My tours today started with a bus tour that took me to the Vatican Museum and the Sistine Chapel. My trip has been a little like a European scavenger hunt as I searched for the various statutes and monuments. Today was a perfect example of this… I was supposed to find a statute of Pythagoras somewhere in the Vatican Museum. Unfortunately the museum must have over 200 statues on display. All the labels are in Italian, after awhile they all look the same, the museum was packed, and I was on a tour so stopping to read each of the labels wasn’t an option! I asked my tour guide if he knew of the statue and he didn’t. As I chatted with my tour group, I explained the purpose of my trip and before I knew it we were all looking for my statue. J I had pretty much given up finding it since we were almost to the end of the museum and were about to enter the Sistine Chapel when one of my group members came running up to me to tell they had found it! I couldn’t have been more pleased.
After the Sistine Chapel, I chose to leave the group and walk through the city back to my hotel instead of taking the bus. It took me about an hour of casually strolling and stopping for lunch but was totally worth it. I passed so many beautiful sights. I probably could have taken about 300 pictures but I decided to just soak it up and enjoy the moment.
My afternoon tour was a walking tour of Rome discussing the artistry of the city. Our guide was a man named Lorenzo and he was awesome! Most of the details I have included in the posted pictures, and like the morning walk, I chose to just take it all in instead of taking picture after picture. Lorenzo had so much fantastic information. He pointed out two general things that has made me looked at the city differently … First, in many of the piazzas what makes them so artistically beautiful is how they have been able to create a particular feel – serious, relaxing, celebratory, etc – while quite often correcting what he called “visual mistakes” in the landscape. For example sometimes, they design is meant to “fix” areas where one side of the piazza is higher than another or sometime a building isn’t centered like it “should be.” Only upon close inspection do you notice that the careful placement of the monuments hides these facts can beautifies the entire space. Second, the city is filled with Egyptian obelisks. He pointed out that wherever you see an obelisk, you will find a major church nearby. I hadn’t noticed until he pointed it out but it was fascinating to see in action as we walked the city.
Piazza de Fiori is one that is worth mentioning here because of its unusual past. This piazza that was once just a field of flowers, hence its name, was a resting place for pilgrims on their way to the Vatican. Eventually, however, it became the location for public executions. For that reason, it is the only piazza in the city that does NOT have a church in it. Of course the church didn’t want to be “affiliated” with the executions so a conscious choice was made to not a put a church on the space. Both Bruno and Caesar are among the many people who have been executed on the grounds.
The tour ended in Campo de Fiori (“fiori” means flowers) and I once again began my journey back to my hotel. I must have looked really confident as I walked along (or just a really nice girl) because I even got stopped by some other tourists because they needed directions! I was so happy that I was actually able to help them!! By the time I made it back to my hotel, I think I walked somewhere between 6 and 9 miles and was pretty tired. I headed to my room to start uploading and labeling pictures. Not an exciting night, but I considered the day already pretty full so I didn’t mind.