Sunday, November 22, 2009

When in Rome...

We had quite a weekend in Rome, I'm glad that had been there before on opening tour, even though I stayed in another part of Rome this time, it helped. The school put us up in a pretty nice hotel this time, not a premium location but in a city with as much history as Rome, there really isn't a bad place to stay.

We left for Rome at 9 am on a Friday, it was an early start. We had a four hour bus ride to our hotel in Rome, we arrived right on time and took an hour for lunch. I didn't explore to far from the hotel for this meal because I didn't want to miss the tour of the Colosseum. After lunch we were to go on a walking tour of ancient Rome. This meant a trip to the Colosseum and the Forum, which I enjoyed immensely because I hadn't gotten to see either of them on my first visit. After the tour we went to the Pantheon to find the gelato place that Father Brian likes so much, I got chocolate with orange and egg cream (tastes like eggnog), the combination reminded me of Christmas. From the there it was off to the Trevi Fountain, another site I missed on my first trip, of course I threw in the coins for good luck or whatever it is worth. After that we returned to the hotel to rest before dinner. For dinner we went to the Hard Rock Cafe, burgers and shakes, so good! We had a late meal so after dinner it was back to the hotel to call it a night.

Me in the Colosseum

Better View of the Colosseum

Trevi Fountain

Me with my Shake

Mel, Emily, and Kate

The next morning it was off to the Vatican Museum and the Sistine Chapel... but the Sistine Chapel was closed, the good news is that they wouldn't have let me take pictures in there anyway so you aren't actually missing much. We still enjoyed the museums and made the best of the morning that we had. We had lunch at the cafeteria at the museum sat in the garden until our tour with Fr. Brian was supposed to start. We met Fr. Brian in front of St. Peter's. He took us through St. Peter's and down through the tombs of the Popes. From there we went on a long walking tour of trastevere, the Italian neighborhood across the Tiber from most of the city. From there we went to the longest continuously operating hospital in the world, I believe that it was called St. John's. From there we went into Rome's Jewish ghetto, one of the oldest Jewish communities outside of Palestine. Not far from the Jewish ghetto was the room where the Apostle Paul was held while he was in Rome. After that we walked to the original Jesuit house that was next to the original location of the Vatican, both the previous and the current Jesuit house in Rome are located specifically because the leader of the Jesuit order always wanted to be able to see the Pope's window, as a reminder that they should be working together. This is where the tour ended, some went on in search of canoli that they would never find, Tim and I returned to the hotel to rest before dinner. Fr. Brian tried to give us directions to a little restaurant near the hotel that he though we would like, we couldn't find it but Tim and I were sure that we could find our way back to the Hard Rock, different burger and a margarita, same result as the first visit... bliss.

In the Vatican Museum courtyard

Statue from the Vatican Museum

From the Egypt Exhibit

St. Peter's

Paul's room from when he was held in Rome

Sunday was our day on our own, we had the Roma Pass which would get us into one more museum for free and there was the blessing of the Pope at noon outside of St. Peter's so we picked an interesting museum that happened to be close to the Vatican... Tim and I did both. We went to the Museo Nationale di Castel Sant' Angelo, this museum houses a collection of old weapons and much of the art that has been recovered by the Carbinari, the Italian national police. It is a beautiful castle, I got some great pictures. From there it was off to the Vatican to see the Papal Blessings, it was quite a crowd. We went from there back to the hotel to have lunch near by before catching the bus back to Florence, on the way we watched Talladega Nights, fun for me.

St. Peter's in the Background

Top of Castel Sant' Angelo

Crowd waiting for the Pope

Pope giving the Blessing


  1. The coloseum was amazing- I can't imagine seeing it "real-life", and the room where Paul was held in Rome. Even though you didn't get to see the Cistene Chapel, it seems like Rome was an awesome time. I'm glad you were able to get a blessing from the Pope. I was hoping you would be able to get a blessing from someone significant at the Vatican- it being the Pope, wow. I appreciate a blessing sincerely given.
    We love you,

  2. The Coliseum, the Pope, and the Hard Rock Cafe. Pretty much hits all the bases ;-)

    What do the Romans do?

  3. you seem to be having an amazing time. The photos are wonderful. I can't even hardly imagine what is like to be where you are and see all the architecture. Is the pope up in the little open window for the blessing? Does he say something so you can hear it?

  4. The pope speaks over a loud speaker in at least 3 languages, so I did hear him