Saturday, June 7, 2014
He notes that the "noisy neo-Gothic facade from the 1870s is covered with pink, green, and white Tuscan marble." (This photo obscures the church's most impressive dome.)
Posted by Retiring Guy at 2:46 PM
Construction of the 278-foot tower started in 1334 and was completed in 1359.
These views were our reward for ascending 414 steps.
Looking to the east, maybe a bit southeast. The Bargello National Museum is at center right. Santa Croce Church is just above center.
Looking south. The Palazzo Vecchio, the castle-like building with tower, is at center. The Arno River is just beyond.
Looking north. Find the yellow wall just left of and slightly below center. That's where we're staying, at the Hotel Europa.
For those of you who have been following along -- yes, the weather has been perfect every day.
Posted by Retiring Guy at 2:18 PM
Friday, June 6, 2014
Might as well use this series of photos.
After aggressively tailgating any vehicle impeding his progress on the 20-minute drive from the Fiumicino airport to our destination on Viale Trastevere, our van driver deposited us in front of a large, black metal gate that didn't exactly say, "Welcome!"
The street-level entrance. We were given a key to get through this point.
After finding which one of the 36 buttons to push, and waiting about 30 seconds for a response, Desiree, one of the owners of the B&B greeted us in heavily accented English and buzzed us in.
"Go to the second floor," she instructed.
As we recalled from our Paris trip, the second floor is two flights up: ground, first, second, etc.
The first set of stairs
Once we reached a courtyard, my concerns about our location, based on the first impression of the metal gate, started to evaporate.
Walkway to a double set of doors.
Doors. We were given a second key to open this door. I think this is still considered ground level.....
....as we still have 2 more flights to climb.
Double doors leading to our section of the B&B (3 bedrooms and a kitchen). We were given a third key for this door.
We were in room 2. And key #4.
The Red Room
A view from the balcony.
Overall, we were very pleased with the accommodations, amenities, and Desiree's and Davide's great hospitality.
B&B Zen Trestevere
Posted by Retiring Guy at 4:14 PM
On August 24, 79 A.D., Mt. Vesuvius exploded and spewed tons of molten ash, pumice, and sulfuric gas into the atmosphere. Pompei, with a population of 20,000 at the time, and other communities in the area, were buried under a thick layer -- 20 meters, according to our tour guide -- of volcanic material and mud. The number of people killed by this natural catastrophe varies from account to account. So far the range that I've found is 2,000 to 16,000, with more of the estimates in the lower range.
As you can see from the following series of photos, taken on Thursday, June 5, the volcanic eruption both destroyed and preserved Pompei.
Entrance to Baths
Entryway to home (floor is original)
No chariots allowed beyond this point
Posted by Retiring Guy at 12:33 PM
Although in this case, the more elaborate facade heightens the expectations of what will be seen inside.
The Church of St. Louis of the French . Construction started in 1518, was interrupted in 1527 by the sack of Rome, and completed in 1589.
Posted by Retiring Guy at 10:52 AM
Anfter a 3 1/2-hour return road trip from Sorrento yesterday, we weren't in the mood to travel a mere 30 minutes by bus and train to visit Ostia, the ancient port city of Rome. No more ruins, in other words.
As an alternative, we walked a meandering route to the Pincio Gardens, stopping at whatever location caught our attention along the way.
Such as the Basilica of Santa Maria above Minerva. Groundbreaking took place in 1280, and the church, of Gothic design, was completed in 1370. Many changes have been made since then.
Exterior (note the pigeons)
One of the chapels
Posted by Retiring Guy at 10:18 AM
The iconic dishes of Chicago? Chicago Eater put together a list of 20. Seriously.
In my view, in order to be iconic, one image should come immediately to mind, not an entire smorgasbord.
After 5 days in Rome, the Colosseum represents the iconic image of the city for me. It is instantly recognizable by name and place, andit's been around for 19 centuries.
The view here is from Palatine Hill, and it's my favorite of the many I've taken of the Colosseum.
Posted by Retiring Guy at 3:06 AM
Since the majority of the buildings in this center of Ancient Rome are much reduced -- not much more than rubble, in many cases --and were built over a period of centuries, I found it difficult to get a clear sense of the layout, particularly the streets of the Forum as they would have been constructed in the 1st and 2nd centuries A.D.
On the other hand, Pompei, with its well-preserved grid of streets, came to life as a community, thanks to our knowledgable tour guide.
Posted by Retiring Guy at 2:21 AM
Thursday, June 5, 2014
Take your first right-hand turn and you'll end up on a narrow street where chariots, once upon a time, deposited men looking for some satisfaction.
Yes, their destination was a house of prostitution, and a series of frescos painted on the walls offered them a visual menu of options.
Any of which positions took place in a room like this.
Clearly, the bed survived the 79 A.D. eruption of Mt. Vesuvius, but the pillows did not.
Our tour guide explained that the initial discovery of this erotic art during excavations that began in the 18th century was a source of great embarrassment.
Posted by Retiring Guy at 5:01 PM
It certainly doesn't look like much today. (Photo taken from Palatine Hill, perhaps near the perch of Emperor Augustus' imperial box.)
But imagine, 1900 years ago, a stone and marble stadium, 2000 feet long and 500 feet wide, that could seat more than 200,000.
Imagine chariot races, athletic events, and gladiatorial combats.
More than once while in Rome, I've wanted to take a trip in Mr. Peabody's Wayback Machine.
"Set the dial to 103 A.D., Sherman."
Posted by Retiring Guy at 1:36 PM