Europe 1979 – 10 – Italy: Rome

Looking out our hotel room window in Rome.
Rome 1979

This was our view of Rome from our hotel room window. I don’t know what hotel we stayed at, but I do remember, Rome as having a lot of traffic.

Of course we saw all the iconic sights, including the Colosseum. However, like the Leaning Tower of Pisa, I was surprised at how small the Colosseum was. It was so much bigger in my mind.

Inside the Colosseum
Betty, Jerry and Diane
Inside the Colosseum

Outside the Colosseum, there were a number of vendors selling souvenir items. Each vendor was set up on a small table and offered various items. The initial price of something was set high, and shoppers would bargain the price lower. It was kind of fun to make an offer, be refused, and then be called back as you started to walk away. This was a new experience for us American tourists.

Our tour guide had advised us if we see something we want, do the best we can bargaining the price. Then, after our purchase, just be happy with the item. Don’t worry if you got the best deal or not. Just enjoy what you bought. I think this is good advice for most purchases in life, not just those made in Europe. Once the deal is done, move on!

Souvenir Books which I still have today

I did purchase, from those Colosseum vendors, two books about Rome. I also purchased a similar style book when we were in Florence. In Berlin, I bought a book entitled, “It Happened at The Wall.” That book was written in four languages. I still have all those books.

We also kept seeing statues of three monkeys gesturing the classic “Hear no evil, See no evil, Speak no evil.” After a while, a person starts thinking he or she needs a statue like this. If you ever travel through Missouri, you’re going to think you need some walnut bowls. I sure don’t know how these monkey statues became the go to souvenir for us tourists, but they were everywhere. Here we are with our own version:

Three members of our tourist group acting out, "Hear no evil.  See no evil.  Speak no evil."

One attraction, I could have spent much more time at was the Roman Forum. This is the kind of place where I would enjoy taking a guided tour. But we had other sights to see including: The Olympic Village where the Olympics were held in 1960. We also saw the Vittoriano, the Trevi Fountain, and The Pantheon.

The Roman Forum
The Olympic Village
The Vittoriano
The Pantheon

Vatican City

You know what they say. When in Rome… you also visit Vatican City.

St. Peter’s Square
Betty with three other members of the tour group in St. Peter's Square.
St. Peter’s Square

And, of course, we visited the Sistine Chapel. I remember my neck getting tired. I just kept wanting to look up. It was hard to take it all in.

Sistine Chapel

We went inside St. Peter’s Basilica. As someone who was raised Catholic, I found it hard to believe I was really here – amid the foundations of my very faith and the great art work created centuries earlier glorifying those foundations.

The Apse of St. Peter’s Basilica

But the most beautiful thing I saw while visiting Rome/Vatican City , without a doubt, was Michelangelo’s “Pieta.” I could have stood and looked at it for hours. I would love to say my prayers while in the presence of the Pieta. I remember hurrying back to the statue right before we left, so I could look at it one more time.

I remember my dad saying he had seen the Pieta when he served in WWII. He said back then, a person could walk up to it and touch it. However, in 1972 the Pieta was damaged by a man with a hammer. It was repaired as best as possible. When I visited in 1979, I remember the Pieta as being placed back in an alcove protected by a clear barrier. Even so, the beauty came through and is still in my heart today.

The Pieta

Next up: It’s amore Italy!

27 comments

  1. So beautiful! I saw the Pieta at the World’s Fair in Brooklyn, not too far from where parts of my family lived and grew up. I stood before it for at least an hour and prayed. I still remember. I was totally mesmerized like you. It was in the distance you could not get very close but the beauty and truth flowed out to touch everyone.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I did not realize the Pieta ever traveled from St. Peter’s. How wonderful for you to see it! Your words are a testament to the power and beauty of the Pieta. I am glad to know you were mesmerized by it, too.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Today we got a glimpse of those college-age students! What fun! And to think you stood in the same space as your father during WWII, and in places at those historic and religious locations where millions of others have stood and marveled at the beauty and awe of their surroundings.

    Liked by 1 person

    • And I looked at the same block of marble that Michelangelo looked at, too! Isn’t it amazing to think you’ve stood in the “same place” or are visiting a place where something historical happened? When my daughter sent me a selfie when she was visiting Ellis Island – where my grandmother came through – I teared up. To think they were both at the same place – three generations apart.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I am continuing to enjoy hearing about your journey. It is interesting to think about how these important places have changed over time and for tourists. I remember going to Philadelphia with my family in the early 1970’s. You could walk right up to the Liberty Bell and touch it. When I saw it again years later it was also behind plexiglass and you could not get up close.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I am glad you are still enjoying the posts! There was another attraction which, when I looked at it online, seemed to have undergone a number of improvement all around it. There seemed to be an improved walkway, more like a plaza. My memories are so faded though, so who knows? I also think attractions everywhere are much more crowded. I have never seen the Liberty Bell. Maybe someday I will! Hope you have a great day!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. My wife went to Rome a few years ago with her two sisters and saw many of the sites you saw. I have not been and although I was not raised Catholic, I am now and would love to see Rome.

    I can relate to how you felt as I was once in Jeruselum and Bethlehem and got to see His birthplace and Golgotha. It sent chills all over me placing my hands at His birthplace. Returning to Jerusalem, as we were walking up to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, I saw Roman numerals along some of the walls and shuddered to realize I was walking the actual Stations of the Cross. Inside the church, I got to place my hands in the hole in the ground where His cross stood. It was an amazing, electrifying experience.

    I am enjoying your tour and look forward to more.

    Liked by 1 person

    • What an amazing experience you had! My brother and his wife went to the Holy Land a couple years ago. It was a wonderful experience for them. But I do recall they did not go into Bethlehem. I don’t recall the exact reason, but I believe there was some kind of hostility there. What an experience to have walked the actual stations of the cross and to be where the actual cross stood. I would think doing so would change a person for the rest of his or her life. I hope you and your wife get to visit Rome. That would be a great post to read!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Great pictures and “tour guide” level background info—with a little humor thrown in. Your point about Missouri and being tempted to buy some walnut bowls made me smile. Anyone who’s driven across your state on interstate 44 has seen the dozens of billboards advertising the one of kind walnut creations.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You can buy your walnut bowl right after you visit Meramec Caverns! 🙂 Thank you, David. I always appreciate you reading and your comments. Hope you have a great day tomorrow!

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    • You are welcome. I’ve always loved books. I still read a lot, but as I’ve gotten older, I pare down what I have and what I buy. Hope you have a great day!

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    • I would love to see it through your eyes, too. I am sure you saw so much more than me on my tour. And I always enjoy your insight to the area. Have a great day!

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    • You are so welcome. It’s funny how I remember some tiny details, but then I have no recollection of other events. I guess that is life. When I got home and had my slides developed, I wrote on each slide what it was. That was the smartest thing I did. However, I did have a stack without anything written. So, I think, even then, there was stuff I couldn’t remember where it was exactly. We did so much! I also converted the slides into digital media in 2014. So, I can tell the slides degraded a bit in those 35 years. I am glad I have what I do and remember what I do. I like that advice about enjoying what you bought, too. For some reason, that has always stuck with me. I appreciate how you always read and comment on my posts. It’s encourages me. Hope you have a great rests of the week!

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