We got a pretty late start today because:
A) It’s my Birthday!!
B) My wonderful husband went out and got me coffee, Kahlua and a croissant for breakfast
C) It’s my birthday
D) I did some laundry
E) Did I mention that it was my Birthday!?!?!?
Finally on our way, we headed in the direction of the Pantheon, a 2000 year old temple that is now the Basilica di Santa Maria ad Martyres. However, the walk in Rome is never one dimensional and before we were even ten minutes in we had already stopped to take a number of pictures of ruins, churches, statues and buildings. Again, it is hard to describe everything that we see because block after block is picture worthy.
We arrived at the Pantheon and were amazed to see a fountain and an obelisk in the piazza. These were pretty cool but the main attraction was well worth the walk. Originally built in 126 AD by the emperor Hadrian, it is one of the best-preserved of all ancient Roman buildings, in large part because it has been in continuous use throughout its history, and since the 7th century, the Pantheon has been used as a church. Evidence now shows that this building was constructed on the site of an earlier temple commissioned by Marcus Agrippa during the reign of Augustus (27 BC – 14 AD). Almost two thousand years after it was built, the Pantheon’s dome is still the world’s largest un-reinforced concrete dome. The dome is actually open on top in order to support the concrete (not sure how that works exactly) so rain does come in. This is drained through 22 small holes in the floor. The interior in completely circular with the altar directly across from the door. Another amazing feat of architecture and unlike anything that we have seen to date.
A short walk down another narrow street and we reached the Piazza Navona. This open concept square is on the site of the Stadium of Domitian, built in the 1st century AD where ancient Romans went to watch the “agones” – games. (predating the Colosseum). Erected in the centre of the plaza is the Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi (Fountain of the Four Rivers). At each end there are smaller fountains – the Fontana del Moro and the Fountain of Neptune. Though less majestic than their centre counterpart, they are beautiful nonetheless.
Another short jaunt and we reached the Tiber River. We walked across the Ponte Umberto towards the Supreme Court Building. This building was absolutely spectacular!! We walked along the river towards the Castel Sant Angelo and then crossed back over on the Sant Angelo Bridge. This is the bridge that you will see in many iconic pictures of Rome. Before we walked across, we looked to our right and saw St. Peter’s Basilica. We have a tour there tomorrow so I won’t say much about that at the moment.
We decided to call it a day and started the journey home. We stopped for a Gelato and a glass of wine because (in case you have forgotten) it is my birthday!! So, more statues, buildings, ruins and churches on the way back. It just never ceases to amaze. You need to experience this for yourself. Rome should be on everyone’s bucket list!!
The Forum of Augustus.
Hail Caesar. Julius, Augustus and Trajan…. Poor Julius, the seagulls are really doing a number on him.
The Forum of Trajan…
The picture below states how the rain is drained away by holes in the floor and the next picture shows the large hole in the ceiling where the rain comes through.
The Castle and Bridge of San Angelo
You cannot walk more than a block in Rome without discovering or seeing something that is amazing. Here a few random pics of things we have seen on our journey today.