The Last of Rome

July 15, 2007 at 2:13 pm

Well, I’m back in Colorado. After 24 full hours of traveling yesterday, I’m feeling stiff, sore, and exhausted still. I’m moving slow, and spending some time getting photos organized and documented. I rearranged the gallery a bit, and I added a few photos to both of the sub galleries.

I want to write one more post about the other sites we saw while in Rome. Yes, the ancient center was amazing, and the Vatican full of incredible sites, but there are lots of other things to see in the Eternal City.

Fountains – You can’t walk 30 feet in Rome without stumbling on one fountain or another. Many are incredibly beautiful, and most are full of “potable” water. It’s not uncommon to see people drinking from these fountains. I only drank from the fountains with spigots that seemed to obviously be built for supplying drinking water. And I haven’t gotten sick yet!

I found these fountains very photogenic, and today I uploaded several shots of Bernini’s Fontana del Tritone, one of the fountain outside S. Maria d. Vittoria, and a few of The Fountain of the Naiads.

Churches – The fountains might be every 30ft, but it seems like the churches are closer together. I think Mark spent more time in church on this trip than he has in his entire life. :) The buildings were varied and beautiful, but here is a little about Mark and my three favorites in Rome.

Santa Maria della Concezione dei Cappuccini: We wandered up to this little church by accident. It was only mentioned in a few paragraphs in our guidebook, and not given stars or anything to note how, well, bizarre the place is. They don’t allow photographs in the place, but I bought postcards and intend to scan them in.

So, for over 200 years, the brothers of of the Capuchins would take the bones of the dead and arrange them into wall decorations, alters, shelves, even lamps and chandeliers hanging from the ceiling. In 3 or 4 rooms below the church, the bones of over 4,000 bodies have been glued and nailed together in the most elaborate and disturbing shrine to the dead that I have ever… well… heard of, let alone seen. There are a few full mummies, and the full skeleton of a little girl is nailed to the ceiling of the last room.

Here’s a shot from

Santa Maria della Vittoria: We came upon this church looking for other interesting sites near the Concezione. Mark declared it to be his favorite church of the trip to Rome. The intensely baroque architecture was mostly designed and built in the 17th century, and houses two amazing sculptures by Bernini who has become one of my favorite artists.

Every square inch of this church was covered in some of the most beautiful frescos and carvings that we would see in our entire trip. Everything was in beautiful condition, and the church was small enough that there was no crowd, and you could really approach the art and spend time examining the amazing detail.

Santa Maria in Trastevere: This church is considered to be the first Christian church in Rome, and was originally built around 300 AD, when emperors were still pagan and Christianity a minority cult. The current building and many of the incredibly beautiful mosaics date from around the 12-13th centuries, or the end of the last crusade, though the church did contain many earlier carvings and works of art.

The detail and mysterious symbols in the mosaics were captivating. In the shot below, that is Jesus with a “queen” sitting beside him. Most people see that as his mother Mary, but those who have read The De Vinci Code might see a different Mary there. The six-winged angles in the top are Seraphim, ancient orders of Angels described in Judaic and Christian writings as being the highest order of Angels.

Santa Maria in Trasevere