Around the World With the ArvaMonts


England Wales Russia Finland Estonia France Switzerland Germany Austria Hungary Slovakia Czech Republic The Netherlands Italy Spain Gibraltar Morocco Sudan Kenya Tanzania UnitedArabEmerites Egypt Turkey Greece Jordan India Thailand Cambodia Vietnam Japan China Hong Kong Indonesia Australia NewZealand FrenchPolynesia RapaNui Chile Peru Bolivia Ecuador






I had been looking forward to our visit to Rome.  While I have been through Rome a number of times, I hadn't ever stopped to have a look.  And there is a lot to look at!  As you wander through Rome, you alternate between narrow alleys, lined with crumbling stone-colored three and four story buildings, piazzas big and small each with some interesting, usually ancient, central feature: a fountain, an obelisk, a statue, and life threateningly busy many-laned roads.  


The Coliseum


The coliseum was built by the emperor Trajan for the entertainment of the masses in about 72 AD.  As originally built, there was not wodden floor, and no tunnels underneath.  Originally, the intent was to stage naval battles within the Coliseum as well as other battles.  It was once flooded for a 6 month period!  The naval battles proved to be a bad idea, afterwhich the labyrinth of tunnels was contructed and capped with a wooden floor, which was spread with sand. 


The Coliseum as seen from the Roman Forum

ZE2G6957.jpgIMG_6109.jpg The labyrinth of tunnels


Anika was very impressed with the sights... 


The Coliseum was repaired many times over the course of its long life, and this time by Pope Pius VII!  Interestingly, each level of the Coliseum sports a different variety of column.  The lowest level are simple doric, the second level are ionic and the top level are Corinthian!  One of the things I found most interesting about the Coliseum and actually Rome in general, is that all of this history, all 2000 years worth is just sitting our there for all to see. 


The Roman Forum


This was the center of Roman life in the time of the great Roman Empire.  Much of the ancient architecture was pilfered in order to build grand palazzo and great churches.  Thus, a good imagination and some knowledge of history is required to appreciate the Forum. 


A little snooze was in order ...                                                                                            The rebuilt senate






Capitoline Hill and the Piazza del Campidoglio


The Capitoline Hill is at one end of the Roman Forum, the end with senate building and the Rostrum.  The Piazza on the top of the hill was designed by Michelangelo in 1536 at the behest of Pope Paul III.  He did not design the buildings, only the building facades.  He also placed the statues and designed the staircase. 


ZE2G7271.jpg IMG_6300.jpg

Anika works hard to get just the right photo!


The famous statue of Remus and Romulus and the she-wolf.  This statue is very well hidden.  It sits next to the Piazza on a walkway that leads to an overlook of the Roman Forum.  We found it just by chance. 



The Pantheon


The Pantheon was erected in 118 AD by the emperor Hadrian, who was also famous for building Hadrian's Wall across Britain.  It was built as a temple to all gods.  Within the huge dome is a hole, which on the day of our visit was wet inside due to the rain!  The hole allows all of the bad demons to escape.  Apparently, for more than 1000 years starting in the middle ages, this temple was a visible example of what could no longer be done - no one could understand how such a large dome could be supported. 



ZE2G7312.jpg  ZE2G7292.jpg  ZE2G7294.jpg

It is interesting to note that this structure stands in glory, even today, when the rest of ancient Rome sits in fallen decay just around the corner.  The temple was taken over by the Catholic church, and maintained.  Imagine how much fun a visit to Rome would be if all the buildings around the Roman Forum had been maintained!  Imagine how lavishly the patrician Romans lived two millennia ago!  When all we have to look at are a few marble blocks, it is easy to suppose that their lifestyle was simplistic, when clearly nothing could be further from the truth. 


The Spanish Steps


On the Piazza di Spagna sit the Spanish Steps.  This was the center of tourism in Rome in the 18th century, and is still surrounded by tea rooms, hotels and the American Express office. 


ZE2G7320.jpg ZE2G7211.jpg

Yet another occurrence of the "European History Behind Scaffolding."



The Trevi Fountain


This amazing fountain is squished into a piazza hemmed in on all sides.  We approached from the back and were astounded by the shear size and shape of the fountain!  It was built in 1762, and portrays Neptune.  Anika was struck by the fact that Romans tended to feel the need to have fountains represent the water gods and water entities. 


ZE2G7226.jpg  ZE2G7216.jpg

Legend holds that throwing a coin into this fountain, right hand over left shoulder will ensure that the thrower can return to Rome one day. 

IMG_6276.jpg  ZE2G7224.jpg


The Vatican Museums


IT takes patience to visit the Vatican Museums.  The day we went, the line was almost 2 hours long. 


IMG_6178.jpgIMG_6180.jpg   IMG_6260.jpg

Behind us...                                                        In front of us....                                                    After we left the museum, there was no line, only vendors.

ZE2G7025.jpg ZE2G7184.jpg ZE2G7192.jpg

The handicapped entrance lookes a little like a marble run!  The double helix staircase now only used as an exit originally allowed those entering and those leaving the museum to each have one way paths!


ZE2G7030.jpg Modeled after the ruin in the Forum?ZE2G6928.jpg


IMG_6247.jpg  Sometimes the best view is the one outside!



The Vatican Museum is really a combination of museums.  Here is a quick rundown of the parts we looked at:


The Sculpture Hall

ZE2G7063.jpg ZE2G7065.jpg


Some famous Romans. :-)

ZE2G7080.jpg  ZE2G7079.jpg


The Animal Statuary Room

ZE2G7104.jpg  ZE2G7102.jpg


The Egyptian Room

ZE2G7127.jpg ZE2G7124.jpg


The Etruscan Rooms

ZE2G7136.jpg              ZE2G7131.jpg

IMG_6243.jpg ZE2G7132.jpg


The Tapestry Room



The Map Room



The Papal Residences



The Modern Art Gallery


IMG_6251.jpg IMG_6255.jpg

The Sistine Chapel

ZE2G7167ca.jpg  ZE2G7174.jpg



St. Peters Basilica


 ZE2G7203.jpg from the front


On the inside



On the Outside

ZE2G7201.jpgZE2G7205.jpgIMG_6330.jpg the Swiss guard


Climbing to the top of the dome



From the dome - inside



From the top



From Rome we went to Florence for a few days. 


[Home] [Up] [Venice and Verona] [Roma] [Florence and Pisa]

Send mail to with questions or comments about this web site.
Copyright 2007, 2008 ArvaMont Partners
Last modified: 06/13/08