02 March 2011


Ah Roma…

Even though I live two hours from Rome, my husband and I took a week to really have the time to walk, look, appreciate, sit, soak it up. Rome calls for that. It's hard to know where to let your eyes rest, there's so much. They'll be happy no matter where. So much beauty, art, architecture, history, ambience, good food. Everywhere.  It's a delight to the senses and the heart. The gods cooperated by providing a week of sun and temperate weather unitl the last 2 days when it was windy, cooler but still sunny. Good walking weather. And Rome is a good walking city.

The museums have audio tours available in English and I found these anywhere from quite good to outstanding. There are English speaking tour guides available and we hired one for a fun night tour of Rome and an individualized tour of the Capitol Museums. It costs more for these specialized tours but they're worth it depending on your interests, needs and budget. Our guide majored in Art History at the Sorbonne with a specialty in Italian Art. She was amazing!

The Vatican Museums ending with the Raphael Rooms and the stunning Sistine Chapel were gorgeous and diverse. From classical statuary, Renaissance paintings and Etruscan art to Egyptian artefacts, it can take all day to see or pare it down according to your interests or stamina.  The sheer abundance and extravagance is overwhelming but my favorite was the Sistine Chapel. I just sat and stared at Michalengelo's masterpieces for an hour or more. His spirit seemed immediate in these monumental works and afforded moments of inspiration in the presence of greatness.

Check out the official Vatican Museum website for a trippy look at what's there, from every angle. Go to "exhibitions" and then click on "collections online" and you can see the ravishing Rafael Rooms and the Sistine Chapel from 360 degrees. Stop at whatever you want for closer views. It gives you a flavor anyway.

There are the must sees in Rome like the Trevi Fountain and the Coloseum and some less known destinations like the delicious Giolitti gelateria with the best gelato in Rome! Walking the neighborhoods gives a good feel for their differences and is a great way to people watch to catch the unique Rome vibe.

Outside of Rome, we spent an entire day in Tivoli, a treasure of a place with three villas to amaze and delight visitors. We saw two of them, Hadrian's Villa and Villa D'Este. When I say amazing, I mean awe-inspiring, one-of-a-kind, I'm-so-glad-we-did-this amazed! Hadrian's Villa had ruins of 30 buildings spread over three miles in a beautiful countryside and called it home!  I loved meandering through all this beauty for hours. Villa D'Este was in the town of Tivoli but became it's own world behind the gates. Fountains galore was its speciality. Old town Tivoli is lovely.

One of our walking tours featured the best mosaics in Rome. This took us to three churches rich in this beautiful art. One, San Clemente, featured three levels of excavations in their basement dating back 2000 years to the first century.  The oldest section was a pagan site with intact altars and stone school benches among other artifacts.  Since this is off- peak tourist season, we got to wander around with abandon to our hearts content and just soak in the history.

To think about the decades, the centuries of people who have been here before and to be a part of this human procession over the ages was really a remarkable experience. I'll be back.


  1. Wow! What GORGEOUS pictures! And I love hearing how much it touched you!
    I can only imagine.... ;-)

  2. We were in Italy in October 2010 and spent five days in Rome. I was completely saturated by Italian art and architecture. When we were in the Sistine Chapel it was mobbed, but I really enjoyed the museum you walk through before you get there.

  3. Terrific pictures! Now, I'm sulking, so envious, so so willing to fly over and spend all my extra money on such a visit again.

    Thanks for sharing.

  4. In ancient days, they said all roads lead to Rome. It was the center of the universe for many centuries... and your journey communicated those days to me, here. Thank you for sharing your experience with such fabulous pictures.

  5. What wonderful pictures of Rome; only somebody who has truly appreciated the miracle wrought by previous generations can write a post like this.

    greetings from Friko's World.

  6. Krissa, I only imagined, too, until 2 years ago. Now I'm enjoying every minute and feeling grateful.
    Linda, I stood by a couple who were squeezed into one seat near the middle in the Sistine Chapel thinking they wouldn't stay long. I was right and spent my time taking it all in from that seat. I blocked out everyone else but there are fewer people this time of year.
    Rosoaria, Come, we can meet and explore Rome. I'd like that. What part of Italy are you from?
    DJan, Your welcome. It was my pleasure.
    Friko, Thanks and welcome. I checked out your blog and liked your post on citruscide.

  7. 2 hours from Rome.....I can't stand it!!!! Oh what a life you are living and I do mean living....these pictures are wonderful but the last one took my breath away! Can I come to Rome and explore with you?
    Thanks for sharing this experience with us. I would love to see Tivoli!

  8. It truly takes my breath away to imagine you walking among such history, such awe-inspiring art and architecture. Wow! Your photos of the experience are lovely ... and the next best thing to being there for those of us who likely never will be. Thank you!

  9. That sounds like a dream trip. Your photos are glorious. I love really old places. I always feel as though were I able to just be still enough, I'd be able to "hear" the history happening there. One place where that sensation was really strong, and a little disturbing, was the Bastille in Paris.

  10. Nanny, My blog friends are welcomed! Lots to explore- I just booked a return trip to Rome in May and I'm eager for more.
    Lisa, Your welcome. We shared it with our grandkids last summer and even they loved it. My grandson's favorite was the Coloseum- he was awed.
    Patti, Yes, hear the history and get goose bumps being there to hear it.


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