Journal Categories
Journal Tags
« Day 5, The Borghese (9/18) | Main | Day 3, The Vatican (9/16) »

Day 4, Ancient Rome (9/17)

This was the day that we returned to the classical period of our history. It was also the day on which my camera stopped focusing properly, a state of protest it maintained until the very last day of our trip, of course.

It's a tossup for me between classics and Renaissance. I love them both for very different reasons. Calvin, on the other hand, seems to be most in love with the ancients. On many occasions, this day being no exception, I was exceedingly glad that we had spent so much time this summer studying our Italian and Roman history.

We started our tour of the classics in the Roman Forum. Walking paths between the ruins of what was once the heart of an enormous empire, surrounded by the remnants of marble columns and arches, was an awesome experience, in the true and literal sense of the word. Those remnants are giant, and can give only an impression of what the original span of the forum must have been. Sculptural detail and signs carved out in Latin attempt to carry you back to the past, and if you stand in just the right spot while reading descriptions of historical moments can take your breath away. If you have an active imagination, that is.

But equally as impressive is taking a moment to look around and think about the present meeting the past. It's the little things, like watching Calvin stop to take a rest, sitting on ground once traversed by the powerful and tyrannical rulers of a vast empire, that kind of make my head explode with the complexity of history and time.

After the Forum we wandered around Palatine Hill for a while. Rome-the-current is in the process of rebuilding parts of the palace that original occupied this space. Still surviving ancient times, though, were some floors, a handful of walls, a mosaic fountain, and the indoor arena. The pigeons love it. Heading back down from Palatine Hill provided some of the best views of the Colosseum, our next stop. Of course, the Colosseum being an enclosed space, we found ourselves once again battling massive groups of guided tours, but again the battle was worth it.

Our last stop of the day was at the Capitoline Museum. Calvin was eager to make this last stop and had been awaiting his chance to see the original She Wolf statue (as in Romulus and Remus) and the Hall of Philosophers for months. Running low on time we found ourselves practically running through some of the other wings to get to the far end of the museum and the hall we were looking for, only to find it closed for painting. It was a huge disappointment, but since it was the only real one of the trip, we're finding it easy to overlook. Plus the She Wolf was there, just as we had always imagined her.

It is possible, in retrospect, that this was my favorite day of the entire trip, although it's really hard for me to make a distinction like that. Calvin, on the other hand, is very clear about the Colosseum being his second favorite stop of our entire trip (we'll get to his first favorite stop later).


The Arch of Septimus Severus

The Temple of Saturn
"What's holding the rest of that up? I'm leaving." -Dad

Temple of the Vetstal Virgins

Constantine's Basilica

The Arch of Titus

On Palatine Hill

original palace flooring

Indoor arena

The Colosseum

The Victor Emanuel Monument

Capitoline Museum
The head (foot and hand) of the giant statue of Constantine that was in Constantine's Basilica

Looking at a construction of the original Temple of Jupiter, the foundations of which the Capitoline Museum was built over.

The rememnant of the original walls of the Temple of Jupiter

The Dying Gaul

The Luck Dragon?

View of the Forum from the Capitoline basement

Finishing the evening at a jazz club

PrintView Printer Friendly Version

EmailEmail Article to Friend

Reader Comments

There are no comments for this journal entry. To create a new comment, use the form below.

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
All HTML will be escaped. Hyperlinks will be created for URLs automatically.