Rome, Italy Day 62

Well, today was definitely my favourite day in Rome… it could be because there was a blissful breeze and showers in the afternoon. Apparently it has been unseasonably hot these past few days. Even the Romans are complaining about it, so that makes me feel like I’m not such a wuss! What I loved most about today was not having any real plan. The last 2 days were all about destination sites. Today I got to do my favourite thing, just wander around and check my map from time to time to see where I am. The one thing I did want to see was the Victor Emmanuel Monument in Piazza Venezia. The locals call it “the wedding cake” with good reason. Look at it! The building was erected in 1911 to celebrate the unification of Italy, and Victor Emmanuel was the first king of unified Italy, so he gets the honour of being the cake topper, so to speak. You aren’t allowed to sit on the steps here. If you do the man with the whistle comes out! The Italians don’t seem to have a lot of rules, but when they do, they really make sure you stick to them! I was thinking that this type of job would be good for the hall monitor type…
I have to say, I love Rome. The longer I’m here, the more I wish I could stay longer! I feel like I still have a months worth of stuff I could do here, maybe more. Next time though I’ll be coming in early October or April. It’s not fun in that heat. I came across this little placard on the side of a building and thought it was pretty. I’m not sure what it’s use is, but all I do know is at in home in Canada something like this would be in a museum. Here it’s just stuck to the side of a wall.  Love it!
There are ruins just everywhere here. I was laughing when I got off the train the first day I got here. As you leave the train station and look to your right, there are some ruins. Nothing famous or anything, but ruins all the same. These ruins are part of the Roman Forum across from the Colosseum.
This is Circus Maximus. It’s now just a field, but it used to be the world’s longest race track.It played an important role in Ben Hur, just to give you an idea of it’s importance.It was built in 550 BC by Julius and had room for 225,000 spectators. The track was surrounded by bars so the gamblers could celebrate or drown their sorrows depending on their luck. Later on the track was used for things more akin to the Colosseum, man vs. beast. Just think of all the blood in this soil. Horrifying, isn’t it?
Theatre of Marcellus. Construction of this was started by Julius Caesar, but was finished by Augustus in 17 BC.  He named it Marcellus to honour his nephew who died at the age of 19. The theatre is still used today for all kind of concerts.
Even though it’s just garbage, I somehow thought this was a pretty and colourful scene!
Largo di Torre Argentina. This has become a makeshift cat sanctuary. Apparently all of the cats here are vaccinated and cared for, the two of the cats I saw looked a little rough for wear. One was limping, and the other was missing most of an ear. They looked well fed at least. The main reason this spot is famous is that it’s here that Julius Caesar was murdered in the year 44 BC.
I had to go back to the Pantheon today. I don’t know why, I just had to see it again. I feel a kind of kinship with the pagans, and this is the ultimate pagan temple of worship (even though it was taken over by the Christians.)
Style has  officially gone straight out the window. Yes, I bought the plastic poncho. It says ROME on it! Hilarious, but very useful.
I didn’t see this fountain at the bottom of the Spanish steps yesterday because of the outdoor opera set-up.
And I didn’t climb the Spanish Steps yesterday because if I had in that heat I surely would have died, so today was nice and cool and a perfect day for it! The steps are in three parts, each part consisting of 138 steps to symbolize “trinity.” They were designed by Francesco de Sanctis in 1723 and commissioned by the French government. Why the French you may ask? Well, the church at the top of the steps was built by a French King, and they thought the church was worthy of an approach better than a muddy hill, so the steps were built to match the beauty of the church.
Trinita dei Monti. The church at the top of The Spanish Steps.
This is part of the floor.
Don’t I look so happy today? Cool air is my friend.
The swallows are crazy in this town. Outside my window they’re flying like the wind in huge packs, and so close to my window I can hear them flapping and whooshing by! I tried (without much success) to get a picture of them flying by, but they are FAST! I guess that is where a better camera could come in handy but oh well!

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One Response to Rome, Italy Day 62

  1. Michele June 13, 2011 at 7:45 am #

    So the Spanish Steps in Italy were commissioned by the French? I’m so confused. 😉

    I’m so happy to hear your delightful reports of Rome. Italy is now going to the top of my must-plan-soon travel list.

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