|The Agony of da feet|
Walking 12-14,000 cobblestone steps a day can prove to be quite agonizing, however, once you reach a monument, fountain or breathtaking statue like Bernini's "The Ecstasy of St Theresa" in one of 900 + basilicas/churches, you are reinvigorated and energized to find your next work of art. It is the end of our 3rd week here in Roma Italy and we are over-awed. It seems we turn every corner and run into another fountain, piazza, monument, basilica, villa, pallaccio, that fills us with "Wow"!!!
One of the nice improvements with travel today vs 32 years ago is technology and walking apps, information, maps etc. After using some crummy "Lets Go Europe" book then, to now having experts of art and history on your iPad as well as navigation to get there, it is quite a difference. We still get lost, but that is when we stumble into something we had not planned, and many times more memorable for being found.
Wander into St Peter's - a treasure trove of art - Michelangelo's famous marble statue La Pieta. Look up and you can see more Michelangelo and Bernini and other Renaissance and Baroque artists - St. Peter's is of course the most famous basilica - but there are more, walk into any church and you will see the most magnificent frescoes, reliefs, mosaics, this being how the artists of the day made their living.
Of course the artists of today include the pizzerias and gelaterias and for a very small price, you get to experience the local gastronomic artisans at work. They do call the gelato creators Artisional for a reason.
For many, coming to Rome is a Pilgrimage and as one of the most visited cities in the world there is no such thing as an off-season here. There will always be a line to visit St Peter's - it is free and definitely worth the wait. There are churches everywhere - almost like the fountains you find all over Rome, sometimes you see 2 churches on the same block. We tried to stop in as many as we could - didn't hit all 900, but by accident we did go into some small churches that had some amazing art work such as a Caravaggio chapel, sculptures by Michelangelo that I never heard of, and elaborate Bernini tombs. A stop in a quiet church was a great way to recharge our tired feet and fill our souls with awe.
A few of our favorite churches:
|Saint Peter's Basilica. Michelangelo's fingerprints are all over this church. Pope John Paul XXIII top right is buried in glass in St Peters (a little spooky), but a Pope I do remember growing up in Catholic School.|
|Agony for these tourists waiting in line to get in to St. Peters. (we knew when to visit without the lines)|
|After a long day...it is not a sin to enjoy the ecstasy of gelato.|
|Basilica of Saint John Lateran is the first church to be built in Rome. |
This immense cathedral is the official seat of the Pope, just not quite as nice as the Vatican where he is now. Supposedly the altar is the table used during the last supper.
|Images from different churches we were in. Top right is a Michelangelo "The Risen Christ" (a gold loin cloth was put over the statues genitals and not by Michelangelo) Center are Caravaggio paintings on an altar. Bottom left are tombs that are found under many altars that seem to be in quite a few churches.|