The Eternal City

July 3, 2007 at 12:38 pm

One more quick post from Rome. We are hopping a train to Venice tomorrow, so this might be my last night with internet access for a little while.

I’ve managed to resize and upload all of the photos from our first day in the city. They are up in the gallery now. That’s a lot of shots from one day’s wanderings, but they are probably the bulk of my picture-taking so far, as well. Many of the museums here don’t allow any photography at all, and my giant camera is not something I can sneak out for a shot or two. Too bad, but it makes me remember to look at the world around me as well. I’ve spent so much time “framing”, sometimes I forget to just look.

The ancient city center in Rome is really fantastic, and I hope you enjoy all of the shots of old stuff. This was all from Saturday. We left the apartment at around 11am, and managed to loose track of our two other travel companions within 10 minutes. That seems to be the way it is around here. If you’re not physically tied to a person, expect to loose them every time you walk into a new building. It wasn’t a big deal, as we had a plan for the day, and could all meet up at the apartment in the evening.

We probably walked 20 miles that day. I learned that the city was supposedly founded around 700 BC (relatively recent compared to ancient Greece and Egypt), and that architecture for the first 700 years or so was mostly concrete faced with brick. Thus the oldest buildings and ruins are not marble, but stacks of very well-laid bricks. We saw the Trajan Markets, the Palatine Hill, and the Colosseum that afternoon, all of which are large brick buildings.

The Romans did not face buildings with granite or marble very much until the first century BC, which is the time of the republic, and in 44 BC (when Caesar declared himself emperor and dissolved the senate) became the age of the Empire. So, we also saw plenty of columns and marble ruins about in the “Forums” area. Beautiful carvings, worn away statues, and delicate reliefs littered the grass of the area. It’s weird walking through there. There’s no fence or gate, or any designation that this area is any different than the city government offices that are built next door. Just a lot of old columns sticking out of the ground, and the occasional tablet with Greek letters chopped into it peaking out of a clump of grass. People were sitting in the grass around the ruins, and plenty of them were sitting on the old statuary. There’s so much old stuff around in Rome, it just doesn’t seem to phase anybody any more.

The shot below is probably my favorite from the day. We found this cave behind an iron gate below the hill which holds the houses of various Caesars and famous ancient Romans. The trickle of water from the top made a lovely echo in the quiet chamber. The built up minerals on the walls looked like the insides of many of the old caverns we have in the US. I’ve never seen stalactites hanging from stone carvings before this. It was beautiful.

Ancient Spring