Sorry for such the long wait! I didn't really have anything to write in the week after I returned from Scotland, so I thought I would wait until I returned from my trip to Rome! We spent 4 days and 3 nights in Rome, seeing anything and everything humanly possible in our little time there! So here are the tales from my adventure in Rome - even I still can't believe that we managed to do all these things in 4 days!
So the first day when we got there we went straight to the Catacombs. The Catacombs stretch for 8 kilometers (or about 5 miles) all walls upon walls full of dead from the Greco-Roman era. I have to say that it was especially unnerving walking past these stacked tombs, some of which still contained the bones of those deceased. It was cool and damp and very dark. Seriously one of the spookiest places I have ever been. After that we went straight to the Vatican! In the Vatican Museums we saw multiple works of art from ancient Roman times like the Laocoon (pictured above), masterpieces by Raphael and his school of Athens, and the Sistine Chapel by Michelangelo! The Sistine Chapel is so much bigger than I ever imagined, and so much more incredible and magnificent than any picture can do justice (I managed to snap a photo - shown below!). Then we visited St. Peter's Basilica where I got the privilege to see Michelangelo's Pieta - it is beautiful and perfect in every way possible. After St. Peter's we were free to do whatever we wanted in the evening, so we found a wonderful little restaurant where we got pizza and wine - the perfect end to a long day.
The next day, we got up early to visit the Colosseum! First we got to go out onto the rebuilt stage and enter the Colosseum as a gladiator would. It was mind-blowing to know that I was standing in a place where so many gladiators, animals, and even Christians lost their lives so many years ago. Once we took enough pictures we went DOWN BELOW THE STAGE!!! Thanks to my mom insistently telling me that I should look into going down there because it had just opened to the public for the very first time, we went! It was INCREDIBLE (see pic below)!!! Being down where the gladiators and animals were basically kept prisoner until they were sent above to their imminent death was mind-blowing. It is extraordinarily untouched and yet so well preserved. Then we got to go up onto the third tier of the Colosseum to where the women would have watched from. And of course that was where the best views of all were! After exhausting our time in the Colosseum, we went and saw Palatine Hill, the Forum, and Capitoline Hill, which were all just as fantastic as the Colosseum. After that we got some time to ourselves where a group of us went to the Trevi Fountain and made a wish! We also went to a creepy church that had chapels made out of human bones (that was more unnerving and creepy than the Catacombs were), and we went to the church where Bernini's St. Theresa in Ecstasy is. That sculpture is truly one of a kind. Thhhheeeennnn we met up with our professors again to visit the Pantheon, the church where Michelangelo's Risen Christ is kept, and another church that has a chapel with wood panels decorated by Caravaggio! It was a truly fantastic evening ended with the best gelato I have ever had yet in Italy!
The next day we went to the Villa Farnesina where we saw some works done by Raphael and his students, which were pretty awesome I might add! Directly after that, we went to Castel Sant'Angelo - those of you who have read and/or seen Angels and Demons, would remember that this is the castle the popes escape to when their lives are in danger. The view from up there was spectacular and the archangel on top is definitely worth seeing (pictured below!). We had a break for the afternoon where we got to do some exploring and eating lunch before we met up with the group again to visit San Clemente (a church built on top of two Mythras temples). THEN we visited the Capitoline Museums to see the greatest collection of ancient artwork in the entire world. It was an incredibly long day! And yes, I still can't believe we did all that!
Sunday we visited Palazzo Massimo, which also has a wonderful collection of ancient art. We also visited the Baths of Diocletian and did a little shopping before we went to the Villa Borhese which holds several works by Caravaggio and the very best of Bernini's sculptures, my favorite of which being his Daphne and Apollo. We weren't allowed to take pictures so sadly the picture below is not my own :( Rome was incredible and it stands as my favorite city that we have yet visited - yes, I even like it more than Florence. My eyes were always kept busy and we saw SO MUCH in such a short amount of time! Even though it was tiring, I wouldn't change a thing about it. Anyways, friends and family, sorry to have kept you waiting so long for an update! Know that you are all loved dearly and that I look forward to seeing you very soon! Heck, it's November already! Oh yeah, and I am officially 29 days away from seeing Mom and Grandma in the Florence airport!!! Love you all very VERY much!