In September, Eric and I celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary. In honor of this milestone in our lives, we decided to celebrate it in Italy. Our week long visit took us to Rome, Florence and Venice. Our trip was filled with astonishing artwork, historical buildings, 300+ pictures to edit, a lot of wonderful food and way too much gelato!
I’ve been slowly (emphasis on slowly) editing our pictures. Thank goodness for digital cameras and photo editing software. In order to maintain some sanity with all the pictures, I’m sorting them into categories. Today I’m sharing my favorite images from our first day in Rome.
I was once told that Rome was like New York, jacked-up on espresso and with a prettier language. Surprisingly, I agree with that analogy. Enjoy this tour of our first day in Rome.
In Italy, it was quite common to see small and medium size altars or shrines erected on buildings. Some were situated so you couldn’t miss them. Others were more subtle. Many, unfortunately, were covered in the grime of an ancient city. All were intriguing.
Of course Italy is replete with churches of all sorts. Big, small, ornate, and simple. As we walked around the city and got closer to the Tiber River, we came across a church with a rather morbid facade. A woman exiting the church told us we had to go in and see the crypt.
Curious, we went inside. The interior was a little dark. The age of the church was evident. We found our way to the stairs leading to the crypt. Down into the dimly lighted room we went. And in this room we saw chandeliers created from the vertebrae of the dead. The walls were lined with skulls. It was, quite frankly, bizarre.
A little research after returning home revealed that we had visited the Saint Mary of the Prayer and Death Church (S. Maria dell’Orazione e Morte). The church was built by a confraternity that assumed responsibility for interring abandoned corpses in Rome. The church was originally built in 1575 and rebuilt in 1733. The facade, decorated with skulls and a winged skeleton, explained the purpose of the church. Above the front door is a “klepsydra” (Greek for “water stealer”). A klepsydra is a water clock which symbolizes death.
Well that explains things! (These little off the path adventures make traveling quite fun.)
In Rome you’ll also find numerous piazzas. People gather here with their families and friends and street performers entertain. Many piazzas have fountains as well. Fountains are also great hang-outs for birds. I wonder if the sculptor of the fountain in Piazza Navona knew this.
The trick when you travel overseas is to take a short nap after arrival and then stay up as long as you can so your body can start adjusting to the time change. A little melatonin before going to bed helps too.
And that is where we’ll end our first day in Rome. A little jet-lagged but happy to have arrived.
In a future post: Do you like gladiators? Rome’s ruins and the Colosseum