Friday, June 08, 2007

Day 6: Rome

Our last full day in Rome was spent being driven around by Renzo, our personal driver. :) He picked us up at 11am and first we went to the St. Sebastian catacombe, where we did another underground tour of mausoleums. Not as cool as the Scavi tour, but fascinating nonetheless. It was cool cause we got there right as we were afraid it was about to close for lunch, but they were actually only 5 minutes from starting the next English tour.

Here's the catacombe entrance; I wasn't allowed to take pictures of much else:

Next we headed up to St. John Lateran, the pope's actual parish. Are you surprised to hear it isn't St. Peters?

The Pope's "throne"

Behind the gold bars above the altar are two golden statues representing Sts. Peter and Paul. The statues are said to contain relics of the saints' heads. Wow.

A cool chapel off to the side of the altar.

After St. John Lateran, we were starving and went to another little outdoor restaurant for lunch. This place looked like a pizzeria, but it served gourmet Italian food. Here is my lunch, the fettucine primavera:

Num num num. That wine was pretty fantastic too.

After lunch, we went right up the street to Santa Maria Maggiore, or St. Mary Major. This was the fourth and final of the major patriarchal churches of Rome, which consist of St. Peter, St. Paul's-Outside-the-Walls, St. John Lateran, and St. Mary Major.

After our brief visit there, we headed back to St. John Laterans to see the Scala Santa, or Sacred Stairs, which reopened after lunch at 3:30. These are the stairs that descended from Pontius Pilate's temple that Christ himself was said to have walked up and down several times on the day of his Passion. The stairs were disassembled and brought to Rome, and reassembled here. There are reputedly places on the stairs where you can still see drops of blood. The stairs are so holy you can only go up them on your knees.

We were pretty awed at seeing them but we did not go up.

Next we drove over to Piazza Navona, a huge piazza with three fountains, although the biggest one in the center was sadly under construction. Oh well.

From there we drove over a couple of streets to the Pantheon, the most well-preserved ancient building in all of Rome. It is now actually a Catholic church called St. Mary and the Martyrs.

After that it was time to head back to the ol' apartment.

View walking in to the apartment from the foyer.

We fixed another dinner of cheese and crackers and I journaled again for most of the evening. We had an intereseting escapade with an escaped sock off our balcony and had to construct a fishing mechanism to go after it:

And here is the view of the sunset out our kitchen window:

Next: The return home.

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