruins and towering monuments called to me at every turn. I could have easily spent a month here, diving deeper into all she offered. Our week slipped by quickly and we left the city on a rainy pre-dawn with the news that a couple of earthquakes had hit nearby Umbria and Marched, areas that had been hit two months earlier, resulting in the loss of 300 lives. This was a solid reminder that, although we spent our week walking streets littered with evocative ruins that have stood the test of time, Mother Nature can wreak havoc in the blink of an eye.
As we walk away from our time in Italy, I leave you with a few more sights to consider should you find yourself in romantic Roma.
Rome’s first Christian church, built in A.D. 318 by Constantine, the first Christian emperor, was the Church of San Giovanni in Laterano. It was the most important church during medieval times and today is the home church of the Bishop of Rome, the pope. This church was the model for all those to follow, even St. Peter’s Basilica. Her tall green bronze doors once greeted those entering Rome’s Senate House in the Forum.
Directly across the street from the Church of San Giovanni in Laterano are the Holy Stairs, sacred steps taken from the home of Pontius Pilate in Jerusalem, believed to be those that Jesus climbed on the day he was sentenced to death. Today it is the place where those seeking atonement climb on their knees, reciting prayers. These steps lead to the “Holy of Holies”, the private chapel of the popes in the Middle Ages, still used today. For those who want to save themselves from aching knees, a separate set of stairs can be walked.
Down the street from the Colosseum sits a large multiplex of ruins, thought to be the world’s oldest shopping mall. Trajan’s Market, built in A.D. 100 was part mall, warehouse, and a series of government offices.
The first monument we saw as our driver carried us across the city to our apartment was the Victor Emmanuel Monument, hard to miss as it rises skyward 230 feet and spans 443 feet. If its size didn’t capture your attention, its stark-white marble in a sea of surrounding earth-tone ruins certainly will. This massive shrine celebrates Italy’s unification and honor’s her first king. The 43-foot statue of Victor Emmanuel sitting proudly on his horse is one of the largest equestrian statues in the world. At the base is the museum of Italian Unification and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, with the eternal flame. A lift was added in 2007, allowing all who visit to breathe in sweeping views of Rome. For all of its grandeur, many locals consider it to be ostentatious.
We awoke to rain our last day in Rome, and although the Borghese Gallery is best seen on a sunny day, as this villa turned museum is set amid lovely gardens, we had no choice but to brave the weather. The opulence-loving Borghese family commissioned all the artwork, which still stands in the rooms for which they were originally intended. Beautiful frescoes and marble add to the grandeur.
The cardinal who commissioned the artwork was controversial as he wasn’t religious. But nepotism was alive and thriving in the 17th-century so being a nephew of the pope put him on the fast track to being a cardinal. It’s hard to believe that this family of religious figures introduced so much artwork laced with erotic themes but they felt that all forms of human expression celebrated God.
Our final week in Rome was spent in a beautifully appointed apartment in the bohemian neighborhood of Trastevere, a delightful place to wander. Our favorite restaurant became Cajo & Gajo, which we frequented three times, for its food, atmosphere, the yummy homemade biscuits and limoncello served after a meal, and the lovely young waitstaff.
Our time in Italy may have ended but so many wonderful memories remain.
16 thoughts on “Rome ~ The Final Chapter”
We loved both Trastevere and the Borghese, but I didn’t fall in love with Rome the way I did with Paris or Venice.
Paris and Venice were certainly in our top 5.
I feel as though our few days in Rome were a chaotic glimpse compare to your in-depth experience LuAnn. Italy has an an addictive air. Your posts have been a pleasure to journey along with. I admit they have stirred up some Italian wanderlust.
I was actually surprised when I started to do some writing that we have covered so much ground in Rome. Italy is definitely one of those places I could return to.
Beautiful series LuAnn! I haven’t been to Rome in years and now you’ve got me itching to go back. Your Europe posts have been extraordinary. 😌
You have had a marvelous trip! Thank you for sharing your wonderful pictures and thoughts. Such grand memories.
Yes we did Gale.
What an amazing trip! Thanks for sharing the beauty you found:) You certainly have so many fond memories to carry with you.
My pleasure Pam. It was definitely a very special trip.
It is astounding to think of all the ancient history that’s incorporated in Rome: the politics, betrayals and conquests, the artistry and architecture and the sheer passion for beauty that your photos show. I can well understand why you were smitten and you have me thinking that a month’s visit might be something well worth doing. Here’s to more travels in 2017! Anita
I could definitely entertain myself for a month in Rome. Here’s to lots of grand adventures for us all in 2017.
Rome had been on my bucket list for a very long time. Im glad you took us with you on your tour despite the inclement weather. I think that a visit in that part of the world takes months not only to sightsee but also learn ancient history. We are learning from your tour, and one day we might just take the plunge and jet over there. I appreciate all your great photos and showing us around, LuAnn.
Wishing you and Terry a great year ahead, with more travels and adventure.
Rome is a great city to explore. Happy New Year to you and Steve. We hope you have many great adventures in 2017.
Every time I read about Rome, I find another place that I missed last time I went! I’ve see the Holy Stairs on TV but I completely forgot about going to see them when I went to Rome last year… there’s always one more thing 🙂
Sounds like a return trip may be in order. 🙂