Sorry I haven’t been posting. Today’s post will be a catch up of the past three days. Just prepare for a pretty long post!
Three days ago, in Rome, I saw the Colosseum and the Forum! Even though most of ancient Rome’s buildings are ruins, they are still massive!
First we went to the Colosseum. Everything in Rome that was built with wood is gone, but most of the buildings were built with cement and bricks. Even though the stage and roof of the Colosseum are gone, the rest is cement and bricks.
There are three layers to the Colosseum. Sadly, during an earthquake (in 1215), half of the outer wall collapsed! Still, nearly all three layers are visible if you walk to the most upright side of the building.
A funny fact is that most of the things known about the Colosseum have been gathered from old Roman coins that have been excavated, showing statues under the arches and a movable roof!
The Roman Forum is still spectacular, even in ruins. Here Julius Caesar’s Temple and others are in ruins. Sometimes there are only columns left, and sometimes there are whole buildings left! For example, the palace of Emperor Domitian, on Palentine Hill, is still mostly intact. But Emperor Octavian’s arch is gone! There is nothing left.
Out of the forty-six arches that used to stand in Rome, only three are left, and today we saw all three – Titus’s arch, Emperor Constantine’s arch, and the arch celebrating a battle against the Persians.
A neat fact is that the Ark of the Covenant was probably stolen by the Romans during the destruction of the temple by Titus and brought to their Temple of Saturn (otherwise known as their bank). It stayed there, with other prizes the Romans stole from raids, until the Barbarians stole everything in Rome of value. So, for all we know, the Ark was mostly likely brought back up North by the Barbarians.
Today was blazing hot! Here’s a tip: if you travel to Rome, bring an umbrella for some portable shade, and start your days early when it’s cool.
I took a lot of videos with the mice, and of the landscape that day! I can’t wait to start editing.
And yesterday we went to the Barberini Palace, which is filled with the family’s art collection, and we saw Michelangelo’s Moses sculpture.
The Barberini Palace was probably my least favorite thing we saw. There were no masterpieces, except for one Raphael, and they had filled most of the rooms with really strange modern art. The painting of Narcissist by Caravaggio is really neat, but they closed off the room where it is! There’s a large modern art piece in the middle of the room, so you can’t go inside. It was blocked off with a rope, and I was really disappointed.
The one thing I liked about the Barberini Palace was the cats. Outside, we found three, stray cats! Two looked like they were well fed, and the other was very thin, which I thought was sad. It’s kind of funny that the only thing I really liked were the cats!
Moses is really an amazing sculpture! He was supposed to be part of a fifty-six sculpture tomb for Pope Julius II, by Michelangelo. Only six were finished, in the end. Some of Michelangelo’s “prisoners”, now in Florence by David, are unfinished sculptures for Pope Julius II’s unfinished tomb. Moses has his horns, which I find rather funny. They misunderstood a line in the Bible about rays of light shining like horns, and thought he really had horns after he saw God on the mountain. His legs are tensed up and very muscular. His hands rest on the ten commandments, which are rather puny in comparison to the large, muscular Moses. Overall, I think this statue shows the genius in Michelangelo. He makes Moses a strong, concerned leader.
Today we went to the Pantheon, the Capitoline museum, and the Chapel of Saint Ignatius.
The Pantheon is so amazing, especially for the Roman Era!
The dome, if it was extended, would be a ball, it is perfectly round!
The dome is really – and I can say this – colossal! Even though it has been stripped of its splendors (the bronze and gold details), the marble is still mostly there, and the dome speaks for itself, even in its plain state. The Pantheon is so amazing because it is the only Roman building that is still completely intact! Other than being looted of its gold, the Pantheon is standing as it did when Emperor Hadrian, in 120 AD, rebuilt the original!
The Baroque Church of St Ignatius is a spectacular sight, although it was built a while after the Renaissance. There is a sense of depth in the painting on the ceiling. Here’s a picture of the dome:
Is it real, or 2D? You’d think real, right? Well, it’s not. It’s actually painted, because the founder of the church ran out of money. Look at the dome from another perspective:
Isn’t that crazy? It’s really 2D, as you can see in the picture above!
We also went to the Capitoline Museum. This museum is filled with statues, and quite a few Renaissance paintings.
Although we skipped on the Renaissance paintings, because we saw so many in Florence, we spent around five hours in that museum! We got an amazing audio/video guide, and we ate lunch at the cafeteria at the top.
We saw so many ancient Roman, and even ancient Greek, sculptures! What surprises me is that there a quite a few Roman copies of Greek statues. The Romans tried to be like the Greeks – they used their mythology and copied many of their statues – but they just weren’t as philosophical.
If you have a Rick Steves guide-book, which we have, and you go to Rome, don’t use his estimation of the audio guide being two hours long! Leave around four to five hours ahead of time, especially if you want to have lunch and still see most of the sculptures.
A treat last night was the light show on Julius Caesar’s old forum! His forum is in ruins, but this group hosts a light show on the imperial forums that was amazing! They showed where most of the ruins would have been, back then, and we learned a bit about Julius Caesar and how he built the forum! I really recommend the show, if you go to Rome! (There are also other shows for the different imperial forums.)
That was a long post! Sorry about not posting for the last few days. I’ve taken tons of footage of the mice in all of the different places we’ve gone, except for in the Capitoline Museum, which doesn’t allow videos. I’m so excited!
Thanks for reading!