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Basilica Papale di San Pietro in Vaticano, or Saint Peter’s Basilica

If you want to beat the 20,000 other people who visit St. Peter’s daily, get there early! We arrived at around 8 a.m. and were delighted to walk right in. This massive structure is overwhelming, so best to view it as empty as possible. The cathedral stands on the site where St. Peter was allegedly […]

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Forum Romano, Part III

Phew! Finishing up the Forum. Hopefully you are walking it with these posts in hand and are just as wowed as I was. Only three Corinthian columns remain from the Tempio di Castore e Polluce, built for the twin sons of Zeus and Leda to show gratitude for the victory in the Battle of Lake […]

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Forum Romano, Part II

I like my posts to be bite-sized, and since my original Forum Romano one was anything but, I broke it into a few pieces. So, continuing on… Only the front portico remains from Tempio di Saturno (from 5th century B.C), at one time one of Rome’s most important temples. It was used as the state […]

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Forum Romano

It’s hard to believe that the Roman Forum used to be a city center. Once upon a time, all of Rome gathered in this collection of shops, courts, temples, basilicas and government offices. The forum was the place for triumphal processions, elections, speeches, trials and even gladiatorial matches. The forum was originally developed in the […]

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Chiesa di Sant’Ignazio di Loyola a Campo Marzio

This Baroque Roman Catholic church was dedicated to Jesuit founder Ignatius of Loyola. It was constructed in the 16th century and functioned as a rectory church to adjacent Collegio Romano. The college quickly outgrew the original church, so in the 17th century the massive structure we see today was built. This church has a Latin […]

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Roman Food

When in Rome, you will spend an inordinate amount of time and energy stuffing yourself silly. Here’s a quick round-up of commonly encountered Roman specialties: Potato Pizza – I don’t like potatoes, but I like this. Potato pizza is one of the only things I remember from my trip to Rome 20 years ago. Then, […]

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Santi Vincenzo e Anastasio a Trevi

Santi Vincenzo e Anastasio may look like an ordinary church, but it contains a rare treasure: 25 popes’ embalmed hearts. In marble urns. This was originally the parish church for the Quirinal Palace, which was built as a papal summer residence (it’s now the president’s home). The popes who inhabited the palace, from Sixtus V […]

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Il Vittoriano

You can’t help but continually encounter Il Vittoriano, this monstrosity that sits like a giant iceberg amongst blocks of old, mid-rise structures. Turn a corner, there it is. Catch a ride in a taxi, there it is. It seems easy enough to avoid Piazza Venezia, the square in which it is located, but somehow you […]

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Basilica di Santa Cecilia

Being in Trastevere is like being in an old Italian village rather than in Rome, and it was even more of a treat coming upon this interesting church. The first church on this site was likely founded in the 3rd century by Pope Urban I and was devoted to the Roman martyr Cecilia (patron saint […]

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Piazza San Pietro

Bernini strikes again, this time on the largest canvas, Piazza San Pietro, in the smallest sovereign state, Vatican City. The vast square, measuring 340 meters x 240 meters, contains 284 columns. 140 saints are perched above. The two semi-circular colonnades represent the motherly arms of the church. The 25-meter tall obelisk is from Heliopolis in […]

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