Hi Everyone! Susan here, reporting on our fabulous tour of
As we were walking back to meet Pepe, we saw a Disney tour and our friends, Vicki (vtiffany) and Tom, who were on the Amalfi tour as well. Also saw the Disney photographers near the Arch of Constantine, but didn’t have time to get our pictures taken (plus the tour group had just arrived). Back in the van, Pepe told us that he grew up a few blocks from the Colosseum and that as a child he played hide and seek there. We drove by the Mouth of Truth, but the gates were still closed, so we didn’t stop. Next stop was the
At the Pantheon, we were all amazed at the architecture of the building and the vastness of the dome. It is truly an engineering marvel, considering the construction techniques of the age in which it was built and that the dome is self-supporting. The sunlight streaming in the open top did give you the feeling of being near heaven. The picture shows a group of nuns we saw inside. Next stop was Trevi Fountain (photo below), and we all tossed the obligatory coins in. The Disney photographers were there too, so we snagged one for a picture. It wasn’t quite time for lunch, so we went to another church. The interesting aspect of this particular church was that the patron family of the church ran out of money during construction before the dome could be built. One of the money saving measures was to paint a forced perspective of a dome on the flat ceiling. From the rear of the church, it looks so real. It is only when your get closer that you notice that the top of the dome is not in the center. Really cool effect! Also some of the “marble” columns are also painted in perspective.
By now we were getting hungry, so we all decided that a quick stop for pizza and gelato would do the trick. We stopped near Piazza Navone, at a Pizza shop recommended by Pepe. The pizza was outstanding, and of course I wound up wearing my lunch, dribbling pizza grease all over my shirt and skirt. Grrrr!!! And I had just done all of the laundry the day before. Oh well, hopefully most of it will come out. We sat at the restaurant across the street with the promise of getting gelato when we were through with pizza. They had 51 flavors of gelato. Pepe recommended getting ciccolato (chocolate) with pana (cream), and Jeff and Katy took his suggestion, while I got my standard dish of limone (lemon). Marie got cream caramel and Jeff got the standard vanilla. The waiter brought out the lovely dishes of gelato with cookies and a little decoration. Very cool and very yummy!!! Again, we saw the Disney tour walking by, seeing Vicky, Tom and Steph (taysmom).
After our gelato, we walked around the piazza and looked at the fountain. It was 1:45 and time to go to the
Our guide explained what we were going to see prior to entering the Sistine Chapel. The paintings are truly breathtaking. It would have been nice to linger, but the crowd was oppressive, and not following the instructions to not take photos or video, not talk, and not sit on the floor, despite the instructions that had been given in every language imaginable. Tourists!! We then went to the magnificent St. Peter’s Basilica, the largest church in the world. We were all amazed at the size of the church and the beautiful mosaics. There is only one painting in the Basilica, with the rest as reproductions of famous paintings in mosaic. Some were so detailed, that it was difficult to tell that it wasn’t a painting. There were opulent statues and alters in the various alcoves to mark the crypts of popes and wealthy rulers from all over. Now, only the popes are allowed to be buried in St. Peter’s. From grates in the marble floor, one can see the level below and some of the crypts. We bought a book about
We said goodbye to our guide at 4 pm and were off to the ship. The ride back only took about 45 minutes, as the traffic gods were on our side. We said goodbye to Pepe and boarded the ship. There were very few people on board, so I got some Shout wipes from Marie, and proceeded to attempt to get the grease out of my skirt. I made it to the laundry before the hordes arrived.
We had a wonderful tour of
Dinner was at Animator’s Palate and it again was outstanding. Big thumbs up to the kitchen and service staff! We finished out the evening by visiting the Buena Vista Theatre to watch James Bond in “Casino Royale”. Good flick!