Trip to Rome, Italy (Click on any image to load a larger copy)
I arrived in Rome about an hour and a half after leaving Naples (See Trip to Naples and Herculaneum, Italy) and checked in at my hotel, the Albergo Lucia, located a few blocks from the trains station. As I have previously been in Rome (See Trip to Italy - 1997), I skipped visiting some major attractions in this trip. Other places I visited again as they are enjoyable to see over again.
After having a Donner Kebab for lunch (I needed a break from Italian food), I returned to the train station and took the subway to the Spanish Steps. The Spanish Steps are somewhat interesting but are full of tourist. I continued my walking tour on the Via Condotti and stopped at 68 Via Condotti to see the Headquarters of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta (SMOM). This organization is the continuation of the Knights Hospitaller, a Catholic military order started after the first Crusade to care and defend pilgrims on their way to the Holy Land. Today the order is largely a charitable organization. Due to its history, the SMOM holds a unique status - it is a sovereign entity like a country, but without any territory. It has diplomatic relations with 90+ countries, most of which are predominately Catholic.
I continued on and turn left on to the Via Del Corso. I stopped and saw the Palazzo Montelcitorio, where the Parliament of Italy sits. Nearby was the Piazza Colonna where the Column of Marcus Aurelius sits. Also the square is the Palazzo Chigi, the official home of the Prime Minister of Italy. Along with Palazzo is the contingent of protesters and police. A few blocks away and I was at the Pantheon and many tourists. I continued on to the Plaza Navona passing by the Palazzo Madama, seat of the Senate of Italy.
The last stop of the day was at the Monument to Vittorio Emanuele II, the first King of a unified Italy. The monument is massive and contains several sections. On the first level is a memorial to Italy's Unknown Soldier. Up further is a a statute of Vittorio Emanuele II on horseback that is 12m / 39 feet tall. I was tired by this point and walked to the Colosseum a few blocks a way and caught the subway back to my hotel.
I woke up early the next day as I was heading to the Vatican to attend the Pope's weekly General Audience. (See Trip to Vatican City State). It was quite interesting to attend and I was surprised by the number of people that were there. I spent the whole day at the Vatican, exploring St Peter's Basilica after the General Audience.
After being with so many tourists in the previous days in Rome, I spent my last full day exploring areas of Rome that had few tourists. The first place was the Baths of Caracalla - a Roman public bath built around 212 AD. The baths were quite large and could handle 200 - 3000 bathers at one time. The Baths also contained a library and gym. After seeing the baths, I walked along the Via Appia to the remains of the Circus Maximus. The Circus Maximus was the site of chariot racing as seen in the movie 'Ben Hur'. Not much is left of the Circus Maximus, but you can see where the track was.
Just a few blocks away from the Circus Maximus, is the Villa Malta - the Grand Priory in Rome of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta. It is most famous for its keyhole which frames St Peter's Basilica. Near by the Villa Malta is a small park that has excellent views of the city of Rome. After visiting the Villa Malta and the park, I headed off to the end of the Circus Maximus. Nearby is the church of Saint Marie in Cosmedin. In front of the church is the Mouth of Truth as seen in 'Roman Holiday'.
After seeing the Mouth of Truth, I returned to the normal tourist attractions as the Coliseum was nearby. It was full of tourists as expected and not that interesting to see. I took the subway to the Trevi Fountain and after seeing it, I header back to the hotel ready to leave Rome and go back home. The next day I woke up early, checked out of the hotel, walked to the train station, took the train to the airport, and flew back home.
I used a Olympus C-750UZ 4.0 Megapixel Digital Camera. The images were cleaned up a bit with Adobe PhotoShop Elements (To correct the color balance). Additional Camera Information
Sovereign Military Order of Malta
|Last Updated on January 2, 2009||Images and Text © 2005 Andrew Patton - Copyright Information|