Italian Photo Explosion 2

Next up: days three and four of my Roman holiday. (See what I did there?) 😉

First up on day three we went to the Cappuccin Crypt, where there are several rooms ornately decorated with the bones of friars who died between 1528 and 1870. So creepy and weird and awesome. And, sadly, no photos allowed. Here’s the site, which does have photos.

Then we went to the Vatican, and we must have had perfect timing because there was no line to get in. Zero line. Apparently this never happens. Rick Steves wouldn’t believe it.

Cortile della Pigna (courtyard on the Vatican Museum grounds)

View from one of the museum’s windows.

“Laocoon” – a Greek statue that was lost for a thousand years, then unearthed near the Colosseum in 1506.

This Roman river god’s pose inspired Michelangelo’s “Adam” in the Sistine Chapel. (My illegal photo of that ceiling is a couple of posts back.)

The Belvedere Torso, all that’s left of an ancient statue of Hercules. Apparently Michelangelo would touch it for inspiration. This might be my favorite photo of the whole trip. Look how the light hits it!

Mosaics on the floors…

… and I couldn’t stop looking at the ceilings.

Another ceiling.

The ceiling in the Map Gallery.

Vatican City, with St. Peter’s in the background. Michelangelo built that dome.

The staircase to leave.

After lunch and a stop to buy some insoles for my shoes (by this day my feet were hurting, y’all), we rounded the corner to see St. Peter’s Basilica. There is no way any photo could ever do it justice. This church is like the Christianity mother ship.

St. Peter’s Square, the obelisk and the basilica. (Ha! I just noticed the face that kid is making.)

Michelangelo’s “Pieta,” his only signed work. It’s behind bulletproof glass because some nut job tried to deface it back in the ’70s. (Sorry for the dark. The lighter one came out way blurry.)

The altar, under which is the tomb of Peter himself. He came to Rome after Jesus’ death to continue to spread the word. Emperor Nero didn’t like that, so Peter was crucified. His crucifixion site is a little ways left of the altar. This whole place was built around Peter’s resting place. At the time of Peter’s death, it was the site of Nero’s Circus.

Baptismal fountain.

Part of Bernini’s colonnade, topped with 140 statues of saints.

The obelisk, colonnade and, in the back, the papal apartments.

The next day, Sunday, most things were closed, but the Colosseum was open again so that’s where we started.

This whole thing was once covered in marble. When everyone made the old switcheroo to Christianity, they removed the marble to use in St. Peter’s Basilica. Waste not, want not, I guess.

Second level, looking in. That platform shows where the false floor was across the whole thing.

A closer look at the insides. Gladiators, animals and prisoners (criminals and Christians) were held here and then popped up through trap doors in the false floor when it was their turn to fight/die.

One of the interior archways.

One of the exterior archways.

There are a bunch more photos of this, but they all look the same. It started raining so we went back to our apartment for a nap, and then decided to brave the rain and see the Museum of Imperial Forums.

The museum is in Trajan’s Market, which was basically Rome’s shopping mall during the emperor’s day.

Pieces from Trajan’s and other emperors’ forums are positioned to show how they would have looked when they were built.

From the outside you can see the exterior of Trajan’s Market (on the right) and the ruins of his forum (on the left), including a remaining bit of the floor.

More of Trajan’s Forum ruins. Mussolini had that street at the top built and a lot of ancient stuff was ruined in the process, so unfortunately we have to just imagine the way the emperor’s forums (which were all right next to each other) stretched across and all the way down to near the Temple of Venus and Roma.

On a lighter note, we ended almost every night this way. Gelato!

Only two more days to go! Lots of pretty beach pictures coming up. Stay tuned!

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