Before I continue regaling you with my adventures in Rome, can I just ask those of you who are at home what the heck is going on? I got on Facebook yesterday and everyone’s talking about how something like 16 (I read recently that it might be up to 30 now?) states have started petitions to try and secede from the US, the majority of those states being all the southern ones. I’m sorry, what? Apparently we haven’t learned anything from history (assuming that this actually goes somewhere which I sincerely doubt) because it didn’t really work out so well for us last time. And no offense to home state of SC but if we ever began a sovereign nation, we’d fail faster than the Titanic. For anyone who hasn’t heard about this, here’s a link: http://www.examiner.com/article/multiple-states-petition-obama-to-secede-from-union-start-own-governments. Clearly people don’t know how to be decent losers. For any of these state petitions to be heard, they must get 25,000 signatures in 30 days. The sad thing is that SC is already halfway there and it’s only been three days. Lousiana’s finished, Texas has about 3x the signatures needed. Good Lord.
Now that that’s done…on with the retelling of my Roman adventures! Okay, so. I left off with Saint Peter’s Basilica. After grabbing lunch at a nearby cafe-type place (where we had either pizza or pasta–of course), we continued on with our sight-seeing. A cool set of ruins that I’d never heard of before is literally just down the street from their hotel, so we went there first. It’s called Largo Argentina and it’s pretty cool looking. Housing the remains of four Republican Roman temples and a theater, today it is a favorite hot spot for cats to laze about in the sun.
We also stopped by the Trevi Fountain briefly and walkd past Trajan’s Column and Altare della Patria. Trajan’s column celebrates the victory of Roman emperor Trajan in the Dacian Wars whilte the Altare della Patria (also called Monumento Nazionale a Vittorio Emanuele II or Il Vittoriano) was built in honor of the first king of a unified Italy, Victor Emanuel. Located near Piazza Venezia and Capitoline Hill, many Italians think the monument too big and have dubbed it “the wedding cake”.
We also got to see the Bones Church, which, of the three of us (Claire, Julia, and I) only Julia had never been before. Can we stop and spend an extra minute here please? Good, because…you kind of don’t have a choice since I’m the one writing this. Um..so this church is totally awesome. Well, okay. First off, despite it having the nickname Bones Church, the part that everyone is really referring to is the Capuchin Crypt that is attached to Santa Maria della Concezione dei Cappuccini (Our Lady of the Conception of the Capuchins). It is also sometimes called Santa Maria Immacolata. They’ve changed everything since the last time that either Claire or I were there (we both saw it 3 or 4 years ago). Before, you would pay a small donation and then you walk straight into crypt. Since then it’s been revamped. The crypt itself remains unchanged, they’ve just added a small museum and changed the way you get to it so that now you walk through the museum and the crypt is at the end of the tour. Now, for you guys who haven’t heard of or been to the Bones Church before, I’m sure you’re all wondering what makes this crypt so different from others, am I right? Well, let me tell you. What makes this crypt so special is that the six rooms are decorated. With the bones of Capuchin monks who died in the 1500s. Things just got a little bit more interesting now didn’t they? Between the six rooms, it’s said that over 4,000 different monks are represented. I don’t think historians know exactly who came up with the idea but the common theory is that it was the monks themselves. Photography is not allowed in these rooms so these pictures are not mine but postcards are available at the end of the tour.
For anyone visiting Rome and would like to see the Bones Church (I highly recommend it), it is located on Via Veneto near Piazza Barberini. Another church that I’d highly recommend visiting if you get the chance is Basilica di San Clemente (Basilica of Saint Clement). Dedicated to Pope Clement I, this minor basilica dating back to 1100 (Middle Ages) sits above the remains of two or three other buildings, one of them being an earlier basilica. The bottom-most layer dates back to the days of paganism. Very cool stuff. Admission into the current basilica is free but there is a small fee to see the lower levels if memory serves. I saw it when my family and I were in Rome three summers ago. It was definitely one of the cooler things that we saw.
Claire’s cousin and his friend were in town at the same time so we met up with them at Saint Paul Outside the Walls and hung out with them for the rest of the night. The two of them were on break (they’re studying abroad in Dublin this semester) and were only in Rome for a few days before continuing on to Switzerland. I’d never been to Saint Paul Outside the Walls before. It’s a fairly big but not overly decorated or full like some of the other churches you might find in Rome. There was mass going on when we got there so we didn’t get to get a close look at the giant mosaic behind the altar but that’s okay. Beneath the baptismal font (I’m assuming that’s what it was) is where you’ll find the glass case with Saint Paul’s chains on display. There’s also a kneeler for those who want to say a prayer. After Saint Peter’s we met up with two other SMC girls for dinner before heading to another Irish pub, Scholaire’s. Claire said this is where they go to watch the ND football games on the weekends. It was fun. They’ve got live music in the room next to the bar and a couple of mounted TVs that were playing different futball (soccer) games.
Saturday was a little less intense than the day Aurelie and I covered all of Paris and then some but not by a ton. In the morning we visited Santa Maria Sopra Minerva where Saint Catherine of Siena is as well as Michaelangelo’s Cristo della Minerva sculpture. The church doesn’t look like a church from the outside. Located behind the Pantheon (you can see the back of the Pantheon from the square out front), Santa Maria Sopra Minerva looks more like some government or administrative building. It’s square, white-washed, not really any windows. It doesn’t look like a church. But then you step inside where you see beautiful blue painted arch ceilings, gorgeous stained glass window work, and statues.
Unfortunately, it seems like I’m close to exceeding my limit of GB or MB or whatever it is for picture uploads so I guess you guys’ll have to wait til next time to see Santa Maria Sopra Minerva. But that just means you’ll have to tune in to my next post so…win-win for everyone! : ) Until then….deuces.