We just arrived in Florence, having walked 15 minutes from the train station. We have three days in Florence in a grand apartment with a view across the Arno (thanks Air BnB!), and tonight we’re off to a cooking class (thanks Christine and Mike!).
Anyway, I thought I would post a few images from yesterday’s tourist blitz through Rome. We started the morning at the Forum and Palatine Hill, then hustled through the crowds into the Colosseum, then bussed across the city to the Vatican Museums, finishing things off with a visit to St. Peters, and dinner and wine (and, uh, beer too). It was a long day, with miles of walking and blistering heat (37 degrees C), but we kept our spirits up by reminding ourselves that being in Rome is a major privilege. And by laughing a bit at the miserable looks on the faces of many of our over-walked, over-heated tourist buddies, a sight you pretty much only have to turn your head to see virtually anywhere in the city.
Thanks to the wonders of modern technology, I did up the majority of this blog post via the wifi network on our train ride, while speeding along at 250km per hour (thanks 2015!).
When we leave Florence in a few days, we’ll be mostly done with the bigger cities on this trip, and plan to slow things down a bit. Maybe then we’ll get some blog posts put together with a bit more depth. In the meantime, just look at these pretty pictures and pithy captions (thanks readers!).
Laura enjoys the view from the Palatine Hill over the Roman Forum. The Palatine was the site of Rome’s imperial palaces, while the forum was the heart of civic life.
The view southeast from the Palatine with what’s left of the Colosseum in the distance.
Portrait busts of Emperors Trajan and Nero. Two very different emperors; two very similar missing noses.
More busts. A young Marcus Aurelius and Emperor Hadrian (with nose!).
On the left, ancient art (a bust of the Greek Perikles). On the right, modern art (a bunch of water bottles abandoned in a stairwell at the Vatican museums).
The statuary collection in the Vatican Museums is almost certainly one of the finest in the world, with remarkably preserved statues from the classical era. These works were hugely influential to artists in the renaissance. When they were unearthed and rediscovered (mostly in the 1500-1800s) they kicked off a new wave of humanism in the arts, breaking a thousand years of medievalism.
Detail, floor mosaic, Vatican Museums. I am so totally stealing that border pattern and colour scheme in a graphic design project…
The Laocoön Group. Seriously one of the finest pieces of sculpture ever created. Also, a rich and remarkable history of the object itself. Go read the wikipedia entry. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laoco%C3%B6n_and_His_Sons Incidentally, the looks of agony on the faces of Laocoön and his sons, while being devoured by sea serpents, is not unlike the look on the faces of many of Rome’s grumpy, sweaty, and tired summer tourists.
St. Peter’s Basilica.
St. Peter’s Basilica.
The view from our hotel. There is a happening gay bar on the street level next door, and with temperatures int he city staying above 30 degrees even into the night, the party invariable moves out onto the street.