Saturday, 16 February 2013


While Tony was at a conference in Frascati, I used the opportunity to visit Rome, a city I had never visited before. For 4 days I walked through Rome, visited most of the sites I was supposed to see, according to the guidebooks that is, ate some nice pastas, pizzas, and icecream, and just wandered about. Every night I came back to the hotel with sore feet from walking on paved streets all day. But I liked Rome, it is a very special city, literally littered with ruins and full of history. I did visit most of the tourist sites including the Spanish steps, the Trevi fountain, the Vatican, several churches, and of course the Colloseum and the Forum. But what I liked most were: the use of the different colours and structures in rocks such as marbles and granites to create art works (floor and wall mosaics, table tops); the historic range, e.g Roman ruins integrated in newer buildings; the Roman ruins of the Colosseum and Forum are very impressive, trying to imagine how it was 2000 years ago; the Roman ruins of the gigantic baths of Caracalla and its 3 km long network of tunnels underneath, where slaves were working to heat the water for the swimming pools, are amazing; the gallery of maps in the Vatican museums; the catacombs, underground Christian graveyards from (mostly) the 2nd to 4th century, I visited the catacombs of San Sebastiano, but there are several others open to visitors; the Pantheon, one of the best preserved Roman buildings, which was originally a Roman temple, but was later converted into a catholic church and is still in use today; the view over Rome from one of the hills in town, I walked up the Gianicolo hill behind Trastevere.

I took hundreds of photos in Rome, there is so much to see, and it was tough to select only a handful to post here. So this will be a longer than usual blog post.

Ik was nog nooit in Rome geweest, dus toen Tony naar een conferentie in Frascati ging, heb ik deze mogelijkheid gegrepen om Rome te bezoeken. Vier dagen lang ben ik door Rome gelopen en heb ik de meeste bezienswaardigheden die men volgens de reisgidsen moet zien bezocht. Ik heb pasta, pizza en ijs gegeten en ben rond geslenderd om de sfeer van de stad te proeven. Elke avond kwam ik met zere voeten thuis omdat ik niet gewend ben om de hele dag door de straten te lopen. Maar Rome beviel me erg goed, ik vind het een hele aparte stad, met zo´n rijke geschiedenis en ruines op elke straathoek. Ik heb de meest populaire bezienswaardigheden gezien, de Spaanse trap, de Trevi fontijn, het Vatikaan, het Colloseum en Forum en verschillende kerken. Maar wat ik het mooiste vond waren: het gebruik van stenen met verschillende kleuren en teksturen in vloer en muur mozaieken; de integratie van bouwstijlen van verschillende ouderdom; ik vond de Romijnse ruines van het Colloseum en Forum erg indrukwekkend, te proberen je voor te stellen hoe het hier 2000 jaar geleden was; de ruines van het gigantische badhuis van Caracalla en het 3 km lange netwerk van tunnels eronder, waar de slaven werkten om het water en het badhuis op te warmen, zijn fantastisch; de kaartengallerij in de musea van het Vatikaan; de catacomben, de ondergrondse Christelijke begraafplaatsen uit (vnl.) de 2e tot 4e eeuw. Ik heb de catacomben van San Sebastiano bezocht, maar verschillende andere zijn open voor bezoekers; Het Pantheon, een van de best bewaarde Romijnse gebouwen. Oorspronkelijk een Romijnse tempel, maar later veranderd in een katolieke kerk en nog steeds in gebruik; het uitzicht over Rome vanaf een van de heuvels in de stad. Ik ben de Gianicolo heuvel achter Trastevere opgelopen. 

Ik heb honderden foto's van Rome en het was niet makkelijk om maar een handvol te selecteren, dus deze blog is wat langer dan gewoonlijk.

Detail of the floor mosaic in "The room of The Segnatura", Raphael's rooms, in the Vatican museums.

Wall art in the Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore.

Several generations of buildings on top of each other. The original building is the Teatro di Marcello.

The Colosseum and Forum

The Colosseum in the middle of Rome, surrounded by a busy road.

When you buy your ticket at the entrance, you can also buy a guided tour to the newly opened subterranean level and 3rd floor. Access to these is by guided tour only. This photo is taken from the 3rd floor, where the women and children had to sit, from where you get a good overview of the whole Colosseum, and good views towards the ruins of the Forum. You can see the subterranean corridors below the partially reconstructed arena floor.

Beautiful arches at the ground level of the Colosseum.

Ruins of the Forum. To the right of the street the Basilica Julia, the law courts; to the left the main square. The 3 columns in the distance to the right are the ruins of the temple of Castor and Pollux.

The temple of Saturn which also contained the state treasury.

The baths of Caracalla

This enormous building, 228 m long, 116 m wide, housed gyms, an olympic size swimming pool, hot and cold baths, libraries, and shops. It was finished in 217 and in use for more than 300 years. (information signs and Wikipedia)

These people are standing in the large central meeting room and looking through the entrance to the room that housed the Olympic size swimming pool.

The baths were lavishly decorated. Many of the statues, columns, mosaics are now in museums, churches and private collections. (information sign in the Caracalla Baths)

A large network of tunnels, big enough for horse-drawn carriages to supply the wood, underneath where slaves worked to heat the complex.

The Vatican

I enjoyed a guided tour of the Vatican gardens.

In the courtyard of the Vatican museums.

Sala Rotonda (circular hall) with Roman floor mosaics and bath tub.

A detail of one of 20 large topographic maps depicting all of Italy in the map gallery.


Inside of the Pantheon.

A giant foot, Piè di Marmo, somewhere on a street corner.

View over Rome, surrounded by snow-capped hills, from the Gianicolo hill.

Good bye, Rome, I enjoyed being here.

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