It’s a little after 10p.m. over here, the house is silent with the exception of the humming of the baby monitor, and the television lowered in the background. My husband is fast asleep next to me, and I am waiting for True Detective to start at 11p.m., so I figured I could use this time wisely to get started on chapter three.
In part two, we left off with the tour of the Forum Boarium. We didn’t have to walk far to get to our next stop which was across the street and a little stroll away. On our way there, I happened upon this little work of art.
Sorry, I know it isn’t two thousand years old and considered “beautiful”, but, it is part of the new Roman landscape and I thought it blended pretty well (snicker, snicker).
After our stroll, we came upon the Arch of Janus, probably one of the lesser known Arch’s, and there isn’t a whole lot of information on it (that I can find at least), but, it is still something to admire.
Just past the Arch is a little 7th century church to the left, the basilica of San Giorgio al Velabro which also has the Arcus Argentariorum attached to it. Here is the thing, I didn’t get a whole lot of pictures of this place, it wasn’t till I was editing photos, and doing some more research on the place that I had wished I would have paid more attention. So, work with me here…
Let’s start with San Giorgio’s, this place is pretty small, and opens up wide in the beginning, only to narrow out in the back of the church. It isn’t like the other basilica’s in Rome, in that it is quite simple. In 1993, someone detonated a car bomb in front of the church and it had to be restored. Fortunately, they were able to rebuild the front entrance as it used to be, with all of the same material collected from the blast. Remember, the Roman’s are resourceful like that.
To the side of the church is the Arcus Argentariorum…again, I didn’t take too many pictures of it, so I’ve hyperlinked its name to a wiki page that has a full picture. Anyways, here is why I wish I would have taken more pictures of it. The Arcus’s likely purpose was that it was a passage way between the Forum Boarium and the Forum Magnum (currently called the Roman Forum), as it is situated on the Vicus Jugarius (translated from Latin to mean, the street of the Yoke-Makers). Why is this important? Well, let’s think about this, the Forum Boarium was the ancient market place, and the Forum Magnum was the ancient government or city center. Needed a lawyer? You went to the Forum Magnum. Wanted to witness a criminal trial, or watch a triumphant procession, again, you went to the Forum Magnum. So, as we are standing at the Arcus, it occurs to me as I look at the medium-tall grass surrounding a well-worn path, just past the Arcus, that thousands, perhaps millions, of people have walked that very same pathway, and there we were, getting a pseudo history lesson on it.
After our time at the Arcus, we again took a stroll down the road, around a corner, past the Belgium embassy. I have to share with you a few pictures of the building that the Belgium embassy was in, it is wicked looking, and honestly, that is the only way to describe it.
Right around the corner from the embassy is a long wall and walk way that leads you to the Capitoline Hill as well as breathtaking views of the Roman Forum.
So, here is the point in the story where I am reminded that the next time we go to Rome and do another tour, it will most definitely be sans the baby stroller. Let me tell you folks, Rome is amazing, awesome, fantastic, but, it is not exactly stroller friendly. We made it work, yes, but at times it was also very difficult and I would recommend a stroller that has all-terrain tires vice wheels. For you non-parents reading this, yes, a stroller with all-terrain strollers really does exist, see here.
Why did I bring this up? Because the road that led us to the Capitoline Hill, yeah, that meant we had to ascend the hill, as in, push the stroller up the hill. No elevators here my friends. Really though, it was a small sacrifice because when we got to the top of the hill we got to see this view.
The top of the Capitoline Hill leads you to the Piazza del Campodoglio, which was designed by Michelangelo in the 1500’s, it truly is a masterpiece and a must see if you are going to Rome. The Piazza is made up of three Palazzi (Palaces). The Palazzo Senatorio (the Senatorial Palace) in the center, which is the oldest of the three, the Palazzo dei Conservatori (Palace of the Conservatives), and the Palazzo Nuovo (the New Palace). I didn’t get pictures of all of the buildings, but I did get some good ones of the statues. Next time we go to Rome, I would love to tour the museums inside the buildings.
In the center of the Piazza you will see the statue of Marcus Aurelius. There is a funny story behind this guy. You see, the only reason why it still exists today, is because when the square was first being built long before Michelangelo took over the design plan, they thought that it was actually a statue of the first Christian Emperor, Constantine. This was during a period when Rome was trying to convert its image from a “Pagan” society to a Christian one. It wasn’t until the 15th century that it was discovered to be Marcus Aurelius, a former “Pagan” Emperor.
At the top of the famous Cordonata steps that open up to the Piazza are the two statues of twin brothers, Castor and Pollux.
And just as we started going down the Cordonata staircase, I spotted this interesting little statue.
After the Piazza del Campidoglio, we headed over to the ‘Monumento Nazionale a Vittorio Emanuele II’ which is at the center of the Piazza Venezia. In between the two Piazza’s is a church, as well as, some of Rome’s first condo’s…and just look what I spied while we stopped by.
After that brief stop we proceeded straight to the Victor Emmanuel II Monument, which, can’t be missed. This baby is constructed of bright white marble and sticks out like a sore thumb compared to all of the other historical landmarks in Rome. It is only a little over a century old and was built in honor of Italy’s first King. I will tell you this, the one and only time I think we were grateful for the stroller was when we went inside the monument to go to the roof top and check out the view. Why? Because we were allowed to use the elevator. Yay! We didn’t really tour the inside of this building as it wasn’t exactly a part of the tour, our guide, Roberto, just wanted to show us the view.
This monument is also the home of the ‘Tomb of the Unknown Soldier’, which like in America, is guarded day and night by the Italian military, and if I recall, has two eternal flames that always burn. I sadly was unable to get pictures of this. But, I was able to capture these guys…
After the Monument, we went across the street to check out some more ruins (it really is never-ending). At this point, I was tired. My feet hurt, my back hurt, and gasp…dare I say it…I may have even been getting tired of taking photo’s (oh no!). But, obviously, I didn’t stop, and neither did the tour. So, here are more pictures of some interesting things that line the Imperial Avenue…
After checking out the Imperial Avenue we headed towards our last destination of the tour, the Basilica of St. Peter in Chain, which is home to the chains of St. Peter as well as the famous statue of Moses by Michelangelo. When Roberto told us this was our last stop, I am not going to lie, I was a little excited. First of all, I really needed to nurse the baby, and secondly, I really wanted to head back to our room and kick off the stupid boots I thought would be fashionable and functional (next time, sneakers all the way!).
After a bit of a walk, and by “bit”, I mean it took what felt like FOREVER, we came upon a lovely staircase that went perfectly well with our stroller (sarcasm), which led to the Basilica of St. Peter in Chain.
After our tour of the church, we parted our ways with Roberto and headed out to dinner. We were pooped! We went back to the Royal Art Cafe because we are creatures of habit and didn’t mind the Colosseum views. Dinner was interesting because Sadie wanted to make like Houdini and slip out of her high chair for almost the whole meal. I can’t say that I blame her since she had been cooped up in her stroller for half of the day.
At one point, these two gentleman with an Accordion and a Saxophone came by to serenade us (for a fee of course) and the only time Sadie sat still was to watch their performance.
After dinner we headed back to our room, and even though it was an exhausting day, I still wanted to go back out for a bit. I mean, why stay in our room when we had a perfectly awesome city to explore? Originally, I had wanted to go snap some photos of the Trevi fountain, but I could tell by the look on Jayson’s face that he was only willing to travel so far. Then my mom logic kicked in and I remembered we had to wake up early for the Papal Audience….so…to compromise, we went out..but only back to St. Peter’s square.
We snapped some photos then headed back to our room for the night. The hubby and the baby quickly passed out, while I stayed up researching the story behind the Papal Audience’s and thinking about the next day.
One of the main reasons why I wanted to go to Rome vice Paris, was the hope that maybe, JUST maybe, my child would be one of the few to be blessed by the Pope at his Wednesday Papal Audience’s. What an awesome first birthday present that would be, right?
To be continued…again.
Please stay tuned for the final chapter of our trip, When in Rome…A Papal Blessing.