Friday, June 17, 2016

Rome Part 2 - A Sensory Overload of Beauty

Rome has it all: history, ruins, architecture, art, religion, food, drink, shopping, and of course, crowds and traffic. 

There's so very much to see in such a compact space that it's almost overwhelming. There's virtually no time for reflection to take in what you've just seen because you really do move from one bit of awesome to another.

Because the tourist part of the city is small, it's easy to walk anywhere you want to go. But it takes a long time to get anywhere because around every corner lurks something fabulous that deserves a closer look: whether it's a square, a church, some restaurants, some shops, a fountain, or just a tucked away corner that appears peaceful, serene and beautiful.

Just a short alley tucked around the corner of a short street.

Even the river's flood walls look good.

A little known fact about Kerry: he totally geeks out when anything Roman appears on his radar. He gets focussed, intense, and a strange look of what I'll call glee settles upon his face. He can't actually get enough. He'll also march past a gelato shop en route to a ruin, even though the rest of us are slowly baking in the hot sun on the shadeless, uphill walk. It's not that the rest of us aren't interested, we just don't mind taking a bit longer to get there.

There are Roman ruins everywhere in Rome. There's a chunk of the city with no metro stops because as a tunnel starts getting dug, more ruins are found, and work must stop. It really is quite unbelievable how many ruins remain.

Once we realized that many "new" buildings were generally just built on Roman foundations, we began seeing columns everywhere we looked. We found this one just down the street from our AirBnb apartment.

Religion has played an important role in Rome. The Vatican brings a whole host of religious visitors wandering the streets. 

The religion also brings the churches. And because Italians appreciate art, and benefactors paid for artists, the inside of the churches are stunningly beautiful. Each one is unique, and within each one there is some hidden treasure. We never got into that much detail ever, but it was fun popping into them to see sculptures

painted ceilings,

stunning altars,

and massive organs.

The churches are all free, and mostly open during the day. I could add so many more photos, but no need to pummel you with them.

Naturally, where there are churches, there are church bells. There is no sound more spectacular. We could hear church bells in our second apartment. I think the kids got tired of hearing, "SHHHH! Listen."

And of course, you need a break from all this beauty that can be found in the cafés and restaurants that can be found everywhere. I know some people get all snobby about stopping in "tourist" spots, but sometimes it's quite fabulous to stop in a tourist spot to be able to look out over an awesome square, or sculpture, or to people watch. And compared to other places we've been, meals in Rome were not that pricey.

So it's an interesting place to visit. You can go hard all day, walking all over the city, yet it's so easy to stop for a break to relax in a café and soak up the atmosphere. Also, there are a variety of drinking fountains around the city, and people actually do drink the water. So much better than either packing a whole lot of water, or paying a small fortune for a bottle of water.

And if you happen to walk too far or for too long, taxis are easy to find, and fairly affordable. 

We may never return with the kids, but Rome is definitely on my list of places to return with Kerry.

In my next post, read how the kids survived being dragged around ruins and churches that I have no doubt all started to look the exact same to them.

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