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Archive for the ‘Rome’ Category

The Things You Find in Churches

Posted by Heliocentrism on April 15, 2018

October 18th – 24th, 2017

The Pantheon

When we walked through the museums of Athens, I felt like Mark and I were going through dead people’s things. But in Rome, we passed that and just rummaged through the dead people themselves. There were many churches that had corpses of nuns on display or skeletons clutching prayer books. We didn’t go to all of them for a lack of time. But, that didn’t mean we didn’t see some interesting things.

The Mouth of Truth

We went to see the Mouth of Truth at the Basilica of Saint Mary in Cosmedin. This disc was made famous by some movie I’ve never heard of. I know of the Mouth of Truth, but not of the movie that made it famous.

To get to the point where you can stick your hand into the mouth, which may have been some sort of drain cover in the 2nd century, Mark and I had to stand in line for about half an hour. Closer to the end of the line is a donation box so confident that you will add to the collection, that it thanks you for your contribution before you even check your pockets for change.

St. Valentine’s skull

After you’ve snapped your photo you are led into the church. Right away you are presented with relics. One of them is St. Valentine’s skull.

We came to stick our hands into a pagan disc’s mouth and we were shown the skull of a saint. But wait; there’s more! For another donation, we could see the crypt of some pope name Hadrian or Adrian. His name kept changing on the information board for his crypt. Oh yes, we donated and took the creepy stairs down to the cold and dark crypt.

Hadrian

I was disappointed. I thought we were going to see Hadrian, the emperor who couldn’t stop building things. We visited his mausoleum earlier that day, only to find that he was no longer there. Well, he wasn’t here either, because this Hadrian was a pope not an emperor.

At San Pietro in Vincoli we saw a sculpture done by Michelangelo. It is of Moses with horns. The horns come about from someone’s mistranslation of a verse in the bible.

Also in the same church are some chains welded by St. Peter. I don’t completely understand how he welded the chains, since the joining happened long after Peter’s death… But, whatever.

At the Pantheon, which is now a Catholic church, we found the crypt of Raphael and the women for whom many think the Margherita pizza is named. Her crypt is behind the big purple one of her husband’s. He was some sort of king of Italy. Who remember’s now? He was some guy married to a woman for whom a famous pizza was named.


Italy

How to get there:

You can enter this country by land, water, or air.

Phone:

  • 113 – police
  • 115 – fire
  • 118 – first aid

Website:

Data:

Downloads:

Videos:

Books: 

Notes:

  • Many of the streets and walkways are paved in cobblestones making it harder to walk on with the wrong type of shoes.
  • Apparently, you can drink from any of the water fountains you see.
  • Watch out for pick-pockets.
  • Get your tickets ahead of time when going to see popular things.
  • You never know when you might what to check out a basilica. So, make sure to dress properly, or you won’t be let in.
    • Not shorts. Make sure that at least your knees are covered.
    • No sleeveless shirts.

Transportation

  • To use the bus, tram, or metro, you will need to buy a ticket.
    • For the metro you can buy the pass at the metro station.
    • For the bus or train, you will need to buy the pass at a shop that sells bus tickets. They are usually the same place where you can buy cigarettes or lotto tickets.
    • The metro pass and the bus pass are the same thing.
      • The pass lasts for 100 minutes from the time they are activated.
      • They are activated when you scan them to get into the metro or on the bus.
      • They allow only one scan into the metro, but unlimited bus rides for the 100 minutes.
        • e.g., You can do a round-trip by bus, but not by metro (if it’s done within 100 minutes).

Colosseum

Basic Information

Website

Downloads:

Cost:

Hours:

  • 8:30 – 19:00

Videos:

Books:

Notes:


Capitoline Museums

Basic Information

Website

Cost:

  •  € 15,00
  • Included in the Roma Pass
    • € 9,50
  • Video Guide – € 6.00

Hours:

  • 9:30 – 19:30

Notes:


Castel Sant’Angelo

Basic Information

Website

Downloads:

Cost:

  •  € 14,00
  • Included in the Roma Pass
    • Concession – € 7.00

Hours:

  • 9:00 – 19:30

Notes:

  • You can use their wifi to download the audio guide, but it’s faster to just use your data.
  • The audio guide’s script is written on all the walls, with no extra information.

Le Domus Romane di Palazzo Valentini

Basic Information

Website

Cost:

  •  € 12,00
  • Included in the Roma Pass
    • Concession – € 8.00

Hours:

  • 9:00 – 18:30

Notes:

  • This can only be seen with a guided tour, which must be book ahead of time.
    • You can book online, or just drop by if you’re in the area.
    • If you book online there is an extra €1.50 fee per ticket.
  • I highly recommend doing this tour.
    • The tours is of one ancient Roman house and a room in an adjacent home.
    • There is a lot of walking and standing.
  • They use lasers to recreate rooms of a house as it would have looked in Roman times.
  • The tour lasts for about 1.5 hours.
  • You cannot take photos inside.
  • You are not allowed to bring big bags on the tour, but there is a locker you can use.

Trajan’s Market

Basic Information

Website

Cost:

  • € 11,50
  • Included in the Roma Pass
    • Concession – € 9.50
  • Audio guide – € 6,00.

Hours:

  • 9:30 – 19:30

Notes:

  • Unless you get an audio guide, the information is mostly in Italian.

National Roman Museum

Basic Information

Website

Cost:

Hours:

  • 9:00 – 18:00
  • Closed Mondays

Notes:

  • These are 4 museums for the price of one.

Villa Torlonia

Basic Information

Website

Cost:

Hours:

  • 9.00 – 19.00
  • Closed Mondays

Video

Notes:

  • This was Mussolini’s bunker.
  • Sometimes the bunker is not available for viewing.

Dont’t Miss:

Map:

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Al Italia

Posted by Heliocentrism on August 21, 2010

April 01 – 07, 2005

All Pictures

Young and sassy

He’s going to die, so we should leave the city.

I planned this trip… well, sort of. This was when I learned backpacking motto number one: things very rarely go as planned.

We were supposed to stay in Rome for most of the trip. I wanted to see every square inch of the Italian capital and Vatican City. When we were finished with them, maybe we would move south to some little Italian town. Or we could just stay at the beach near Rome.

The first and second day we toured Rome. We visited the Colosseum, Spanish Steps, and many more must-sees. At the end of the second day the clerk at our hostel told us that if we wanted to see any of the museums in Vatican City we should go tomorrow. “The Pope is about to die and when he does everything will be closed.”

The night before Pope John-Paul II died

The next day we ran through several churches and museums in and around St. Peter’s Square. It all happened so quickly that I didn’t have time to take in much of it. That night we caught a train to Naples.

My guess is that the Pope died that night because there was a lot of chaos on the train. We tried to buy tickets, but the counters were closed. We boarded the train anyway because someone told us that we could buy our tickets on the train. Normally there is an official who comes by to check your ticket or sell you one. No one came by that night and we rode for free.

Just laying in the middle of the road taking a photo.

See Naples and die

We didn’t actually do much in Naples. We planned to, but never got around to it. Other things just called out louder for our attention.

First we went to Pompeii. It was very sad. There are many casts made from the bodies of victims. Looking at their very expressive body language you can see how afraid they were. There was one of a child who made him or herself into a ball. I could almost hear that kid crying.

Going to the hot spring!

For most of the vacation we were on Ischia or Capri, but mainly Ischia. At Sorgeto beach on the island of Ischia there is a most wonderful, free hot spring. I soaked there for hours at a time.

Water comes from a volcano and leaks out of earth boiling hot then it mixes with the ice cold water of the Tyrrhenian Sea. The big rocks at the beach can be used to make seats and to form a tub. Bathers move the rocks around to create higher or lower tub walls and let in more or less sea water. This adjusts the temperature of the natural tub.

There was a restaurant nearby that sold overpriced food, but it had the only shade for miles. If you go, make sure to bring plenty of water, food, and maybe a beach umbrella.

2 more days in Italy!

No, no, not cancelled… transferred

We bought our round trip tickets on Ryan Air. It’s a great airline for cheap flights around Europe. The trouble with this no-frills airline is that there are no guarantees.

The day before our flight back to Manchester (well Liverpool, then we would take the train into Manchester) we spent the night at Ciampino Airport. We tried to stay in the arrival area because it had better seats, but it was closed off. No one would say why, but we figured that it had something to do with the Pope’s funeral.

As we were moving over to the departure section my travel partner thought he saw John Kerry. At that time John Kerry was running for President of the US. I thought my friend was just being too wishful. Why would John Kerry be in a tiny run down airport like Ciampino?  Later I found out that Ciampino was where all the heads of state flew into Rome for the Pope’s funeral.

The following morning, when it was time to check-in, we were told that we wouldn’t make the flight.

Me – Why not?

Clerk – Because it’s too far away.

Me – What?

Clerk – You are at the wrong airport.

Me – But this is the airport in which we arrived.

I looked at my flight confirmation paper. Sure enough, it said I would depart from Ciampino. “Look,” I showed the guy my paper, “it’s says Ciampino.”

Clerk – Yes, but that changed. Ciampino is closed for the next week. See the sign?

He pointed to a small white board sign that listed several flights and stated that they are now leaving from some other airport. We had spent the night at the airport in the departure section and we never saw this sign.

Me – How long has that sign been here?

Clerk -I put it out 5 minutes ago.

Me – Where is this new airport?

He took out a little map of Italy and pointed to a city… on the other side of the country.

Me – That’s not in Rome!

Clerk – No. That’s Pescara. You’ll need to take the train.

Me – So. I’ve missed my flight! How am I going to get back to England? I have class on Monday.

I asked the man if I could at least get a refund on my flight so that maybe I could have some money to pay for another one. He told me that RyanAir only gives refunds for cancelled flights.

Me – But the flight was cancelled!

Clerk – No, ma’am. This flight was not cancelled. It was transferred.

My friend and I asked to speak with the manager. We explained that we were at the airport since the evening before and there was no indication of the change. The manager, in his Italian fashion, said, “No problem. I’ll put you on tomorrow’s flight.” He printed out new flight confirmations for us and even gave us directions to find the train station.

I was very mad until I got on the train and looked out the window. Italy is a very beautiful country and now I was going to be able to see the other side.

All Pictures


The Colosseum

How to get there:

  • Coordinates 41°53’24.8″N 12°29’32.3″E

Go to Colosseo on Linea B

Website:

Cost:

  • €12 (including a €3 exhibition charge) standard,
  • €7.50 reduced rate.

Hours:

  • 8:30 –  one hour before sunset,
  • Open every day except Christmas day and January 1st.

Saint Peter’s Square

How to get there:

  • 41°54’07.9″N 12°27’26.4″E

By Bus –

  • From Central Rome take bus #64
  • Once in Vatican City, everything is in walking distance.

Website:

Downloads

e-mail: stpetersbasilica@gmail.com

Cost:

  • Free
  • The Museums and tours will cost money

Hours:

  • St. Peter’s Square is always available.

Notes:

  • Some of the churches and attractions in this city have a dress code.
    • Please have your shoulders covered,
    • Don’t wear shorts or shirts that are too short,
    • and take your hat off

Naples 

How to get there:

By train:

By Boat:

Website:

Notes:

  • Naples is the city that we used to get to Pompeii, Ischia, and Capri.

Pompeii 

How to get there:

  • Coordinates 40°45’02.8″N 14°29’22.1″E

By Train –

Phone: +39 081 8575331

Website:

Cost:

  • If you are an EU citizen and you are under 18 or over 65 you can get in for free.
  • € 11.00

Hours:

  • November – March, 8:30 – 17:00 (last admission 15:30)
  • April – October,  8:30 – 19:30 (last admission 18:00)

Videos: 

Notes:

  • Drink lots of water. It’s a lot of walking.
  • Bring your own toilet paper.

Ischia 

How to get there

By Boat from Naples:

Website:

Notes:

There are many hot springs on this island.

  • I went to the one called Sorgeto Hot Springs in Panza.
  • Boiling hot water from the volcano mixes with the freezing water of the sea to make a very nice natural hot tub.
  • To get there take a bus to Panza and follow the sign towards the beach. It’s about a 1km walk. There many steps that lead to the beach.
  • The hot spring is free to use.
  • Bring your own water and food. There is a restaurant there, but it doesn’t have a wide selection, it’s quite overpriced, and it’s not always open.
  • I read somewhere that people sometimes bring potatoes and eggs to cook in the hot water.
There were many movies that were filmed or partly filmed on this island. Among them are:

Capri

How to get there:

By Boat from Naples –

Website:

Notes:

  • The Blue Grotto, though really beautiful, isn’t worth it if you pay too much. The whole thing will last about 5 minutes.
  • The Chair Lift to the top of Monte Solaro is completely worth it. Even if you, like me, are afraid of heights the view is just too good to pass up!

Pescara

How to get there:

By Plane –

By Train –

Website

Notes:

  • Every July Pescara holds an International Jazz Festival called Pescara Jazz.

Map:


Posted in Capri, Ischia, Italy, Naples, Panza, Pescara, Pompeii, Rome, Vatican City | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

 
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