Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Ciao Rome!

It was finally time to bid goodbye to Rome; a place which I pray and hope that I will come back someday

It was a lovely trip to Europe; and as I bid farewell to Rome, I was also bidding farewell to my week-long vacation here.
Of all the places, I have to say Rome was the best on my itinerary and that's why I will definitely come back.

Definitely a city of art, they even have budding artists who would paint anywhere!
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The magnificent structures of the empire
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Everything here is related to art; even the name of the Airport!
Leonardo Da Vinci
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Ciao Rome!!
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And to all the warriors!
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Rome: Dinner at Terminal's Ristorante

While waiting for my train back to Hilton, which is on the other side of Rome (near to the airport), we decided to just have a quick dinner at the fast food joints available at the terminal.

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Healthy start with fruits
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Not so healthy since they usually come with heavy syrup here!:p

Poached salmon
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And a nice slice of berry-laden cake for celebration!
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Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Rome: Spanish Steps

A short walk away from Fontana Di Trevi (okay, not such a short walk after all), is the adjoining Spanish Steps
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Wikipedia:
The Spanish Steps (Italian: Scalinata della Trinità dei Monti) are a set of steps in Rome, Italy, climbing a steep slope between the Piazza di Spagna at the base and Piazza Trinità dei Monti, dominated by the church of Trinità dei Monti. The Scalinata is the longest and widest staircase in Europe.[1]

The monumental stairway of 138 steps was built with French diplomat Étienne Gueffier’s bequeathed funds of 20,000 scudi, in 1723–1725, linking the Bourbon Spanish Embassy to the Holy See, today still located in Palazzo Monaldeschi in the piazza below, with the Trinità dei Monti above.


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Wikipedia:
Today's USE
During Christmas time a 19th-century crib is displayed on the first landing of the staircase. During May, part of the steps are covered by pots of azaleas. In modern times the Spanish Steps have included a small cut-flower market. The steps are not a place for eating lunch, being forbidden by Roman urban regulations, but they are usually crowded with people. The apartment that was the setting for The Roman Spring of Mrs Stone (1961) is halfway up on the right. Bernardo Bertolucci's Besieged (1998) is also set in a house next to the steps. American singer/songwriter Bob Dylan refers to the "Spanish Stairs" in his classic "When I Paint My Masterpiece" (1971).

The Spanish Steps, which Joseph de Lalande[5] and Charles de Brosses noted were already in poor condition,[6] have been restored several times, most recently in 1995.


There's horse carriages nearby this crowded place.
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Rome: Fontana Di Trevi (Trevi Fountain)

One of the most romantic and lovely landmarks in Rome is this fountain; the Fontana Di Trevi, also known as the Trevi Fountain in English
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Wikipedia:
The Trevi Fountain (Italian: Fontana di Trevi) is a fountain in the Trevi rione in Rome, Italy. Standing 25.9 meters (85 feet) high and 19.8 meters (65 feet) wide, it is the largest Baroque fountain in the city.


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Wikipedia
Iconography
The backdrop for the fountain is the Palazzo Poli, given a new facade with a giant order of Corinthian pilasters that link the two main stories. Taming of the waters is the theme of the gigantic scheme that tumbles forward, mixing water and rockwork, and filling the small square. Tritons guide Oceanus' shell chariot, taming seahorses (hippocamps).

In the center is superimposed a robustly modelled triumphal arch. The center niche or exedra framing Oceanus has free-standing columns for maximal light-and-shade. In the niches flanking Oceanus, Abundance spills water from her urn and Salubrity holds a cup from which a snake drinks. Above, bas reliefs illustrate the Roman origin of the aqueducts.

The tritons and horses provide symmetrical balance, with the maximum contrast in their mood and poses (by 1730, rococo was already in full bloom in France and Germany).


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This landmark has been featured in a few movies; and one in TVB's drama about pilots and stewardesses.
Maybe it was due to that movie, which I linked this fountain to a romantic notation when in fact, it doesn't really have much of a romance in its construction.

Nevertheless, I still find this structure impressive and just lovely:)
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Ooooh, there is also a unique and popular tradition when you are here; that is you should throw a coin.
It signifies that you will one day return to Rome!
Wikipedia:
Coin throwing
A traditional legend holds that if visitors throw a coin into the fountain, they are ensured a return to Rome. Among those who are unaware that the "three coins" of Three Coins in the Fountain were thrown by three different individuals, a reported current interpretation is that two coins will lead to a new romance and three will ensure either a marriage or divorce. A reported current version of this legend is that it is lucky to throw three coins with one's right hand over one's left shoulder into the Trevi Fountain.

Approximately 3,000 euros are thrown into the fountain each day. The money has been used to subsidize a supermarket for Rome's needy. However, there are regular attempts to steal coins from the fountain. [9]


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Ain't that a good thing; of course, I won't be excluded from joining the fun!

As usual, there is a lady in a lovely frock nearby for you to capture photos with her (for a fee, again), so I just capture her from afar!:)
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To be continued...

Rome: Lunch @ Taverna Del Corso

The weather was really hot when I was in Rome; it was like some kind of heatwave. It was even hotter than Germany during that late June I was there last year.

As I was still bidding a sad farewell to St Peter's, we walked along the street, scouting for food to fill our stomach as it was approaching lunch hour.
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We found the restaurant recommended by Steve for all Europe travelers in his guide book which we have in our hand
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Nothing fancy; we just needed a place to feed ourselves and shield from the aggressive sun for a while before we get back out there for the next destination on the list.

Seafood Platter (EUR16+)
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Complimented by a fruit cocktail to quench our thirst from the heat; along with our mineral water
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I definitely recommend this restaurant as the owner was really friendly; and even struck up a conversation with us as he guessed that we came from Asia.
He was not unfriendly or snobbish like some of the restauranteurs in Europe who are bound to turn up their noses at Asians or at those small orders we have made.

Kudos to this great attitude; he was very hospitable towards us and thanked us non-stop for visiting his restaurant which earned him a post for me to mention it to all of you out there!:)
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It was time to be back out on the street and we enjoyed the slow walk along the Roman streets; window-shopping as we can!
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The Italians are a patriotic lot; don't you think?
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Silk ties
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Ferrari shop
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Cleaning truck
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Coming from a land of fancy automobiles, even their cops have such nice patrol cars!
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Rome is indeed a City of ART; look at all those lovely paintings, even on the floor!
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Stay tune for the next destination...

Rome: St Peter's Basilica (Part 2)

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Wikipedia:
Maderno's nave

Maderno's nave, looking towards the chancelTo the single bay of Michelangelo's Greek Cross, Maderno added a further three bays. He made the dimensions slightly different to Michelangelo's bay, thus defining where the two architectural works meet. Maderno also tilted the axis of the nave slightly. This was not by accident, as suggested by his critics. An ancient Egyptian obelisk had been erected in the square outside, but had not been quite aligned with Michelangelo's building, so Maderno compensated, in order that it should, at least, align with the Basilica's facade. [12]

The nave has huge paired pilasters, in keeping with Michelangelo's work. The size of the interior is so "stupendously large" that it is hard to get a sense of scale within the building.[12][30] The four cherubs who flutter against the first piers of the nave, carrying between them two Holy Water basins, appear of quite normal cherubic size, until approached. Then it becomes apparent that each one is over 2 metres high and that real children cannot reach the basins unless they scramble up the marble draperies. The aisles each have two smaller chapels and a larger rectangular chapel, the Chapel of the Sacrament and the Choir Chapel. These are lavishly decorated with marble, stucco, gilt, sculpture and mosaic. Remarkably, there are very few paintings, although some, such as Raphael's "Sistine Madonna" have been reproduced in mosaic. The most precious painting is a small icon of the Madonna, removed from the old basilica.[12]

Maderno's last work at St. Peter's was to design a crypt-like space or "Confessio" under the dome, where the Cardinals and other privileged persons could descend in order to be nearer the burial place of the apostle. Its marble steps are remnants of the old basilica and around its balustrade are 95 bronze lamps.

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Wikipedia:
Cattedra Petri and Chapel of the Blessed Sacrament

Bernini's "Cathedra Petri" and "Gloria"Bernini then turned his attention to another precious relic, the so-called Cathedra Petri or "throne of St. Peter" a chair which was often claimed to have been used by the apostle, but appears to date from the 12th century. As the chair itself was fast deteriorating and was no longer serviceable, Pope Alexander VII determined to enshrine it in suitable splendour as the object upon which the line of successors to Peter was based. Bernini created a large bronze throne in which it was housed, raised high on four looping supports held effortlessly by massive bronze statues of four Doctors of the Church, Saints Ambrose and Augustine representing the Latin Church and Athanasius and John Chrysostum the Greek Church. The four figures are dynamic with sweeping robes and expressions of adoration and ecstasy. Behind and above the Cattedra, a blaze of light comes in through a window of yellow alabaster, illuminating, at its centre, the Dove of the Holy Spirit. The elderly painter, Andrea Sacchi, had urged Bernini to make the figures large, so that they would be seen well from the central portal of the nave. The chair was enshrined in its new home with great celebration of January 16, 1666.[12][22]

Bernini's final work for St. Peter's, undertaken in 1676, was the decoration of the Chapel of the Sacrament. To hold the sacramental Host, he designed a miniature version in gilt bronze of Bramante's Tempietto, the little chapel that marks the place of the death of St. Peter. On either side is an angel, one gazing in rapt adoration and the other looking towards the viewer in welcome. Bernini died in 1680 in his 82nd year.[12]


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Wikipedia:
Dome - successive designs and final solution

Bramante's domeThe dome of St. Peter's rises to a total height of 136.57 metres (448.1 ft) from the floor of the basilica to the top of the external cross. It is the tallest dome in the world.[25] Its internal diameter is 41.47 metres (136.1 ft), being just slightly smaller than two of the three other huge domes that preceded it, those of the Pantheon of Ancient Rome and Florence Cathedral of the Early Renaissance. It has a greater diameter by approximately 30 feet (9.1 m) than that of the third great dome, Constantinople's Hagia Sophia church, completed in 537. It was to the domes of the Pantheon and Florence duomo that the architects of St. Peter's looked for solutions as to how to go about building what was conceived, from the outset, as the greatest dome of Christendom.


Beautifully crafted statues of the angels, saints, and our Lady Mother.
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Saint Helena
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I found an emblem bearing my patron saint!:)
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Confession room
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A beautiful place; and I just felt so at peace here!
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I have even managed to attend a short service by the parish priests; and they were conducted in Latin!
I've even received the Holy Host from this basilica =)
I stayed more than half a day here; as I was rather reluctant to leave this beautiful and meaningful place to me.

Too bad I didn't get to see his Holiness, the Pope himself; who is the head of our Catholic church as he only comes out to say mass to the public on Wednesdays.

With a heavy heart, I had to make my move to my next destination and praying that I will someday come back; or definitely will come back:)

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Souvenir shop along the street
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Goodbye now, Vatican City and St Peter's Basilica! I will definitely come back:)
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