Monday, February 9, 2009

Our 1st 10 Day Trip: Florence, Siena, and Rome, Part 2

We arrived in Rome on Wednesday night (Feb. 4). We took a bus from Roma Termini rail station which dropped us off near our hotel. We were very fortunate with the location and quality of our hotel. We stayed in the Albergo Santa Chiara Hotel which was a stones throw from the Pantheon. It was surreal being able to walk out our door and around the block to see a structure that has stood for nearly 2000 years.
The next morning we had a few hours of free time after breakfast so a group of us set out for the Coliseum. We made our way through the Roman Forum exploring the grounds and taking lots of pictures. It worked out well because the ticket we bought for the Forum got us into the Coliseum as well. We were able to skip the hour wait and breeze right inside.
After a quick lunch, we met up with the rest of the group in Piazzo Del Campidoglio to start a Baroque tour with a guest prof. living in Rome. His name is Terry Kirk. He was a great tour guide for our walking tour because he was full of energy and extremely enthusiastic about the sites we were visiting. This helped the walking tour feel more like a conversation rather then a lecture. It made for a pretty interesting day. We were able to cover a large amount of the city. We visited various works by Borromini, Bernini, and many others. We ended the day with the Trevi Fountain and the Spanish Steps.
On Thursday morning, we got up and made our way toward the Vatican City. We spent the morning in the Vatican Museum viewing works by famous painters and gazing at the Sistine Chapel. In the afternoon, we moved on to Saint Peters Basilica where the pope resides. We made the ascent through the cupola and we were able to see Rome from above.
Section view through the Cupola.

After taking our aerial photos, we made our way back down and then entered the church through the nave. We were fortunate to be able to take photos and videos inside the church.

On Friday, we visited Renzo Piano's Auditorium Parco Della Musica.

We were also able to visit Pier Luigi Nervi's Palazetto Dello Sport.
On Saturday, we got up early and caught a train to Tivoli. Then took a bus to Villa Adriana. It is a large archaeological site of Hadrian's country Villa. It was interesting to see such a large site of ruins and begin to imagine how they might have appeared in there time. The buildings were in various stages of decay so some required more imagination then others.
After we left the park, we headed over to another site in Tivoli named Villa d'Este. It is a villa set on a hillside. There is vast landscape park full of water features, gardens, seating areas, and a great panoramic view of the city. We only had a short time in the park so we were running around frantically trying to snap pictures. After we finished up, we had to hurry to catch our train back to Rome.
On Sunday, we visited the E.U.R. section of Rome which is where Mussolini tried to express his imperial dreams for a city. This section of the city is not one you would normally see on a tourist visit to Rome, however, with our fortunate length of stay, we were able to make the trip. The buildings all maintained Fascist design principals of minimalism and uniformity in materiality. We toured the area for a few hours and were unfortunately turned away at 3 of our sites due to unforeseen events occurring on site that prohibited us from entering.

On Sunday night, we made our way back to the hotel and collected our bags before returning to the train station. We made it back to Genoa around 10 pm then we hopped on a bus and headed for the villa. Another incredible trip in the books!

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