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.
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!
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:
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.
You know what they say. When in Rome… you also visit Vatican City.
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.
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.
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.
Next up: It’s amore Italy!