Rome and its sheer depth of history and beauty

Rome.

This was the first city I visited when I brought myself to Europe more than 10 years ago. And, I’ve been here one more time since then. But there’s something about this city that draws me back to it. Part of it for sure is that I am enamored by the depth of its history.

Although there are a number of things I have in mind to do, one of those things is to visit and feature a Catholic Church a day. Truth is, I am drawn to the history and the art of these churches. I hope you are too.

Me waiting at the Sorrento train station to take the Circumvesuviana, the commuter train, to the Naples Central Railway station so I can then take my high speed train to Rome’s Termini train station. May 24, 2017

The church of Santa Maria della Vittoria, also called Our Lady of Victory, to the left and the Fontana dell’Acqua Felice also called the Fountain of Moses in Rome, Italy. May 24, 2017

The exterior of the Santa Maria della Vittoria church, begun in 1605 as a chapel, is known for the masterpiece “Ecstasy of Saint Teresa” by noted Italian sculptor and architect Gian Lorenzo Bernini (1598-1680) in the Cornaro Chapel to the left of the high altar. May 24, 2017

The interior of the Santa Maria della Vittoria church, begun in 1605 as a chapel, is known for the masterpiece “Ecstasy of Saint Teresa” by noted Italian sculptor and architect Gian Lorenzo Bernini (1598-1680). May 24, 2017

A close-up of the altar inside the Santa Maria della Vittoria church, begun in 1605 as a chapel, in Rome, Italy. May 24, 2017

The ceiling of the Santa Maria della Vittoria church depicting the Virgin Mary Triumphing over Heresy in Rome, Italy. May 24, 2017

It’s called the “Ecstasy of SaintTeresa” by noted Italian sculptor and architect Gian Lorenzo Bernini (1598-1680) in the Santa Maria della Vittoria in Rome, Italy. The white marble sculpture is to the left of the high altar in the Cornaro Chapel. St. Teresa, a nun from Avila, Spain, described in her autobiography her religious experience, regarding her encounter with an angel who stabbed her with God’s arrow of fire, and the ecstasy she felt. May 24, 2017

A close-up of the “Ecstasy of SaintTeresa” by noted Italian sculptor and architect Gian Lorenzo Bernini (1598-1680) in the Santa Maria della Vittoria in Rome, Italy.

The life-size high relief of the witnesses or more like voyeurs, watching the swooning nun St. Teresa and the angel with the spear on the side wall of the Cornaro Chapel in the Santa Maria della Vittoria church in Rome, Italy. The men watching are the portraits of Cornaro family donors. May 24, 2017

A close-up of the Corner family donors in the side wall Corner Chapel in the Santa Maria della Vittoria church in Rome, Italy. May 24, 2017

Statue inside the Santa Maria della Vittoria church in Rome, Italy. May 24, 2017

Statue inside the Santa Maria della Vittoria church in Rome, Italy. May 24, 2017

Statue inside the Santa Maria della Vittoria church in Rome, Italy. May 24, 2017

The Fontana dell’Acqua Felice, also called the Fountain of Moses was built from 1585 to 1588 in Rome, Italy. May 24, 2017

The Fontana dell’Acqua Felice, also called the Fountain of Moses was built from 1585 to 1588 in Rome, Italy. Water flows from the statues into basins, where four lions are spouting water. May 24, 2017

A close-up of one of the sculptures of the Fontana dell’Acqua Felice, also called the Fountain of Moses, in Rome, Italy. May 24, 2017

A close-up of the statue of Moses at the Fontana dell’Acqua Felice, also called the Fountain of Moses, which was built from 1585 to 1588 in Rome, Italy. May 24, 2017

It is a city but it is also its own country and its leader is called the Pope. The fortified Vatican City contains St. Peter’s Basilica, the Apostolic Palace, the Sistine Chapel, the Vatican museums and various other buildings. Just like this is my third time in Rome, this was also my third time at Vatican City. There’s no distinct border separating Vatican City from Rome and no passport control but there is heavy security and a litany of tourists who make their way daily to the seat of the Roman Catholic Church and home to some of the world’s artistic masterpieces collected through the centuries.

The wall and the entrance to the Vatican Museum in Vatican City, Italy. Vatican City is an independent city-state that covers just over 100 acres and is governed by the Pope. It has a population of about 1,000 and prints its own stamps, issues passports and license plates and operates its own media outlets. May 25, 2017

A scaled wooden miniature of Vatican City at the visitor’s entrance to the Vatican Museums in Italy. May 25, 2017

The modern double helix staircase, also in the Pio-Clementine Museum, and commonly referred to as the “Bramante Staircase”, was designed by Giuseppe Momo in 1932 and was inspired by the original Bramante Staircase. This staircase, like the original, is a double helix, having two staircases allowing people to ascend without meeting people descending in the Vatican Museums in Vatican City. The original stair case built in 1505 was designed by Donato Bramante. May 25, 2017

The Fontana della Pigna or “The Pine cone” is a former Roman fountain that has decorated a niche in the wall of the Vatican facing the Cortile della Pigna, located in Vatican City, in Rome, Italy, which is now under renovation. May 25, 2017

The globe, a modern piece of art, in the Pinecone courtyard in the Vatican City. The actual pine cone niche, which this courtyard is named after, is covered because it’s being restored. May 25, 2017

The large head sculpture of Emperor Ceasar Augustus in the Cortile della Pigna of the Vatican Museums in Vatican City, Italy. May 25, 2017

The Vatican Museum courtyard in Vatican City, Italy. May 25, 2017

The Gallery of the Tapestries of the Vatican Museums in Vatican City in Italy, are based on designs by the school of Raphael. The large tapestries, which are made from the most precious materials like gold thread, silk and wool, took in some cases, nine years to make. This tapestry represents the life of Jesus Christ. May 25, 2017

The Resurrection of Christ in the Tapestries Gallery of the Vatican Museum, Italy. May 25, 2017

Another part of the Vatican Museums in Vatican City, is the Gallery of Maps which were based on drawings by geographer Ignacio Dante and painted between 1580 and 1585. May 25, 2017

Detailed map of Italy, Sicily and Corsica in the Gallery of Maps of the Vatican Museums. May 25, 2017

The ceiling of the Gallery of Maps of the Vatican Museums, is quite a masterpiece in and of itself. May 25, 2017

Above the exit door to the Gallery of Maps at the Vatican Museums in Vatican City, Italy. May 25, 2017

Room of the Immaculate Conception in the Vatican Museums in Vatican City, Italy. May 25, 2017

The beautiful and graphic marble in-laid floor of the Room of the Immaculate Conception in the Vatican Museums in Vatican City, Italy. May 25, 2017

The Belvedere Courtyard of the Vatican Museums in Vatican City, Italy. May 25, 2017

It’s called “The School of Athens” fresco by Raphael and it’s one of my most favorite paintings in the Vatican Museums…aside from Michelangelo’s paintings in the Sistine Chapel. May 25, 2017

A close-up of Raphael’s “The School of Athens,” features a number of individuals representing philosophy but the image of the man seated to the right wearing boots is said to be a young Michelangelo portraying Heraclitus. May 25, 2017

An elder Plato (Leonardo da Vinci) walks alongside Aristotle (Pope Julius II) in the center of “The School of Athens” fresco by the Italian Renaissance artist Raphael. It was painted between 1509 and 1511 as a part of Raphael’s commission to decorate the rooms now known as the Stanze di Raffaello, in the Apostolic Palace at the Vatican in Vatican City, Italy. May 25, 2017

Another close-up of Raphael’s “The School of Athens,” features a number of individuals representing philosophy but the image of the man in the right corner with the black cap is the artist himself, Raphael as Apelles. May 25, 2017

As a quilter, I am always amazed by the beautiful inlaid marble work that decorate the floors of a number of the Vatican Museum galleries. May 25, 2017

More beautiful inlaid marble work that decorates the floors of a number of the Vatican Museum galleries. May 25, 2017

Something that you’re not supposed to do, which I did with my iPhone, is to take photos inside of the Sistine Chapel in Vatican City, Italy. This photo does not capture the majesty of Michelangelo’s work. The ceiling frescoes, of the Creation, were painted between 1508 and 1512 and the Last Judgement (the back wall) was painted between 1535 and 1541. May 25, 2017

A portion of Michelangelo’s stunning Sistine Chapel ceiling in Vatican City, Italy. May 25, 2017

The hall leading to the entrance of St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City, Italy. May 25, 2017

The Holy Door, of St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City, Italy, is opened only for great celebrations. May 25, 2017

The cavernous interior of St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City, Italy. May 25, 2017

The bronze canopy over the High Altar of St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City, Italy. Designed by the Italian artist Gian Lorenzo Bernini, the canopy, in a monumental way, marks the place of Saint Peter’s tomb underneath. May 25, 2017

Another one of Michelangelo’s famous works is the Pieta inside St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City, Italy. May 25, 2017

A close-up of Michelangelo’s Pieta inside St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City, Italy. May 25, 2017

There are a number of gorgeous statues inside St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City including this Monument to Pope Pius VIII by Pietro Teheran. May 25, 2017

And, here’s another group of statues inside St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City, Italy, the Monument to Pope Leo XI by Algarve. May 25, 2017

The Swiss Guard in their distinctly Renaissance attire at their post in Vatican City, Italy, are tasked to protect the Pope. May 25, 2017

A close-up of the Swiss Guard who have been protecting the Popes since 1506. The dress uniform is of blue, red, orange and yellow with a distinctly Renaissance appearance. May 25, 2017

The exterior of St. Peter’s Basilica, considered the holiest of Catholic shrines, in Vatican City, Italy. May 25, 2017

One of the colonnade’s designed by Italian sculptor, architect and city planner, Gian Lorenzo Bernini in Vatican City’s St. Peter’s Square. May 25, 2017

St. Peter’s Square in Vatican City, Italy. May 25, 2017

The fortification walls around the Vatican were built following an attack by the Saracen pirates in 846 AD. Pope Leo IV ordered the construction of the 39 foot tall wall, which was mostly completed in 852, to protect the basilica. The walls continued to be expanded and modified until the 1640s. May 25, 2017

The thing about Rome that I love is everywhere you turn, there’s history, especially ancient history. And, in Rome’s case, that ancient history melds with modern times. And, I don’t just mean 21st century modern times, I mean modern European history times from the 15th century. And, today, I got to indulge historically in a place that I’ve seen from the outside each time I’ve been to Rome, but never explored it internally. Then I saw it featured in the movie, “Angels and Demons” as the “Chapel of the Illuminati” from author Dan Brown’s book starring actor Tom Hanks. It is the Castle Sant’Angelo and it has been in existence, initially as a Mausoleum for Emperor Hadrian, since being built in 130’s AD.

And, my featured church for today is San Giovanni in Laterano or St. John Lateran, considered the first Christian church built by Emperor Constantine the Great who set aside his pagan beliefs to worship Christ the Savior.

I got to the Castel San’Angelo (Castle of the Holy Angel) early this morning, which is why the Ponte Sant’Angelo, the pedestrian bridge leading to the castle, was virtually empty in Rome, Italy. Initially commissioned by the Roman Emperor Hadrian as a mausoleum for himself and his family, this circular structure was later used by the popes as a fortress and castle, and is now a museum. May 28, 2017

The mausoleum of emperor Hadrian, along with the bridge, was renamed Sant’Angelo during the Middle Ages, when…as the story goes…Pope Gregory Magnus saw a vision of St. Michael the Archangel on top of the mausoleum, sheathing his sword. And, to the Pope, that meant that the end to the terrible plague that was ravaging Rome in 590 AD. May 28, 2017

Ponte Sant’Angelo bridge, as seen from Castel Sant’Angelo in Rome, Italy, was during the Middle Ages the bridge pilgrims used to reach St. Peter’s Basilica. The original wood bridge, through the years, has been transformed to this bridge which Italian sculptor Gian Lorenzo Bernini’s school of sculptors contributed to in the 1670’s. The Bernini bridge project called for ten angels holding instruments related to the Passion of Christ. May 28, 2017

A close-up of one of the 10 marbled angels (this one holding the Crown of Thorns) along the Ponte Sant’Angelo, the bridge leading to the Castel Sant’Angelo in Rome, Italy. Italian sculptor Gian Lorenzo Bernini’s students created the statuses all holding an in instrument of the Passion of Christ. Italian sculptor Gian Lorenzo Bernini and his son Paolo sculpted the original statue, which is at Sant’Andrea delle Fratte in Rome. May 28, 2017

A close-up of one of the 10 marbled angels (this one holding the whips used for the 39 lashes) along the Ponte Sant’Angelo, the bridge leading to the Castel Sant’Angelo in Rome, Italy. Italian sculptor Gian Lorenzo Bernini’s students created the statuses all holding an in instrument of the Passion of Christ. May 28, 2017

The exterior portion of Castel Sant’Angelo in Rome, Italy, that shows the foundation of the original Hadrian mausoleum and as you move up, the addition of the fortification and castle. May 28, 2017

This is a secret corridor escape route created by the popes that connects the Vatican walls to the Castle Sant’Angelo in Rome, Italy. It guaranteed the safety of popes in dangerous situations. May 28, 2017

The ancient and massive round ramp linking Hadrian’s tomb to a huge niche that once housed the emperor’s statue in Castel Sant’Angelo in Rome, Italy. By the Middle Ages the tomb had gradually become a papal military stronghold and castle. May 28, 2017

This large niche in Castel Sant’Angelo in Rome, Italy, use to house a colossal statue of emperor Hadrian who lived from 76-138 AD when it was his and his family’s mausoleum. May 28, 2017

A papal room in Castel Sant’Angelo, Rome, Italy, that was decorated to the pope’s liking while spending time at the castle/fortress for the pope’s protection. May 28, 2017

Archangel Michael the bronze statue at the top of Castel Sant’Angelo in Rome, Italy. May 28, 2017

The view of Vatican City from atop Castel Sant’Angelo in Rome, Italy. May 28, 2017

A view Rome from the roof of Castel Sant’Angelo, including the Monumento Nazionale a Vittorio Emanuele II (“National Monument to Victor Emmanuel II”) built to honor Victor Emmanuel, the first king of a unified Italy. Unification took place in 1861. May 28, 2017

The Vatican wall that reaches to Castel Sant’Angelo was used by popes (through a passageway at the top) to escape danger at the Vatican during the Middle Ages in Rome, Italy. May 28, 2017

San Giovanni in Laterano, St. John Lateran, in Rome, Italy, became by the order of Constantine the Great, the first Christian church consecrated in 324 AD. It also became the official residence and cathedral of the Catholic popes for the first millennium of Christian history. St. John Lateran suffered many disasters and has evolved over time. May 25, 2017

A close-up of the statues on the exterior of San Giovanni in Laterano or St John Lateran in Rome, Italy. Ordered by Rome’s first Christian Emperor, Constantine the Great, it became the Popes’ own cathedral and official residence for the first millennium of Christian history. May 25, 2017

The statue of Emperor Constantine the Great at San Giovanni in Laterano or St John Lateran in Rome, Italy. Constantine dedicated this original church to Jesus the Savior confirming Christ’s superiority over the pagan gods. May 25, 2017

The high altar and the 14th-century Gothic canopy of the San Giovanni in Laterano or St. John Lateran, in Rome, Italy. May 25, 2017

Above the 14th century Gothic ciborium at the high altar of the St. John in Lateran in Rome, Italy, are the appearance of Saint Peter and St. Paul. May 25, 2017

The papal cathedra or throne in the apse of the presence of San Giovanni in Laterano or St. John Lateran, in Rome, Italy. May 25, 2017

The decorated ceiling of the San Giovanni in Laterano or St. John Lateran, in Rome, Italy. May 25, 2017

The 15th century mosaic and stone chipped floor inlaid in a geometric pattern in San Giovanni in Laterano or St. John Lateran, in Rome, Italy. May 25, 2017

The 15th century mosaic and stone chipped floor inlaid in a geometric pattern in San Giovanni in Laterano or St. John Lateran, in Rome, Italy. May 25, 2017

The 15th century mosaic and stone chipped floor inlaid in a geometric pattern in San Giovanni in Laterano or St. John Lateran, in Rome, Italy. May 25, 2017

Across the street from St. John Lateran in Rome, Italy, is the Lateran Palace which houses the Scala Santa, the legendary staircase Jesus descended after being condemned by Pontius Pilate. May 25, 2017

A close-up of the Lateran Palace in Rome, Italy, which houses the Scala Santa, the legendary staircase Jesus descended after being condemned by Pontius Pilate. May 25, 2017

The Scala Santa or Holy Stairs, are white marble steps encased in wooden ones and pilgrims scale the stairs on their knees. The Scala Santa, across the street from St. John Lateran in Rome, Italy, are said to be the legendary staircase Jesus descended after being condemned by Pontius Pilate. May 25, 2017

A full and rather hot day in Rome so I really just took my time and didn’t overload myself. But, I did get to two places that were on my list: the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore and the Basilica of St. Peter in Chains. Yes, both are venerable Catholic Churches still conducting mass and in different ways sharing their lengthy histories and art with faith and piety. Check out the art of Santa Maria Maggiore with its Gian Lorenzo Bernini’s staircase and tomb and St. Peter in Chains magnificent Michelangelo statue of Moses.

Not your typical Italian fare and certainly not a health conscious meal either, but this is what I ordered for a late lunch today at the Hard Rock Cafe in Rome. I just couldn’t eat anymore pizza, pasta or bread. I couldn’t eat it all, but I did put a hurting on the spring rolls, the Tupelo chicken tenders and even the wings. Sometimes a girl just needs her comfort foods. May 29, 2017

The Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore in Rome, Italy, was built in the 5th century was according to medieval tradition was erected after the Virgin Mary appeared in a dream to both a Pope and a pious Roman asking for the construction of a church dedicated to her on a place where the snow would fall. That snow day came on Aug. 5, 358 on the summit of the Esquiline Hill in Rome. May 27, 2017

The Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore in Rome, Italy. May 30, 2017

A close-up of the clock of the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore in Rome, Italy. May 30, 2017

The interior of the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore in Rome, Italy, with its 5th century mosaic panels above the columns along the sides; its 13th century mosaic floors from the central nave and its 15th century lacunae ceiling gilded with the first gold brought from America. May 29, 2017

The papal altar and the baldacchino of the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore in Rome, Italy. May 29, 2017

The 13th century “Coronation of the Virgin” mosaic on the apse of the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore in Rome, Italy. May 29, 2017

A close-up of the baldacchino, at the papal altar, of the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore in Rome, Italy. May 29, 2017

Under the high altar of the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore in Rome, Italy, is the Crypt of the Nativity or Bethlehem Crypt, with a crystal reliquary designed by Giuseppe Valadier said to contain wood from the Holy Crib of the nativity of Jesus Christ. May 29, 2017

The crypt-chapel and statue of Pope Pius IX under the high altar of the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore in Rome, Italy. May 29, 2017

Under the high altar of the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore is the Crypt of the Nativity or Bethlehem Crypt, with a crystal reliquary designed by Giuseppe Valadier said to contain wood from the Holy Crib of the nativity of Jesus Christ. May 29, 2017

The tomb of Italian sculptor and architect Gian Lorenzo Bernini (1598-1680) and family inside the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore in Rome, Italy, where so much of his work can be seen, including a set of spiral steps he designed for the apartment of the priests at the basilica. May 29, 2017

The 13th century mosaic floors that run down the center of the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore in Rome, Italy, from the front door to the central nave. May 29, 2017

The 13th century mosaic floors that run down the center of the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore in Rome, Italy, from the front door to the central nave. May 29, 2017

The 13th century mosaic floors that run down the center of the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore in Rome, Italy, from the front door to the central nave. May 29, 2017

A view of the left side nave area of the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore in Rome, Italy, featuring the Borghese Chapel. May 29, 2017

Inside of the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore’s Borghese Chapel in Rome, Italy, where a small mass is being held. May 29, 2017

A close-up of the ancient icon of the Madonna and child known as “Salus Populi Romani” (Salvation of the Roman people) inside the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore’s Borghese Chapel in Rome, Italy. It’s said to have been painted by Saint Luke the Evangelist. This icon, according to a centuries-old tradition, was carried in the procession from Santa Maria Maggiore to Saint Peter’s Basilica to end the plaque raging through the city. On that occasion, the Archangel Michael appeared atop Hadrian’s Mausoleum re-sheathing his sword as a sign that the plague would end. From that moment, the mausoleum was renamed Castel Sant’Angelo. May 29, 2017

The Baptistery of the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore in Rome, Italy. May 29, 2017

A close-up of the Baptistery statue of St. John The Baptist of the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore in Rome, Italy. May 29, 2017

The ancient mosaic façade of the upper loggia, which can only be seen through a special guided tour, are the 13th century mosaics that illustrate the origin of the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore in Rome, Italy. The scenes trace the dreams that inspired the basilica and its location. The angels, which originally were placed on the top of the baldacchino over the main altar, were removed and placed here on the logia. May 29, 2017

A close-up of the dream scene of the ancient 13th century mosaics on the facade of the upper loggia of the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore in Rome, Italy. May 29, 2017

A close-up of the 13th century mosaics on the facade of the upper loggia of the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore in Rome, Italy. May 29, 2017

The apartment inside the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore in Rome, Italy, of Pope Paul V Borghese born Camillo Borghese and who was Pope from 1605 until his death in 1621. May 29, 2017

A wood closet in the apartment of Pope Paul V Borghese inside the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore in Rome, Italy. May 29, 2017

Ancient writings in the apartment of Pope Paul V Borghese inside the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore in Rome, Italy. May 29, 2017

The spiral staircase designed by sculptor and architect Gian Lorenzo Bernini in the private section or the apartments for the priests at the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore in Rome, Italy. May 29, 2017

The Piazza dell’Esquilino with the apse area or outside rear area of the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore. May 27, 2017

A quick selfie by the enormous and wonderful ruins of the ancient Colosseum as I made a mad dash to get to the Basilica of St. Peter in Chains. There will be more about the Colosseum later this week when my friend and travel buddy, Bonnie, arrives. May 29, 2017

 

The exterior of the Basilica of St. Peter in Chains in Rome, Italy, best known for being the home of Michelangelo’s statue of Moses. May 29, 2017

The interior of the Basilica of St. Peter in Chains in Rome, Italy. May 29, 2017

A close-up of the interior of the Basilica of St. Peter in Chains in Rome, Italy. May 29, 2017

A close-up of the canopy top and the painting of the apse inside the Basilica of St. Peter in Chains in Rome, Italy. May 29, 2017

The famous chains of St. Peter are preserved in a bronze urn beneath the high altar of the Basilica of St. Peter in Chains in Rome, Italy. According to tradition, the chains were said to hold St. Peter during his imprisonment in Jerusalem and were given to Pope Leo the Great, who already had the chains of St. Peter’s incarceration in the Mamertine Prison in Rome. When the Pope put the two chains together, they miraculously fused to form a single set of chains. May 29, 2017

The 18th century fresco on the ceiling center is called “The Miracle of the Chains” inside the Basilica of St. Peter in Chains in Rome, Italy. In this scene, Pope Alexander heals the neck goiter of Saint Balbina by touching her with the chains that once bound St Peter. May 29, 2017

The tomb of Pope Julius II, with the sculpture of Moses by Michelangelo, in the Basilica of St. Peter in Chains in Rome, Italy. Since 1545, the right transept of the basilica has held one of the greatest masterpieces of the 16th century, the Moses by Michelangelo. It was sculpted in 1513 as part of a funerary monument for Pope Julius II. May 29, 2017

Michelangelo’s famous Moses statue, part of Pope Julius II’s tomb, inside the Basilica of Peter in Chains in Rome, Italy, depicts the biblical figure of Moses with horns on his head. This is based on a description in chapter 34 of Exodus, the Latin translation of the Bible used at that time. When coins are put into a donation box, a light shines on Moses. May 29, 2017

Another view of Michelangelo’s famous Moses statue, part of Pope Julius II’s tomb, inside the Basilica of Peter in Chains in Rome, Italy. May 29, 2017

There’s so much to see and do in Rome that I’ve honestly had to pace myself, so yesterday was a chill day while today was a tour day. This morning I took a “Rome: Off the Beaten Path” tour which covered the Jewish Ghetto, the Appian Way and the ancient aqueducts still providing water to the city.

Tomorrow, my dear friend and travel cohort Bonnie arrives in Rome from Dallas, Texas, for 14 days of Italy and Malta travels. But tonight, I got to enjoy dinner with mother/daughter duo Lorraine and Amy, who hail from Texas, and like me are enjoying their travels through Italy.

It may look like the colosseum but this is actually the remains of the Theater of Marcellus, once an open air theatre, in Rome, Italy. Park of the tour “Rome: Off the Beaten Path” began and ended here with a walk through the remains of the original Roman Jewish ghetto. May 31, 2017

The Fontana delle Tartarughe in Piazza Mattei in Rome, Italy, and just behind it was a wall built to separate the Jewish Ghetto from Rome. At the time of its construction, there was almost no where to get fresh water. This was supposed to have been built inside of the Jewish Ghetto but Muzio Mattei, whom the square is named after, used his influence to have the fountain built in front of his residence. May 31, 2017

The Via dei Falegnami a street through the remains of the original Jewish Quarter…more commonly called the Jewish Ghetto, in Rome, Italy. Presently the area is surrounded by the ruins of the Teatro of Marcellus, the ancient remains of the Portico of Octavia and the Great Synagogue of Rome. Established in the mid-1500’s, more than 2000 Jewish people lived in a two block walled area with gates that were locked at night. The Jewish community, which was basically imprisoned by the wall, was required to also pay for the wall. This area of Rome was one of the most undesirable quarters of the city because it was subject to constant flooding by the Tiber River. May 31, 2017

These “stumbling stone” plaques can be found along the streets in the Jewish Quarter of Rome as a powerful reminder of the Jewish people from this community who died in the concentration camps of Auschwitz, Germany. After Rome was occupied by the Nazis, more than 1,000 Roman Jews were mercilessly hunted down on Oct. 16, 1943 and transported to Auschwitz. Each plaque, imbedded into the street, details the victim’s name, date of birth, date and place of deportation, and date of death in a Nazi extermination camp. May 31, 2017

Remains of the original Jewish Ghetto in Rome, Italy, include this building, still in use, which was built on top of an existing Roman structure. Since the overcrowded Jewish Ghetto could not expand beyond the two blocks and the wall, it had to grow upwards.May 31, 2017

When Bonnie arrived in Rome, she wanted to see the Jewish Ghetto in Rome, Italy, so I went back with her and took this photo of the Roman remains on the same building with the Roman columns by a restaurant called Bar Toto on Via del Portico d’ottavio. This area has a unique mix of ancient, medieval and Renaissance architecture along with a number of kosher restaurants, cafes and shops. June 3, 2017

A close-up of the Roman structure that the Jewish community built their homes on top of because they could not expand beyond the two blocks and the wall in Rome’s original Jewish Ghetto. May 31, 2017

The thriving area of Rome’s former Jewish Ghetto is now a unique mix of ancient, medieval and Renaissance architecture along with a number of kosher restaurants, cafes and shops. June 3, 2017

The Via del Portico d’Ottavia street in Rome, Italy, where a present-day restaurant meets with Roman ruins in the former Jewish Ghetto. May 31, 2017

The Via del Portico d’Ottavia street in Rome, Italy, where a present-day restaurant meets with Roman ruins in the former Jewish Ghetto. June 3, 2017

The Via del Portico d’Ottavia street in Rome, Italy, where a present-day restaurant meets with Roman ruins in the former Jewish Ghetto. June 3, 2017

The former Jewish Ghetto in Rome, Italy. June 3, 2017

The Via del Portico d’Ottavia street in Rome, Italy, where a present-day restaurant meets with the ruins of the Portico d’Ottavia or Portico of Octavia, built by Emperor Augustus in the name of his sister Octavia Minor sometime after 27 BC, in the Jewish Quarter. May 31, 2017

After occupying Rome, Italy, the Nazi’s conducted a raid and hunted down more than 1,000 Roman Jews, including children. Children, from newborn to age two, were brought to this area of the ghetto, by the Portico of Octavia, and killed by the Nazi’s. May 31, 2017

The Great Synagogue of Rome was constructed shortly after the unification of Italy in 1870 when the Papal States ceased to exist. Police presence is deployed at the synagogue to prevent attacks. In 1982, armed Palestinian militants attacked the synagogue at the close of the morning Sabbath service. One person, a toddler, was killed. May 31, 2017

The past and the future seem to come together at this corner in Rome, Italy, from the Jewish Quarter (with the Great Synagogue of Rome in the middle) to the remains of the Theater of Marcellus (left) and the Portico of Octavia (right). May 31, 2017

The open-air Theater of Marcellus in Rome, Italy, was completed in 13 BC and formally inaugurated in 12 BC by Emperor Augustus and named for his nephew, Marcus Claudius Marcellus. The theatre fell out of use in the early 4th century and the structure, like the Colosseum and other structures in Rome, was used as a quarry to build and decorate the Catholic Churches. Now the upper floors are divided into multiple apartments. Rumor has it that Italian film actress Sophia Loren, whose acting career blossomed in the 1950’s, has an apartment here. May 31, 2017

A fortified section of the ancient Aurelian Walls close to the Porta San Sebastiano gate that leads to the Via Appia of the Alpian Way. The walls were built between 271 AD and 275 AD. May 31, 2017

The tomb of Caecilia Metella is a mausoleum located along the Alpian Way in Rome, Italy. It was built during the 1st century BC to honor Caecilia, the daughter of Quintus Caecilius Metellus Creticus, a Consul in 69 BC, and wife of Marcus Licinius Crassus, the son of Marcus Crassus who served under Julius Caesar. May 31, 2017

A close-up of Caecilia Metella’s tomb which can be found along the Alpian Way in Rome, Italy. It’s one of the most well known and well preserved monuments along the Alpian Way. May 31, 2017

The remains of the ancient Alpian Way in Rome, Italy, named after Appius Claudius Caecus, the Roman censor who began and completed the first section as a military road in 312 BC. May 31, 2017

My feet self or footsie (Thanks Amy) on the ancient rocky road of the Alpian Way in Rome, Italy. May 31, 2017

Me at the Park of the Aqueducts in Rome, Italy, by the ancient Aqua Claudia aqueduct remains. May 31, 2017

The aqueduct in the Park of the Aqueducts in Rome, Italy. The park, named after the aqueducts that go through it, contains part of the ancient Aqua Claudia aqueduct remains. Emperor Caligula began the aqueduct in 38 AD but it was finished by Emperor Claudius in 52 AD. May 31, 2017

The aqueduct in the Park of the Aqueducts in Rome, Italy. May 31, 2017

The pipe of the aqueduct in the Park of the Aqueducts in Rome, Italy, that still carries water into the city of Rome. May 31, 2017

Enjoyed having dinner in Rome, Italy, tonight with these two Texas ladies, mother Lorraine and daughter Amy whose last stop on their Italy travel journey is Rome. Gratzi! And, I had a great time ladies! May 31, 2017

Salute! From two Texas ladies, Lorraine and myself, enjoying the wonders of Rome! May 31, 2017

Basking in the Roman sun, while delving into its ancient and Renaissance history, during an afternoon walking tour with my dear friend and travel buddy, Bonnie, in Rome, Italy.

Bonnie made it to Rome, Italy, ready to hit the streets on Thursday so we took an afternoon tour of Ancient Rome by way of the Colosseum, Roman Forum, the Trevi Fountain, Pantheon and Piazza Navona. All under the very hot Roman sun while walking on the hard and hot ancient cobblestones. June 1, 2017

The cleaned up and always stunning Colosseum of Rome, Italy. The massive stone amphitheater was commissioned around A.D. 70-72 by Emperor Vespasian of the Flavian dynasty as a gift to the Roman people. June 1, 2017

Inside the ancient remains of the Colosseum in Rome, Italy. June 1, 2017

Inside the ancient remains of the Colosseum in Rome, Italy. June 1, 2017

Inside the ancient remains of the Colosseum in Rome, Italy. June 1, 2017

From the Colosseum we moved on to the ancient Forum in Rome, Italy, where the crowds and the heat were still in high gear. The Forum was considered the public life center of ancient Roman. This is the remains of the Temple of Romulus…I just love that purple and green combo. June 1, 2017

The Forum in Rome, Italy. June 1, 2017

The Temple of Antoninus and Faustina is the ruins of an ancient Roman temple along the Via Sacra in Rome, Italy’s, Forum. It was built by emperor Antoninus Pius (A.D. 86-161) to honor of his wife, the empress Faustina (who died in A.D. 141). After Antoninus died, the temple was dedicated to both. In the Middle Ages, the temple was converted to a church and then much of its stone was used to build and decorate other churches. June 1, 2017

The Temple of Antoninus and Faustina is the ruins of an ancient Roman temple along the Via Sacra in Rome, Italy’s, Forum. The grooves in the upper portion of the columns are said to be rope marks used to pull the columns down. June 1, 2017

The crowded streets of Rome, Italy. June 1, 2017

The streets and alleyways in Rome are paved with these hard core cobblestones. The bottom of my feet and my shoes took a beating as we walked through through the cobblestone streets of Rome. This is not a complaint, just a fact because I love everything that we got to see…even through the heat. The old cobblestones, known as “sampietrini” are made of bevelled stones of black basalt and placed one next to the other. June 1, 2017

The huge white marbled National Monument of Vittorio Emmanuelle II, often called “the wedding cake” by locals, was named in honor of its first king after Italy was unified in 1861. June 1, 2017

The Obelisk of Montecitorio in front of the Italian Chamber of Deputies in Rome, Italy. The ancient Egyptian obelisk functions as a solar clock and was brought to Rome around 10 BC by Emperor Augustus. June 1, 2017

A close-up of the Obelisk of Montecitorio in Rome, Italy. June 1, 2017

The stunning “Trevi Fountain” in Rome, Italy. By the time we got to the fountain, we were tired and it was crowded, but we hope to go back…before we leave Rome…so we can throw our coins into the fountain. June 1, 2017

The Pantheon, a Roman temple turned Catholic Church, was commissioned during the reign of Emperor Augustus but the present day building was completed by Emperor Hadrian around 126 AD. June 1, 2017

Inside the very crowded Pantheon, a Roman temple turned Catholic Church, in Rome, Italy. June 1, 2017

The crowds gather around the tomb of Raphael, an Italian painter and architect of the High Renaissance, inside the Pantheon in Rome, Italy. Many of Raphael’s works can be found in the Vatican, including my favorite, “The School of Athens.” June 1, 2017

Gian Lorenzo Bernini’s statues on the “Fountain of the Four Rivers” with an Egyptian obelisk, in the middle of the Piazza Navona in Rome, Italy. June 1, 2017

A close-up of Gian Lorenzo Bernini’s statues on the “Fountain of the Four Rivers” with an Egyptian obelisk, in the middle of the Piazza Navona in Rome, Italy. June 1, 2017

While walking back to our hotel, Bonnie and I came across this cute little street, Via della Pilotta, in Rome, Italy, with its succession of romantic arches. June 1, 2017

The sun setting on the Forum in Rome, Italy, over the columned remains of the Temple of Saturn (to the left) and the Temple of Vespasian and Titus (to the right). June 1, 2017

The sun setting on the Colosseum in Rome, Italy. June 1, 2017

While Rome, and various other parts of Italy, were celebrating during the Festa della Repubblica…the Italian National Day to commemorate June 2 when Italians, in 1946, voted in favour of a republic and against the monarchy, Bonnie and I were villa visiting in Tivoli, Italy.

During our day tour from Rome, we visited the remains of Emperor Hadrian’s Villa and the stunning terraces, gardens and sculptured water fountain features of the Villa d’Este. It’s interesting that in the 16th century when Cardinal Ippolito II d’Este built his Villa d’Este he used much of the remaining marble and statues in Hadrian’s Villa to decorate his own villa.

The entrance to Villa Adriana or Hadrian’s Villa in Tivoli, Italy, is called the Poecile. The villa, now a large Roman archaeological complex, was once the retreat of Emperor Hadrian from Rome in 117 AD. June 2, 2017

Once you cross the Poecile, there is this huge garden surrounded by a rectangular swimming pool at Hadrian’s Villa, a large Roman archaeological complex at Tivoli, Italy. June 2, 2017

Beyond the entrance and rectangular swimming pool are the ruins of the Large and Small Baths of Hadrian’s Villa at Tivoli, Italy. The Roman Baths were public and an important part of their everyday lives. Baths were built using fireproof terracotta bricks and the finished buildings were usually sumptuous affairs with fine mosaic floors, marble-covered walls, and decorative statues. June 2, 2017

The Canopus at Hadrian’s Villa in Tivoli, Italy, is a long water basin embellished with columns and statues that culminate in a temple topped by an umbrella dome. June 2, 2017

The statues of Canopus, a long water basin, at Hadrian’s Villa in Tivoli, Italy. June 2, 2017

The ruins of a sauna, with its large vaulted-arch ceilings at Hadrian’s Villa in Tivoli, Italy. June 2, 2017

The remains of doric pillars at Hadrian’s Villa in Tivoli, Italy. June 2, 2017

The ruins of Hadrian’s’ Villa in Tivoli, Italy. June 2, 2017

The remains of doric pillars at Hadrian’s Villa in Tivoli, Italy. June 2, 2017

The remains of doric pillars at Hadrian’s Villa in Tivoli, Italy. June 2, 2017

Me all geared up during our walking tour of Hadrian’s Villa in Tivoli, Italy. Thank you Bonnie for the photo. June 2, 2017

The cute little city of Tivoli where our tour group had a very quick lunch together before heading to the Villa d’Este in Tivoli, Italy. June 2, 2017

The old town square in Tivoli, Italy. June 2, 2017

The exterior of the Church of St. Mary Major, better known as St. Francis Church next to the entrance of the Villa d’Este in Tivoli, Italy. June 2, 2017

Inside the Church of St. Mary Major, better known as St. Francis Church in Tivoli, Italy, with is sun ray altar is located next to the entrance of the Villa d’Este in Tivoli, Italy. June 2, 2017

The cosmatesque (geometric decorative inlay stonework) floor inside the Church of St. Mary Major, better known as St. Francis Church in Tivoli, Italy, was made around the 13th century. June 2, 2017

The cosmatesque (geometric decorative inlay stonework) floor inside the Church of St. Mary Major, better known as St. Francis Church in Tivoli, Italy, was made around the 13th century. June 2, 2017

The cosmatesque (geometric decorative inlay stonework) floor inside the Church of St. Mary Major, better known as St. Francis Church in Tivoli, Italy, was made around the 13th century. June 2, 2017

The signage leading to the entryway gate of the Villa d’Este in Tivoli, Italy. The 16th-century villa is famous for its terraced hillside Italian Renaissance gardens and its profusion of fountains. June 2, 2017

Entering the palace portion of the Villa d’Este in Tivoli, Italy, brings you to a hallway with the remains of rustic interior fountains along the left side of the hallway called the “Manica Lunga.” June 2, 2017

Close-up of the mosaic on the ceiling in the hallway called the “Manica Lunga,” at the Villa d’Este in Tivoli, Italy. June 2, 2017

Hall of the Fountain room in the palace portion of the Villa d’Este in Tivoli, Italy. June 2, 2017

Close-up of the fountain in the Hall of the Fountain room in the palace portion of the Villa d’Este in Tivoli, Italy. June 2, 2017

A painting of the fountains at the Hall of the Fountain room in the palace portion of the Villa d’Este in Tivoli, Italy. June 2, 2017

This walkway at the Villa d’ Este in Tivoli, Italy, is called the “Hundred Fountains” but it is actually contains three times as many with different animal faces as single fountains. June 2, 2017

A close-up of the various animal fountains along the walkway of the “Hundred Fountains” at the Villa d’ Este in Tivoli, Italy. June 2, 2017

A close-up of one of the various animal fountains along the walkway of the “Hundred Fountains” at the Villa d’ Este in Tivoli, Italy. June 2, 2017

The egg-shaped Oval Fountain at the Villa d’Este in Tivoli, Italy. June 2, 2017

Bonnie and I at the Oval Fountain at the Villa d’Este in Tivoli, Italy. June 2, 2017

The stunning Fountains of Neptune and Organ at the Villa d’Este in Tivoli, Italy, and the fish pond that leads from these waterfalls. June 2, 2017

The fish ponds that lead from the Fountains of Neptune and Organ at the Villa d’Este in Tivoli, Italy. June 2, 2017

A beautiful green pathway leading to the Fountain of the Owl at the Villa d’ Este in Tivoli, Italy. June 2, 2017

Looking down to the Fountain of the Owl at the Villa d’ Este in Tivoli, Italy. June 2, 2017

The view leading up a sloping staining to the progression of loggia at the Villa d’Este in Tivoli, Italy. June 2, 2017

The Fountain of the Bicchierone (large drinking glass) by the Italian artist and sculptor Gian Lorenzo Bernini at the Villa d’Este in Tivoli, Italy. June 2, 2017

Two days of grand art in two different places, a villa and a palace, both in Rome and both with their own version of exquisite art: the Palazzo Colonna and the Borghese Gallery.

The Palazzo Colonna, with its gorgeously over the top Baroque decor, has belonged to the prestigious Colonna family for over 20 generations and is one of the oldest and largest private palaces in Rome.

The Borghese Gallery was the 1600’s party villa for Scipione Borghese, the nephew of Pope Paul V, but what I love and why I come back again and again is to see the sculptures, displayed in the spaces for which they were intended, by the Italian sculptor and artist Gian Lorenzo Bernini.

Bonnie and I have made our way to the island of Malta, an archipelago in the central Mediterranean between Sicily and the coast of North African. But in the meantime, enjoy the views of the Palazzo Colonna and the Borghese Gallery in Rome.

The main courtyard entrance to the Palazzo Colonna in Rome, Italy. June 3, 2017

This isn’t called the Great Hall Gallery in the Palazzo Colonna in Rome, Italy, for nothing. It is a Baroque-fest in grand style and quite the interior entrance with its stunning art, sculptures and ceiling frescoes. The commemorative 17th century ceiling frescoes of Marcantonio II Colonna and the Battle of Lepanto are by Giovanni Coli and Flippo Gherardi. The Palazzo’s Great Hall Gallery even made a cameo appearance in the 1953 movie “Roman Holiday” starring Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck. June 3, 2017

Part of the commemorative 17th century ceiling frescoes of Marcantonio II Colonna and the Battle of Lepanto are by Giovanni Coli and Flippo Gherardi on the ceiling of the Palazzo Colonna in Rome, Italy. June 3, 2017

Part of the commemorative 17th century ceiling frescoes of Marcantonio II Colonna and the Battle of Lepanto are by Giovanni Coli and Flippo Gherardi on the ceiling of the Palazzo Colonna in Rome, Italy. June 3, 2017

Looking through the Great Hall Gallery to the Hall of the Battle Column at the Palazzo Colonna in Rome, Italy. June 3, 2017

A portion of the ceiling Frisco’s by the Hall of the Battle Column at the Palazzo Colonna in Rome, Italy. June 3, 2017

This 17th century ebony and ivory jewelry chest is in the Hall of Landscapes Gallery which is on one end of the Great Hall Gallery at the Palazzo Colonna in Rome, Italy. This gorgeously carved piece basically shows the back-breaking work of slaves or servants who were required to carry this jewelry chest and other back-breaking work at the time. June 3, 2017

A close-up of the top portion of the 17th century ebony and ivory jewelry chest is in the Hall of Landscapes Gallery which is on one end of the Great Hall Gallery at the Palazzo Colonna in Rome, Italy. June 3, 2017

This is a ceiling fresco in the Hall of Landscapes, attached to the Great Hall at the Palazzo Colonna in Rome, Italy. This 17th century fresco is an allegory of the victory of Marcantonio II Colonna at Lepanto. The Battle of Lepanto was a naval engagement involving a coalition of European Catholic states arranged by Pope Pius V against the Ottoman Empire sailing from their naval station in Lepanto. This rowing vessel battle took place in 1571 and the Catholics defeated the Ottomans. The frescoes on the ceilings of the Palazzo Colonna are as impressive as the paintings on the walls. June 3, 2017

The frescoed entrance hall of the Palazzo Colonna in Rome, Italy. June 3, 2017

A close-up of one of the frescoes from the entrance hall of the Palazzo Colonna in Rome, Italy. June 3, 2017

This gorgeous fresco is actually on the ceiling of a room in the Palazzo Colonna in Rome, Italy. June 3, 2017

Yes, there’s even a Tapestry Room in the Palazzo Colonna in Rome, Italy. This 17th century tapestry is part of the queen Artemisia series. June 3, 2017

This is the Pink Room in the Palazzo Colonna in Rome, Italy, with its collection of Flemish paintings. June 3, 2017

This room is the Fountain Room with busts of various Roman emperors and the 15th century water fountain at the Palazzo Colonna in Rome, Italy. June 3, 2017

The Colonna Princess room, the apartment formerly used by Princess Isabelle, at the Palazzo Colonna in Rome, Italy. June 3, 2017

The Colonna Princess room, the apartment formerly used by Princess Isabelle, at the Palazzo Colonna in Rome, Italy. June 3, 2017

The Colonna Princess room, the apartment formerly used by Princess Isabelle, at the Palazzo Colonna in Rome, Italy. June 3, 2017

The Ball Room inside the Palazzo Colonna in Rome, Italy. June 3, 2017

The Colonna coat-of-arms on the floor of the Ball Room inside the Palazzo Colonna in Rome, Italy. June 3, 2017

The Mascherone Room in the Palazzo Colonna in Rome, Italy, with its Roman sarcophagus was once a laundry. The basin, columns and floor tiles are Roman antique originals. June 3, 2017

My feet selfie on the gorgeous quilt-like patterned…Roman antique styled floor tiles in the Palazzo Colonna in Rome, Italy. June 3, 2017

The exterior of the Borghese Gallery in Rome, Italy. June 4, 2017

The gardens of the Borghese Gallery, from a staircase inside of the museum, in Rome, Italy. These are the gardens close to the gallery, but the gardens are actually rather extensive. June 4, 2017

The gallery in which Gian Lorenzo Bernini’s “Rape of Proserfina,” is displayed at the Borghese Gallery in Rome, Italy. The story goes: “Proserpina, daughter of Jupiter and Ceres, was noticed by Pluto, king of the underworld, who fell in love with her and abducted her as she was gathering flowers at Lake Perugia, near Edna in Sicily. In her riff and anger, her mother Ceres, abandoned the fields causing a great dearth of food. Jupiter sought to find a solution through mediation of Mercury: Proserpina would spend nine months with her mother, favoring the abundance of the harvest, while over the three winter months, she would return to Pluto,” according to a book on Bernini. June 4, 2017

A close-up of Gian Lorenzo Bernini’s “Rape of Proserpina” sculpted 1621-1622 can be seen at the Borghese Gallery in Rome, Italy. Bernini was only twenty-three years old at the completion of this sculpture which shows, even through the carving of hard marble, Apollo’s hands gripping the fold of Proserpina’s skin. June 4, 2017

“Aeneas, Anchises and Ascanius Fleeing Troy,” by Gian Lorenzo Bernin at the Borghese Gallery in Rome, Italy, was sculpted when the artist was just 19-years-old. This sculpture depicts Aeneas’ flight from Troy, bearing on his shoulders his elderly father Anchises who is carrying the container with their ancestors’ ashes. The third figure of the group is the young Ascanius who is carrying the eternal flame from the Temple of Vesta. June 4, 2017

A detailed close-up of the back of Gian Lorenzo Bernini’s “Aeneas, Anchises, and Ascanius Fleeing Troy,” at the Borghese Gallery in Rome, Italy. June 4, 2017

All these people have come to see my most favorite Gian Lorenzo Bernini sculpture, “Apollo and Daphne,” at the Borghese Gallery in Rome, Italy. The tale is: Apollo pursues Daphne who changes into a laurel tree in order to escape him. June 4, 2017

A close-up of Gian Lorenzo Bernini’s “Apollo and Daphne” in the Borghese Gallery in Rome, Italy, depicts the transitory moment of metamorphosis when Daphne changes into a laurel tree as she seeks to escape Apollo’s pursuit. This is my most favorite Bernini sculpture. June 4, 2017

Gian Lorenzo Bernini’s version of “David”, sculpted 1623-1624, can be seen at the Borghese Gallery in Rome, Italy. Bernini shows his David in the moment of action, portraying the hero grimacing with tension and effort. June 4, 2017

Our Borghese Gallery tour guide, Paolo, telling us about this gorgeous sculpture of Pauline Bonaparte by Antonio
Canova at the Borghese Gallery in Rome, Italy. Paolo, who works at the gallery, really brought the various paintings, sculptors and frescoes to life with histories. June 4, 2017

Although Pauline Bonaparte agreed to posing nude for this sculpture by Antonio Canova, she did it only for her husband’s eyes. However, the sculpture, reigns gloriously for all to see at the Borghese Gallery in Rome, Italy. June 4, 2017

The room in the Borghese Gallery in Rome, Italy, with a “Gladiator Mosaic” flooring collection depicting gladiators that I had not seen before but were totally impressed by. June 4, 2017

Discovered in 1834 at Torrenova, these floor mosaics, dated around 320 AD, at the Borghese Gallery in Rome, Italy, depicts gladiators during combat while also displaying the name of each individual fighter. June 4, 2017

Most gladiators were slaves during the Roman Empire. They would entertain audiences by fighting each other or wild animals. These mosaic, seen on the floor of the Borghese Gallery in Rome, Italy, depicts the aftermath of the battle between Gladiator Astivus, who lies dying on the ground and Gladiator retiarius Astacius, about to strike the fatal blow with his dagger. June 4, 2017

A close-up of the gladiator mosaics, dated around 320 AD, on the floor of the Borghese Gallery in Rome, Italy. These incredible mosaics are dated as 320 AD and discovered in 1834 at Torrenova. Some of the mosaics depict gladiators during combat while also displaying the name of each individual fighter. June 4, 2017

Another close-up of the gladiator mosaics, dated around 320 AD, on the floor of the Borghese Gallery in Rome, Italy. June 4, 2017

Ending with the man of the hour, a self-portrait of Gian Lorenzo Bernini in middle-age, circa 1630-1635, the architect, town-planner, sculptor, painter, draftsman, engraver and even a playwright. However, the field in which he truly excelled was sculpture, starting with his training in the workshop of his father, Pietro where he produced his first works. This self-portion is displayed at the Borghese Gallery in Rome, Italy. June 4, 2017

A youthful self-portrait of Gian Lorenzo Bernini, circa 1623, next to the bust portrait he created of Scipione Borghese, completed in 1632 at the Borghese Gallery in Rome, Italy. June 4, 2017

On this Sicily/Italy and Malta trip, I was able to spend 12 days in Rome, eight on my own and four with Bonnie. And, while doing so, I really got to see quite a bit, most of which I’ve already shown above but some, I just didn’t get a chance to post and write about so I’m doing it now. And, since I like some form of order, I’ve set up three different sections:

CHURCHES: Here is a spattering of things I’ve seen in Rome that are St. Paul’s Outside the Walls and the Basilica of Santa Maria sopra Minerva. My initial goal was to feature a church/basilica/cathedral a day, but I got carried away by other things and didn’t get a chance to include these….so here they are.

ARCHITECTURAL AND OTHR THINGS OF NOTE: including the Mouth of Truth, Capitoline Hill, the Spanish Steps and the Piazza del Popolo.

THE MARDONNELLE MONUMENTS: various gorgeous street corner miniature Madonna monuments that can be found all over Rome.

THE FOUNTAINS: The Fountains of Rome are another incredible element that makes Rome, Rome. The ones featured here, the Fountain of the Niads in the Piazza della Repubblica, the Fontana della Barcaccia (Fountain of the Ugly Boat) by the Spanish Steps, the Triton Fountain in the Forum Boarium, the Triton Fountain in the Piazza Barberini, the three fountains of the Piazza Navona and last, but not least, the Trevi Fountain.

CHURCHES: St. Paul’s Outside the Walls and the Basilica of Santa Maria sopra Minerva

The Basilica of St. Paul outside the Walls is one of Rome’s four ancient, major Papal basilicas in Rome, Italy. The Basilica was founded by the Roman Emperor Constantine I over the burial place of St. Paul, where it was said that, after the Apostle’s execution. May 25, 2017

The front of the Basilica of St. Paul outside the Walls in Rome, Italy, with a large statue of Saint Paul stands in the centre of the atrium. The statue was sculpted by Giuseppe Obici (1807-1878). May 25, 2017

The interior of the Basilica of St. Paul outside the Walls in Rome, Italy. May 25, 2017

The interior of the Basilica of St. Paul outside the Walls in Rome, Italy. May 25, 2017

The interior of the Basilica of St. Paul outside the Walls in Rome, Italy, with its medallions that depict all the popes throughout history. May 25, 2017

The tabernacle at the apse of the Basilica of Basilica of St. Paul outside the Walls in Rome, Italy. May 25, 2017

The apse mosaic of the Basilica of Saint Paul outside the Walls in Rome, Italy, was made by Venetian artists. Christ is flanked by the Apostles Peter, Paul, Andrew and Luke. May 25, 2017

The altar inside the Papal Basilica of St. Paul outside the Walls in Rome, Italy, where a marble tombstone bares the Latin inscription PAULO APOSTOLO MART (Apostle Paul, martyr). In 61 A.D. Paul arrived in Rome to undergo judgment and was beheaded between 65 and 67 A.D. His body was buried two miles away from the place of his martyrdom. May 25, 2017

The Pope medallians inside the Basilica of St. Paul outside the Walls in Rome, Italy. May 25, 2017

The Piazza della Minerva is located behind the Pantheon and is part of the Basilica of Santa Maria sopra Minerva in Rome, Italy. The Elephant and Obelisk is a sculpture designed by the Italian artist Gian Lorenzo Bernini. The elephant was probably executed by his assistant Ercole Ferrata; the Egyptian obelisk was uncovered during nearby excavations. June 3, 2017

A close-up of the Elephant and Obelisk sculpture in the Piazza della Minerva outside of the Basilica of Santa Maria supra Minerva in Rome, Italy. June 3, 2017

The interior of the Basilica of Santa Maria sopra Minerva in Rome, Italy. The church’s name derives from the fact that the first Christian church structure on the site was built directly over the ruins or foundations of a temple dedicated to the Egyptian goddess Isis, which had been erroneously ascribed to the Greco-Roman goddess Minerva. June 4, 2017

The high altar of the Basilica of Santa Maria supra Minerva in Rome, Italy, shows the sarcophagus of Saint Catherine of Siena. June 4, 2017

The Cristo della Minerva or Risen Christ carrying a cross is a marble sculpture by the Italian Renaissance master Michelangelo in the Basilica of Santa Maria supra Minerva in Rome, Italy. The sculpture was finished in 1521. June 4, 2017

The Memorial to Maria Raggi, a sculptural monument designed and executed by the Italian artist Gian Lorenzo Bernini in 1647, is attached to a pillar in a nave of the Basilica of Santa Maria sopra Minerva in Rome, Italy. June 4, 2017

ARCHITECTURAL AND OTHR THINGS OF NOTE including the Mouth of Truth, Capitoline Hill, the Spanish Steps and the Piazza del Popolo.

The Mouth of Truth, which was in all likelihood used as drain cover, is an enormous marble image of a man’s face and stands against the left wall of the portico of the Santa Maria in the Cosmedin church, at the Piazza della Bocca della Verità in Rome, Italy. It is known from a scene in the 1953 film “Roman Holiday” starring Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck. According to legend, the man is said to bite the hand of anyone who lied. The film also uses the Mouth of Truth as a storytelling device since both Hepburn’s and Peck’s characters are not initially truthful with each other. June 3, 2017

Bonnie putting her hand into a replica of the Mouth of Truth in Rome, Italy. June 3, 2017

The Capitoline Hill cordonata leading from Via del Teatro di Marcello at the bottom to Piazza del Campidoglio on top in Rome, Italy. May 31, 2017

The Capitoline Hill cordonata leading from Via del Teatro di Marcello at the bottom to Piazza del Campidoglio on top in Rome, Italy. May 31, 2017

The Capitoline Hill cordonata leading from Via del Teatro di Marcello at the bottom to Piazza del Campidoglio on top in Rome, Italy. June 3, 2017

I took this photo on the way to the Basilica of Santa Maria sopra Minerva from the Palazzo Colonna in Rome, Italy. I love the bridges that connect buildings in Rome. June 3, 2017

The Spanish Steps in Rome, Italy. June 4, 2017

Looking down onto the he Piazza del Puopolo in Rome, Italy, where a marathon race is taking place.  June 4, 2017

The Fontana del Neptune at the Piazza del Popolo in Rome, Italy. June 4, 2017

Porta del Puopolo at the Piazza del Popolo in Rome, Italy. June 4, 2017

A statue at the Piazza del Popolo in Rome, Italy. June 4, 2017

June 4, 2017

THE MARDONNELLE MONUMENTS

These gorgeous street corner miniature Madonna monuments can be found all over Rome. These images of the Virgin Mary were placed on the corners of street intersections to protect people as they went about their business in the city. An oil lamp normally accompanied the merciful Mary to both light the image and to shed light on the dark and often dangerous streets of Rome.

May 31, 2017

June 4, 2017

June 4, 2017

June 4, 2017

June 3, 2017

THE FOUNTAINS

The Fountains of Rome are another incredible element that makes Rome, Rome. The ones featured here, the Fountain of the Niads in the Piazza della Repubblica, the Fontana della Barcaccia (Fountain of the Ugly Boat) by the Spanish Steps, the Triton Fountain in the Forum Boarium, the Triton Fountain in the Piazza Barberini, the three fountains of the Piazza Navona and last, but not least, the Trevi Fountain.

Designed during the urban redevelopment undertaken after Rome was declared capital of Italy, the Piazza della Repubblica is home to the huge Fountain of the Naiads. May 27, 2017

The Fontana della Barcaccia located at the foot of the Piazza di Spagna or the Spanish Steps in Rome, Italy, is a Baroque-style fountain. Pope Urban VIII commissioned Pietro Bernini in 1623 to build the fountain as part of a prior Papal project to erect a fountain in every major piazza in Rome. The sculptural fountain is made into the shape of a half-sunken ship with water overflowing its sides into a small basin. June 4, 2017

The Temple of Hercules Victor (to the left) and the Temple of Portunus (to the right) with the Triton Fountain in the middle make up the Forum Boarium in Rome, Italy. The forum was Rome’s ancient cattle market and is located across the street from the church of Santa Maria in Cosmedin famous for its Bocca della Verità. June 3, 2017

A close-up of the Triton Fountain at the Forum Boarium in Rome, Italy. June 3, 2017

The Triton Fountain in the Piazza Barberini in Rome, Italy, was sculpted by Gian Lorenzo Bernini in 1642. The Baroque sculpture, represents Triton, the half-man and half-fish, blowing his horn to calm the waters. May 27, 2017

The Triton Fountain in Rome’s Piazza Barberini. May 29, 2017

A close-up of the half-man, half-fish Triton Fountain in the Piazza Barberini in Rome, Italy. May 29, 2017

Bonnie and I at the Fountain of the Four Rivers in the Piazza Navona in Rome, Italy. The Piazza Navona is a grand theater of water – with three fountains, built in a line on the site of the Stadium of Domitian. The fountains at either end are by Giacomo della Porta; the Neptune fountain to the north, (1572) shows the God of the Sea spearing an octopus, surrounded by tritons, sea horses and mermaids.At the southern end is La Fontana del Moro, a figure either of an African (a Moor) or of Neptune wrestling with a dolphin. The Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi, (The Fountain of the Four Rivers) (1648–51), a highly theatrical fountain by Bernini, with statues representing rivers from the four continents; the Nile, Danube, Plate River and Ganges. June 4, 2017

The Fountain of Neptune is one of the three fountains located at the Piazza Navona in Rome, Italy. Located on the North end of the Piazza, the basin of the fountain was designed by Giacomo Della Porta in 1574. The sculptures, added some 300 years later, were not completed until 1878. June 4, 2017

The Fontana del Moro, one of the three statues at the Piazza Navona in Rome, Italy, represents a Moor or African. The base of the fountain was originally designed by Giacomo della Porta in 1575 with the dolphin and four Tritons.In 1653, the statue of the Moor, by Gian Lorenzo Bernini, was added. In 1874, during a restoration of the fountain, the original statues were moved to the Borghese Gallery in Rome and replaced with copies. June 4, 2017

The 18th-century Trevi Fountain in Rome, Italy, is a tremendously gorgeous sight and there are always crowds of people around it.  June 4, 2017

The 18th-century Trevi Fountain in Rome, Italy. June 4, 2017

The 18th-century Trevi Fountain in Rome, Italy. June 4, 2017

Me at the 18th-century Trevi Fountain in Rome, Italy. The last time I was in Rome, during Christmas/New Years of 2014, the Trevi Fountain was completely closed off for renovation. June 4, 2017

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