This is the Fontana di Trevi, one of the most famous fountains in Rome. We went there first thing, and were pleased that once again the sun was shining. Elora however, thought it was too cold, so before enjoying the fountain, we went searching for hot chocolate (which turned out to be amazing hot chocolate…) Interesting fact, this fountain was started by Bernini (famous Italian artist/sculptor/architect) and other artists, but was stopped when the pope died. The fountain was not finished until over 100 years later by Nicola Salvi, an architect most famous for his work on this fountain.
Elora getting warmed up inside Daddy’s coat. She was pretty tired by the last day of the trip, and wanted us to carry her around (especially when she wanted to be wrapped up in Chris’ coat…)
We walked to the Piazza Navona, which ended up being one of my favorite places we visited. It is a huge square in the middle of a group of apartment buildings and shops, with three large fountains, artist stands and some beautiful architecture. The square is built to cover the site of Domitian’s stadium, which was an ancient Roman stadium built in the first century, and used for competitions. Note Oliver carrying around a box of Ritz crackers. We could not get that box away from him for the remainder of the day.
The kids enjoying the famous Fontana dei Fiumi (Fountain of the Four Rivers – 1651 by Bernini). Fun fact, the four rivers represented by the fountain are the Danube, the Ganges, the Nile, and the Rio de la Plata. The kids love fountains, and today they were being very sweet with each other. Lots of hugs and holding hands.
One of the artists had this huge dog, that Oliver stood and talked to for nearly ten minutes… and then I had to drag him away. I wonder what he was telling the dog that was so important?
The square was so beautiful and perfect for us because there were no cars, so the kids could run and play.
And of course, Elora chased the birds. After awhile Oliver joined in the fun too, pointing and talking about the birds before deciding to chase them.
We also went to see the Spanish Steps at the Piazza di Spagna. At first we thought there was scaffolding (that would be our luck) on these famous steps, but it is actually a recreation of the Berlin Wall to commemorate the fall of the Berlin Wall.
Here we are in front of the Pantheon. The original Pantheon was built in 27AD, but destroyed in a fire. After a series of rebuildings and fires, the form of the Pantheon that is still seen was built in 128AD, and I can’t believe it is that old, and still standing… It is such a magnificent building.
There was a fountain in front of it with lots of birds bathing. Oliver loves birds and was excited to watch them.
The Pantheon was turned into a church in 600 AD and still has that appearance now. Many famous people are buried there, including the painter Raphael, who was buried here at his request. More fun facts – the dome is the widest masonry dome ever raised, and all the light for the interior is provided by the hole in the dome that is nine meters in diameter. It is a really spectacular sight.
As we were wandering around, we went in this church. No idea what it is called, and I don’t even really remember where it is, but it was so beautiful. I highly recommend wandering around Rome until you find it.
Here is Elora in front of the Temple of Hadrian. It was built in about 145 AD to deify the Emperor Hadrian, and now all that remains is this partial wall of columns. There has been a new building attached the this wall.
Now on to the pastries! We were actually looking for this gelato shop which is supposed to have the best gelato in Rome when we came across the Temple of Hadrian. The gelato shop also had pastries, so we got a few pastries wrapped up to enjoy later.
Okay, so we ate a lot of gelato in Rome, and while this was good, it was actually not the best we had. But what was good, was the huge dollop of whipped cream on the top.
We finally headed back over to the ruins of the Roman forum which I had been really wanting to see all week, and which we attempted to find the entrance to ALL WEEK. Today was no exception, and we wandered around looking for the entrance, asking for directions… Meanwhile, Elora decided to hop into pictures with other people. This happened on multiple occasions, and she was very excited. “I took a picture with that person, and they were so happy!” Strange child won’t pose for us, but happily goes and takes pictures with strangers.
There was an exhibit inside the Roman Forum of these heads that are HUGE! They were parts of statues or busts of different emperors that have been found.
A view of the Arch of Septimus Severus (After Harry Potter, that name just makes me think he was a bad guy…) built in 203 and has crazy carvings all over it. The carvings are pictures of soldiers and battles that were fought under the command of Severus. I assume he must have done well since they built him an arch… In the background are the remaining columns of the Temple of Saturn which was originally built in 497 BC! Being from America makes all these old buildings seem amazingly, insanely old. Our really old buildings in the US are like, 200 years old.
Elora loved exploring the ruins. There were lots of chunks of columns and buildings just lying around, and these crazy huge cobblestones that were interesting with a stroller. Note to self: Next time leave the stroller in the apartment and let the kids run and run and run…
We finally made it inside the Colosseum – the largest amphitheater ever built in Rome. Could hold approximately 50,000 people. And mostly used for all those gladiator fights they keep making movies out of. If you notice all the ruins in the middle, they used to be underneath the floor of the Colosseum, and are the rooms where animals, weapons, and gladiators were kept. Very little of the original building is still there, a lot of it was scavenged by people who wanted building materials in the 1500s. I think the wall on the north is the only original, the rest were reconstructed at different points in history.
Interesting note: it is called the Colosseum because there used to be a large statue that was a copy of the Colossus of Rhodes located outside of it. (For those who read about our trip to Rhodes, I thought this was funny, because Elora LOVES the story of the Colossus of Rhodes). It had its face recarved four times because different emperors kept making the face of the statue look like themselves. But sadly, it was destroyed…
Ollie and Elora held hands as we walked around the Colosseum. Everytime I stopped to take picures, they would play nicely nearby, and then when we started to walk, they would hold hands again.
While sitting on the steps, Elora asked Oliver nicely if she could have a cracker – and surprisingly, he gave her one (he is quite possessive of Ritz crackers, in case you couldn’t tell by the prevalence of pictures with the Ritz box present). Elora was very pleased and rewarded Oliver with a nice hug.
And of course, once we got home we broke into the pastries. They were okay, but on this trip I felt like Austrian pastries are better…