Saturday, October 13, 2012

Gladiator Fight


Today was our final day full day in Rome.  We planned to go to the Gladiator School and maybe the Ancient War Museum - only made it to the school (the Museum closed at 2pm).

The school was awesome!  We lucked out and Spence ended up getting a private gladiator lesson and history lesson for 2 hours by a great instructor.  The school is run by the reenactment group and so they really make an effort to have you enjoy your visit.

I'll post some pics and a short video about the day - overall though, if you end up coming here and have kids who are interested in Gladiators (and really who isn't), then take them on this visit.

Showing Spence the ropes - scythe is better than short sword

learning the 5 basic moves

practicing on James...however, James got the better of him and cut his arm off

not to be outdone, Spence later on cuts off James' leg 

against a real opponent 

getting is Ancient Roman citizenship at the end of the class

Friday, October 12, 2012

James and I got up and after a leisurely breakfast, made our way out for a brunch/lunch at another cafe in our piazza....they had minestrone soup for me, which was a nice change.  Around 3 we left for the museum and ruins.

We went to the Di Vinci museum first, which was neat and then to see the ruins (where they believe that Julius Caesar was murdered) and then off to Hard Rock Cafe for an early supper.

Supper was good and on our way home we all got caught in a flash rain storm.  We all got soaked through - but once home, we put our stuff on the drying rack and are hoping it's dry before we leave on Sunday (it's colder and wetter outside, so it's taking more time to dry stuff on the rack).

I headed off to Armani after we got back, but they didn't have anything I'd wear - so no shopping for me...I did however, get a Hard Rock Rome T-Shirt that was in support of Breast Cancer research.  Not a bad last relaxing day in Rome.

Glider (Di Vinci Museum)

Tank w cannons

multi-firing tank

elevator mechanism

ruins where they think J. Caesar was murdered

Hard Rock - some nice drinks to kill the thirst :)

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Well, it's getting to the end of our trip and we decided to have a day off (well sorta).  We all slept in and then James and I went out for brunch and Spence had soup, then we all continued to chill until just after 2:30 when Spence and I went off to find the underground homes.  I got us lost and we ended up at an underground prison - so still good as far as Spence was concerned.  We decided to do the prison tour and were both very pleasantly surprised at how much we enjoyed it.  It took a total of a half hour because of the audio tour that came with the $5E price tag and so we were both pretty pleased.  Spence said he didn't care to see the houses and I didn't feel like coming back after dropping him off to find the houses - so we headed home.

We stayed home until 6 or so and then headed out to the Sushi Bar we found the other day.  It was exactly what we expected - tourist quality food - so not great....but it was a nice change, then off to the grocery store because we figured we'd get snacky and then I went to see if I could get a deal at Armani - but alas, the store was closed.

Overall not a bad day.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Spencer's new purchase - a leather jacket (which we are hoping
he will keep at least as long as James kept his sunglasses for)

Palentine Hill excavation stuff

Vestile Virgin's temple (interior)

Fresco's on outside walls

Fresco's on inside walls

Mosaic tiles just outside the tunnel between palaces

reliefs in the same tunnel

excavated houses

Stadium at one of the palaces

Colosseum at twilight

more ruins at twilight

grama's favorite building at night on the way home

We finally found the hot water tank last night and turned it back on (it's instant on, so we had hot water right away) - it needed to be turned on again after our power went out the other day.  We all felt better after some showers and then stayed up late last night reading, chillin and playing video games for Spence.

We got up at a decent time today and Spence had soup for breakfast (found our soup base in the grocery store) and James and I went out for a brunch type meal around noon (lunch here seems to be around 2 or 3pm) and really enjoyed our brunch.  James had grilled chicken with potatoes and salad and I had grilled veggies.

The boys then headed off to shop and I'm chilling in the apartment for another hour or so before I leave to head out to the ruins.  Looking forward to walking around and taking a bunch of pictures.  We plan on heading out to a cafe for supper and then resting for the rest of the night.

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

So - booking 2 tours back to back - not a great idea.  We also found out, despite our guides best efforts, she really was focused on the Pope and the Renaissance and had a difficult time focusing on the ancient stuff.

We also figured out today that we could all do without another pasta dish or pizza dish for a while.  Eating that 3 times a day for about a week has pretty much done us in for Italian for a bit.

Ended up at McDonald's for lunch (the nicest in the world) and had a terrific American style lunch, for supper, we all scrounged as we seem to have grown stuff in the fridge and we have to eat it before we leave :)  It's gramas salad - but with proscuto and salami and pasta :)

Levels were accessible using stairs from the outer ring and inner ring

37 degree angle made sure everyone could see....but climbing the stairs was hard work

what looks like chimneys are elevator type shafts where they would prep
the animals, gladiators or stage stuff to be brought to the arena floor

the facade (marble) with the stuff behind it

Under - where all the action happened

View from the 3rd floor out to the neighbouring sites

Good view for spectators from the 3rd floor

the smooth surface used to have bleachers on them
stairs to the 4th level

Wasn't allowed to climb, even if I could

Renaissance elevator shaft in the Castel Sant'Angelo

courtyard in the castle

St Gabriel replica in bronze

McDonalds - they have Chicken Wings here!

Monday, October 08, 2012

We had a great day today at the Vatican.  We met our tour guide outside of the museum after walking and seeing the line extend around the corner (and it's a very long block) - there were hundreds of folks waiting to get in.

We walked past all of them and entered with the other paid tour groups and were immediately amazed at how busy it was and how many folks there were there - even though it was October and most of the tourists had already gone home, the amount of people there was massive.

Our guide, very knowledgable in art, spent time showing us some very cool things - but as we aren't really art lovers - most of it was probably going over our heads.  I think she could spend days looking at the statues and comparing form and in the paintings looking at how they are lifelike and other's how they aren't - for us it was just cool.  There was one tapestry where the table moved as you moved - the angle of the table and Christ sitting at it seemed to change as you walked by it - very cool thing to do with tapestries.

We saw lots of frescos, mosaics, bath tubs (one Pope was a bath tub guy....go figure), statues, artifacts, gardens, etc - around the early 1500s the current Pope at the time decided he didn't want to share the finds any longer and decided to keep them - that's how the museums started.  There are egyptian rooms, etruscan rooms, greek rooms, etc - from all over the world and items from several centuries before Christ all the way up to modern day art in one of the museums.

When we finished our tour (which ended at St. Peter's Chapel / Basilika) our tour guide noted that the square could hold up to 400,000 people and if they opened up the road to the end of the city (where it meets Rome), it could hold up to about 1,000,000 - that's a big square!

We parted ways and after walking home, we all napped.  Spaghetti for supper with caprice salad and then out for pastries for dessert.  When we got home, I started up the laundry, dishes, etc and blew the circuit and then it wouldn't come back on and finally we got to the building circuit and fired up the apartment again.  We turned off the d/w and the A/C - hopefully we won't pop the breakers for the rest of the trip :)
This exhibit rotates - it represents the evolution of earth 

One of the few original Greek statues remaining in Rome (they were all bronze, not marble)

Our boy - Leonardo Di Vinci lived in that tower while working at the Vatican - studying flight

Greek statue replicas

What do you want for dinner - menu is laid out in mosaic on the floor

Frescos everywhere

Chariot from the Etruscan era

Etruscan shield

Etruscan double bowl - it has one story etched in the inside of the bowl and another on the outside

Etruscan helmets 

Frescos made to look like reliefs

The Vatican holds many of the scale maps in fresco on it's walls

Sistine Chapel - the story of God's judgement (not head of God in the upper centre
is based on the Greek's god Apollo, while the devil lower right (sorry - the guys head is
in the way) was the Pope's head - Michael Angelo was mad at the Pope and made him the devil)

The story of Christ

Fresco made to look like a curtain

This door only get's opened once every 25 years by the Pope - a celebration then goes on
for one year, then the Pope closes the doors again for another 25 years

St Peter's Chapel (larger than 2 football fields - not sure that should be called a chapel ...maybe a huge church?) it's amazing

Michael Angelo's statue of Christ & his mother - out of one piece of marble,
made in his early 20's

All pictures are actually mosaics in the chapel and those letters are actually
7 feet tall - but they only look a few inches tall

This canopy is made out of bronze taken from the Pantheon to mark
St Peter's grave - it stands about 100' tall

The top of the dome extends to about 400'

These are in honour of the dead Popes, priests, saints, etc

Swiss Guard, who's loyalty is to the papacy 

If you zoom in, you will see that there are people all around the top
of the dome standing outside looking down at the square

And if you cannot find a parking space big enough - just
back your little smart car in between two others