Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Visiting The Vatican City

The Vatican City may be in Rome, but it's not actually in Rome. Or Italy, for that matter. The City is a state, its own sovereign territory. As a country, the Vatican City ranks as the smallest in the world by both area (110 acres) and population (840). But it's still its own state and the US recognizes it as such with a Foreign Service mission dedicated to the Vatican City. Yes, Sarah could be posted there one day, lunching with the Pope. As if.

Don't forget the architecture and art of the place. And a little power and majesty. The view outward of Saint Peters square, mucked up a bit with stages and seating for weekly outdoor masses. But who could resist the setting?

The dome of Saint Peters, a bit of an anchor point to get your bearings around Rome.

Divine light, always shining through the dome.

Art? The Vatican City Museums have cargo ship-loads of the stuff, culminating in the Sistine Chapel. Don't miss beauties like the Laocoon

At night, grab a gelato and enjoy the sunset over Saint Peters and the square.

Monday, 29 December 2014

Michelangelo's Sculptures In Rome

Michelangelo is famous for his Sistine Chapel doodlings, but he also found time to chip out a couple of amazing sculptures while hanging in Rome. He wore that Renaissance Man title well.

Holy Moses! Head to San Pietro in Vincoli to check out the prophet as superhero. He's massive, measuring almost eight and a half feet, sitting. Bulging veins, long beard, huge shoulders, pensive gaze, you definitely do not want to cross Moses. The horns? Thought to be based on a blown translation from the original Hebrew scripture.

Moses, as usual, drawing a crowd.

Head across town to the Vatican city and go see Michelangelo's delicate, sad Pieta, in an alcove in Saint Peters. Again, always drawing a crowd, so much so that a glass barrier has been installed, after a crazed person decided to take a hammer to the sculpture.

Back at San Pietro, there are other, non-Michelangelo pieces to see. Catholics don't mess around when depicting death and why you should make sure not to confront harsh realities in the afterlife.

Friday, 26 December 2014

The Divine Light In Rome Churches

With no electricity to power lights, Rome's churches had two options: candles or the sun. Candles are nice, but in a place that's main purpose is to connect with God, it's best to take advantage of what God has given. Let there be light, divine light.

Or the great architects of these religious monuments just knew what they were doing.

Choose your seat and maybe the light will choose you.

Major cathedral, major light. St Peter's and a sculpture room at the Vatican museum.

Another ray at St Peter's.

Thursday, 25 December 2014

Rabbit Rejoice!

We brought our famous Rabbit from India. If you're not familiar with Rabbit's rep, start here or simply search "Rabbit" on the blog to bring up many, many Rabbit-related posts. The posts bred like, well...enjoy.

How was Rabbit's first winter holiday in Lithuania?

Hanging with Sarah, staying warm with a scarf in the Rotuse (town square). Rabbit Rotuse?

Soon enough, Rabbit attracts the kids. Time for a little posing.

James and Rabbit in a stare down.

Rabbit gets around, just hanging out as people (ringers) walk by. Another location, another set of folks wanting a snap with Rabbit.

Rabbit helping feed another species.

Back in the town square, Rabbit enjoying a story, and looking suave in a red scarf.

Rejoice for Rabbit!

Happy Holidays to everyone, rave on with Rabbit in 2015! 

Wednesday, 24 December 2014

Great Graffiti In Rome

Sure, Rome is all historical and everything, sometimes looking so intact that you could have died and gone to Busch Gardens theme heaven. Just don't tell the rebellious youth, busy tagging whatever they can.

Graffiti can have its stars (hello Banksy). Meet Hogre. Google Hogre. Try to figure out why it's important to show a priest getting young women to lick holy keys. Or just enjoy the image.

A couple of bubble dots on an intercom box and you have a face, ready for a speech balloon. You've been outed. Now go see what Tinder is. Because they definitely saw you.

Fantastic graffiti. Can it be considered graffiti, so perfect in scale and site specific? What balance!

A kinder, gentler graffiti, paper that's been plastered.

Back to Hogre, whose death has been greatly exaggerated.

Monday, 22 December 2014

Wasting Time At The Roman Colosseum

Stealing lines from a Bob Dylan song, time to go dodge some lions. And we can hardly stand to see 'em.

Putting the colossus in Colosseum.

Ready to see it? Just make sure you get your picture - "I was witness!"

The place doesn't disappoint, even sans floor and a bunch of the upper sections. And the canvas top. People - about 50,000. Some lions. Bears. Human and other flesh being ripped. Still, it doesn't disappoint.

The lone section still with marble seating. Quite an understage area.

A triumph of brick arch work.

Impressive exterior and happy tourist.

One last look....

Friday, 19 December 2014

The Fountains Of Rome

You can't stroll through Rome without running into a few famous fountains. Plenty of places to pitch a Euro.

How about starting at the mighty Piazza Navona? In the center, you'll find the Fontana die Quattro Fiumi, an impressive work by Rome's favorite go-to guy for sculpture, Bernini.

A figure from the fountain, symbolizing one of the four great rivers of the world.

Speaking of Bernini, how about his nice, little addition to this fountain? Fontana dell Tartarughe, a 16th century work restored by Bernini, so named because of the turtles he added.

Mighty Trevi, overflowing with tourists. Exit through the gift tables.

You don't need to go tourist when seeing fountains in Rome. Head into a random back courtyard of an apartment building and get lucky. And you might see a live turtle!

Like we said, you might see a live turtle.