Sunday, April 24, 2016

Europe Trip - Artistic Rome in the Morning

We reached Roma Termini Station around 9:00 pm. We were starving so we went into the restaurant that we saw the first thing when we were out from the train. Redhouse Steakhouse. It served pretty decent steak I should say.

Voila, here we were

We then checked into our hotel, Scotthouse Hotel, just a stone throw away from Roma Termini Station. We got ready for the next day.

The tale said that Rome was built by twin brothers, Remus and Romulus, who were the apparent sons of Mars. After being left to drown in a basket at Tiber, they were raised by a she-wolf and they decided to build a city. At one point of time, Romulus killed Remus and named the city after himself.

The history of Rome went as far as 800 BC telling about the settlement of the immigrants at Palatine Hill. After series of endless wars, Julius Caesar finally came into light and became the first dictator of Rome in year 45 BC.

The Roman Empire started when Julius Caesar's great nephew, Octavian became the first emperor. He was known as Caesar Augustus. Roman Empire got bigger and bigger until the empire was divided and the capital was moved to Byzantium.

Although Jesus Christ lived and crucified during early days of Roman Empire, only in 305 AD, Christian Roman Empire started under the rule of Constantine. The empire was then reunited by Constantine and the capital was renamed as Constantinople.

The decline of Roman Empire started when three sons of Constantine fought to control the empire. The empire was then re-divided into Eastern and Western part. The West finally fell in the late fourth century with the resignation of Romulus Augustulus.

So, in conclusion, Rome is the centre of civilization. I was so excited to explore this city.

Our schedule for the morning was to visit Piazza Navona and Pantheon.

Piazza Navona was built on the former Stadium of Domitian in the fifteenth century. The square consists of three fountains: Fountain of the Four Rivers, Neptune Fountain, and Moor Fountain. Church of Saint Agnese in Agony is facing the three fountains. The church was designed by Borromini while the Fountain of the Four Rivers was designed by Bernini, his main rival during that era.

Moor Fountain greeted us when we stepped into the piazza
Neptune Fountain, telling about Neptune fighting sea nymphs, at the other end of the piazza
Church of Saint Agnese in Agony vs Fountain of the Four River

I love this piazza due to the architecture and the perfect blend with modern era by the existence of row of cafes surrounding the piazza. However, we were there quite early so not many cafes were open.

After enjoying the piazza, we walked east towards the Pantheon. It felt so good to explore the area on foot. We passed by alleys and stopped over in a minimart.

The alley
Bigger road with magnificent structures along the way 
We even posed at the alley, so touristic!
A huuuge orange I found here

After 15 minutes of walking, we finally reached the Pantheon. Pantheon was originally built by Augustus' son in law. The temple was dedicated to Venus, Mars, and Julius Caesar. Pantheon was designated to worship whoever ruling during that time.

It was rebuilt during the second century under the rule of Emperor Hadrian. The difference of Pantheon as opposed to other structures were the use of bricks which were not common during that era. Pantheon is a fine Roman architecture for a pagan temple. In 608 AD, the temple was handed over to Pope Bonifacio IV, who soon turn the temple to be a church to worship the Virgin and Martyrs. In the seventeenth century, two bell towers were built by Bernini and then demolished in 1882.

After Rome became the capital of Italy, Pantheon became sort of Palatine Chapel for the royal family. Tombs of King Vittorio Emanuelle II and King Umberto I can be found inside the temple.

The Pantheon and Fontana del Pantheon
8 massive granite columns, at the portico of the temple
See how big the temple is as compared to human
The front door 
Statue of Virgin Mary
Tomb of the King
Posing inside the temple
And of couse, the famous hole at that roof!

The hole at the roof of Pantheon, called oculus (the eye), has 7.8m diameter as compared to the dome of 43.3m diameter. The dome of the Pantheon is the largest unsupported dome in the world to date. Pantheon has no window, and the only source of light is the oculus! How brilliant!

Magnificent street singer outside

We spent sometimes inside the Pantheon before moving on to our next destination.

VATICAN CITY, we are coming!

Love is in the air,
Little Feet

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