2011

Oh What a Day

January 9th

We’re finally close to getting caught up, and up to date with our daily activities. I’ll try and add photos, but I can not promise if they’ll be as cool as Angela’s.

Time is flying by. So many sites, so little time. Lots was on the agenda for today. Actually this is a complete understatement. We pretty much were on the go for a solid 10 hours! Oofta! No complaining though. 

Some began the morning with mass at St. Peter’s bright and early (around 7).We proceeded to venture to Porta Portese via the wonderful public transportation, which is quite popular around this part of the world. Maybe we should try it?? Okay back on track. Porta Portese is basically the biggest flea market you could imagine. Anything and everything is there. We all parted ways when we got there and bought various knick knacks, and just took part of being with the locals on a Sunday morning. One could easily get lost. Would you be surprised that a couple of us actually did get lost?! The place is not only a maze, but a zoo as well. A great morning adventure none the less.

Next on the agenda: Castel Sant Angelo, Pantheon, Trevi Fountain, and the Aqua Virgo. I wasn’t kidding when I told you we did ALOT today.

Quick Summaries:

Castel Saint Angelo: One of the monuments we use to help us navigate ourselves. It has proved to be super handy because it is so huge, and once we reach it we know exactly how to get back to the hotel.  Some facts: this building has been “recycled” many times. A trend that we’re seeing evident in almost every building.  This “castle’s” original purpose was to be for the emperor Hadrian and his family around 120 AD. It then became a defense fortress, and later used by popes as protection.  This whole structure has survived many face lifts but wrinkles from it’s original state remain.  We walked all the way to the top, and the hike proved to be rewarding and breathtaking. We could have spent all day up there. No time, onto the Pantheon.

Pantheon: Also built by Hadrian, or commissioned would be a better word.  Another incredible engineering feat. The dome of the Pantheon is 150 roman feet in diameter, and 150 roman feet in height, this is approximately 140 feet. At the center of the dome is a 30 ft circular opening called an oculus. It is truly an experience standing in the Pantheon and looking up, pictures can not translate the shear size of the structure. It is the best perserved of all ancient Roman buildings. This is mainly because it was turned into a church around 609 AD, and has been protected ever since. Oh, and if all this weren’t enough the famous artist Raphael was buried there.

Trevi Fountain: Not too far of a walk from the Pantheon lies the famous Trevi Fountain. It is absolutely beautiful and gigantic. A few of us tossed a coin in the fountain. Foutains have been used in the Roman world as entertainment. What technology is to us today, is what fountains were to them. These fountains are possible because of yet another engineering feat of the aquaducts. Everything is starting to fit together!

Aqua Virgo: Inside the bottom of a modern building not far from the Trevi, ancient ruins were found. Now this is generally common, however the fact that archaelogists believe that this ancient villa was connected to the Aqua Virgo is quite spectacular. We were lucky enough to see these ruins in person and the artifacts that were recovered in the process. If this weren’t enough a meidevil house was built on top of the ancient one, and this is all in the basement of an inclosed building.

Is any of this blowing your mind yet? So much knowledge, so little time.

Until tomorrow!

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