Hello from the Serenade of the Seas once again!
We are wrapping up a day at sea after a great time in Rome!
I hope the last post wasn’t too confusing since I typed it on the day we were in Livorno, but published it yesterday due to Internet troubles. Sorry about the switching back and forth between current and past tense!
Yesterday we took a 9 hour tour to Rome which was incredible! We started the day with a drive from Civitavecchia into Rome. At first Rome was just like any city, lots of Hotels, Stores, Offices, and Pedestrians. As our guide Marco said, Rome is just like New York, but once you cross the ancient Brick City Wall, you are hit with 3,000 years of History. That’s what NY doesn’t have. A good portion of the buildings in Rome are older than the USA itself! Old Rome is like walking through a museum.
We started out with the Colosseum, which is actually a nickname for the Roman Amphitheater.
After the Romans adopted Christianity, they stopped the practice of watching people and animals fight to the death and the Colosseum was no longer used.
When a major earthquake occurred after the empire fell, the Catholic Church took much of the marble and bronze from the Colosseum, and other Roman landmarks such as the Panthenon, and used those materials to build St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican.
We visited Circus Maximus, which was the Roman’s favorite spot after the Colosseum’s time. It was the largest and most elaborate Chariot Racing Track in the World! Now after many years, I mean over 1,000 years, all that’s left is a large grass field, with Julius Caesar’s Palace on the opposite side on Palatine Hill. Of course, with each new emperor after Caesar, starting with his adopted son, they remodeled, or in some cases, built new palaces, all in the same area on or around Palatine Hill.
We visited the Roman Forum, filled with ruins of the greatest and most powerful empire to ever exist. After passing by the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, we went to a nice restaurant where I had what may be the best pizza I’ve ever eaten!
Now, for what I had been looking forward to all day, the Vatican!
We started off in the Vatican museum, where even though the millennium-old statues and tapestries were the highlight, even the ceiling details made my jaw drop!
The Sistine Chapel was overwhelming as well, but I wasn’t able to soak in the masterpiece of the ceiling, painted by Michelangelo because of the disrespectful tourists who think its okay to take a flash photo in a holy place where electronics must be turned off!
Once we entered the Basilica itself, once again, I was hit by a wave of sights that I cannot even start to describe. All I can say is that it was incredibly beautiful, and taking photos is so difficult because they don’t even capture 1% of the magnificence of St. Peter’s Basilica. Before exiting the Basilica, we went down to the Grottoes, where many Popes, going back over 1,500 years, are buried. It was so peaceful down there, as it should be.
Now, it was time to go back to the ship, but first, how can you leave Rome without getting a gelato? That’s exactly what we did on our way back to the port!
Well, the day after tomorrow we will be arriving bright and early in Piraeus, Greece and spending the day in Athens! I’m looking forward to it, but also enjoying these relaxing sea days on the beautiful Serenade of the Seas!
Tonight is formal night and were eating at the Italian Restaurant, Portofino, soon to be renamed “Giovanni’s Table”.
Here are the long awaited photos, but first, I would like to thank everyone who has been following our trip so far! I truly appreciate it :-)
Here is exterior and interior shots of the colosseum.