Long Weekend In Rome
Here are photos I took while
visiting Rome in late October 2000.
A truly amazing city full of
history, life, fashion, mopeds, tiny cars, stylishly dressed Italian women, food, the pope, etc.
Click here for the fully diary of the
A completely overexposed shot
of the city from god knows where. Still, it's an interesting cityscape and
you can see Saint Peter's Basilica.
Me and the pope....somewhere
behind me on the steps of Saint Peter's Basilica in Vatican City. Couldn't
get too close to the great man because of all the crowds.
But you can see him here on
PopeTV giving a speech to the masses.
Inside Saint Peters
Basilica. The place is absolutely huge. Unbelievable to look
at inside. Shows you how much wealth and power the church had over
the centuries. A church in some format has existed here since 64AD
to commerate where Saint Peter was martyred. In the classical
period, Nero's Circus once stood on the site.
Swiss Guards guarding one of
the entrances to the Vatican.
Somewhere inside one of the
Vatican museum buildings. Amazing ceilings.
Bronze statue of the Archangel
Michael atop the Castel Sant'Angelo. This massive fotress
overlooking the river Tiber and Vatican City was originally built as
Hadrian's mausoleum. As well as storing dead roman emperors and
their families, it eventually became a fort and was a bolt hole for the
popes in times of trouble.
Statue of an angel in Castel
Picture of the the dome of
Saint Peter's Basilica through iron bars in a window atop Castel
San'Angelo. I took this photo as it seemed interesting to show the
church behind bars.
Me (wearing the company
tee-shirt no less) with Vatican City and the basilica in the the
Is the Colosseum sinking or was
Simon just going for an arty shot? It was amazing to see the
Colosseum after reading about it, seeing pictures of it and seeing the
movie Gladiator. In many ways, it was the symbol of Rome's power -
now a shadow of it's former glory but impressive nonetheless. Hard
to believe but in addition to gladiator fights and animal hunts, they also
used to flood the arena and have naval battles here. It was even
higher than pictured as it had 1 to 2 higher wooden levels. In
addition, huge sails used to be pulled over the entire arena to shade the
occupants during the show. In between contests, you could buy food and
even get laid.
The Colosseum from the
inside. A strange thermal is rising from behind it. Inside, a
christen cross marks the place where the emperor would sit. The
cross is in memory of the thousands of people and animals who died there
to entertain the masses before TV was invented.
One of the passage ways leading
up the upper stands of the Colosseum.
"Friends, Romans, lend me
your ears!" Here are three guys dressed up in Roman attire for having
tacky pictures taken with tourists.
This is the Arch of Constantine
erected to celebrate the 10th anniversary of emperor Constantine's ascent
to the throne and victory over some other guy who wanted it. Goes to
show that roman emperors didn't create/seize/rule an empire by having
meetings, they did it by killing everyone who got in their
There used to be an amazing
roman fountain in front of the Arch but it was bulldozed in the 1930's by
Mussolini who intended to stage triumphant parades of his armies through
the Arch of Constantine to celebrate his victories. However, given the
fact that the Italians considered themselves to be more lovers, not
fighters - Mussolini never had any victories to celebrate so no triumphant
parades ever took place. Speaking of Italians as lovers, apparently
they are also failing on that front as evidenced by the falling birth rate
and the projection that Italy will have 10million less Italians in 30-50
years time. Also, 60% of Italian men under the age of 35 still live at
home with their mothers. .
Triva aside, this is the
remains of the Temple of Venus and Roma as seen from near the Colosseum.
Here's another view of the
Temple of Venus and Roma. To the left can be seen the old road
leading to the Imperial Forums.
I like this shot. It's the
remains of the Temple of Saturn with the sun shining in from behind.
The temple of Saturn is one of the oldest temples in Rome and first was
built in 467BC. Subsequently rebuilt to what we see here at some
This is actually the Temple of
Antoninus and Faustina over which the church of San Lorenzo in Miranda was
built. The temple is unusally well preserved as attempts to pull down the
columns failed due to it's study construction. In the columns, you
can see grooves cut for the ropes which they used to try and pull the
This is the forum area looking
back upto Palatine Hill. The columns you see are from the Temple of
Castor and Polux
Another shot of the
forum. Hard to believe but the whole place used to be covered in
marble. Place basically fell apart after a lot of metal reinforcing was
removed from structures for melting down into weapons by hordes of
conquering dark ages dudes. Most of the marble was taken away
through the centuries to build churches for the Christian
Actually makes you wonder what
religion is in the end. Here you see evidence of the ancient Romans ideas
of lots of gods of various temperaments and personalities taken over by
the the Christian idea of one god. Who is right in the end?
Maybe the one god idea (and a compassionate one at that) was just easier
for the masses to digest. Academic for me as I'm atheist. The funny
thing is that while I don't believe in religion, I am interested in it.
Another view of the
forum. Here, you can see the remains of the Temple of Vespasian, the
Arch of Septimius Serverus and the Temple of Saturn. Incidently,
Septimus Serverus happened to be a guy who was in the right place at the
right time when a whole lot of long term plans to conquer parts of the
world fell into place. His father actually did most of work
apparently according to the guide that was giving us a free trip around
the forum. mmmm...just checked the history books, it was Titus, son of
Vespasian who got the free ride and the Arch of Titus to celebrate the
fact is up the other end of the photo. Bygones.
Around here, was also given the
speech by Marc Anthony upon the death of Julius Caesar that more or less
started a war between march Anthony and Julius Caesar's adopted son
Octavian (later called Augustus). Ocatavian won. Marc Anthony and
his main squeeze at the time, Cleopatra, committed suicide in Eqypt.
Speaking of Augustus, this is
his mausoleum - near the river not far from Piazza de Spagna and Piazza
Baths of Caracalla. Saw
the outside of the baths on my trek half way cross Rome to check out the Catacombs.
Colosseum at night.
Crappy photo but reminds me of Halloween with the orangle lighting in the
Roman forum at night. Crappy
photo again but the falsh battery was dying and is not exactly good at
lighting up whole swathes of ruins. As I was taking these shots, I saw
several newly married couples having pictures taken near the Colosseum and
other ruins. Pretty groovy location of wedding photos, hey?
Streets of Rome
Ahhhh....Rome....you gotta love
the place. I thought I'd walked all over it once, twice maybe three
times but kept finding things I hadn't seen before.
A funny place to start but
here's a man hole bearing the mark of the city of Rome 'SPQR'. I
find this interesting as it is the symbol that you see in Gladiator or
Russell Crowes arm and also on Roman battle standards and artifacts.
Fountain Of the Moor at one end
of the Piazza Navona. Apparently, this is the site of Domitian's
Stadium where various sporting events were held during roman times.
The whole piazza is in the shape of a chariot or running track. The
obelisk is part of the spectacular Fontana dei Fiumi byBernini.
There are lots of cafes and bars here and the place is a popular meeting
point on Saturday night.
This is a demonstration by the
Italian Communist Party or something outside the Baths of Diocletian near
Piazza della Republica. Quite amusing was all the heavily armed
police nearby keeping a close eye on them.
This is the Fontana di Trevi.
Very beautiful but crowded with hundreds of visitors. The tradition
there is to throw two coins over your shoulder and make a wish. I
did but I've forgotten what I wished for and whatever I wished for hasn't
turned up yet. Also saw a lady surreptitiously throwing a magnet or
bag of some kind into the fountain and then pulling it in to collect a
whole lot of coins. Afterwards, she walked quietly away. Sad.
Crazy camera angle
A street somewhere.
Probably leading up to Piazza di Spagna
Another pretty street.
Yet another one off the Piazza
Ahhh...the Spanish Steps on the
edge of the Piazza del Spagna. So named after the Spanish delegation to
the Vatican that is located off the square. The steps are hard to see with
the crap photo and all the people but the steps actually widen and narrow
in compact stages in no way bound by any rigid scheme.
The cute church
up the top there is called the Trinita dei Monti. I actually saw a
wedding party arrive there. I've have never seen such a fat ugly
bride as that one but you get that on the big jobs. She was just
standing there, bulbous, in white, with a cigerette hanging from her
mouth. Pure class. I almost wanted to run up the groom and drag him
away to save him from his fate. Still, love knows no
bounds...okay...but maybe I have a few...
Piazza del Spagna absolutely
chockers with people on the weekend.
The Gucci and Bulgari stores
off the Piazza Del Spagna. Great shopping is to be had around the
area. Lots of beautiful and stylishly dressed Italian women to check out
Via Margutta just off Via Del
Babuino - the street linking Piazza Del Populo and Piazza di Spagna.
The Via Margutta was lovely to walk down. So full of paintings and
artists. So many little galleries. So much I wouldn't mind
hanging on my own walls - if I actually owned any walls. it's times
like these that I find it frustrating that I really have no fixed
abode. No flat or plat of land that is actually mine and a permanent
base for me and my possessions.
Via Margutta again. Just
around the corner
Further up is the Piazza del
Populi. The two identical churches on either side of the Flaminian
Obelisk are the Santa Maria di Montesanto and Santa maria dei Miracoli -
both by Bernini and magnificent to look at despite their small size.
The Flaminian Obelisk. It
dates from 1200BC and was originally erected by Rameses II in Heliopolis
opposite the Temple of the Sun according to the guide book. Augustus
bought it to Rome and erected in in Circus Maximus. I must say, the Roman
emperors sure liked their souvenirs (and probably caused the deaths of
hundreds bringing them back to Rome).
I took this photo because I
though the actresses were extremely cute. Again, you can see
the 'SPQR' symbol on top of the picture frame.
A poster I saw on the
wall. Looks cool. Advertising the opera 'Boheme'
Smart cars are found everywhere
in Rome. I have never seen so many in one place and it makes so much
sense - car parking in Rome is a nightmare.
And mopeds are parked
everywhere. Sometimes, you see these cars, even tinier than the
Smarts occupying moped spaces.
Arty building shot.
The 2 Jehovahs Witnesses girls
that I partied with on the Saturday night. Not sure now. Have
to say they were a lot different from the dudes that came knocking on my
door the other morning. I was tempted to follow Billy Connelly's
advice and tell them to 'Fuck off' but I meekly took their brochure and
said I'd read it. It went in the bin.
Me and one of the Jehovah's
Witness girls at this Irish pub. Can't remember the name but it wasn't
the The Drunken Ship where I partied with a whole lot of American college
students. This place was funny as I just hung out with the girls
drinking and joked with a lot of the italian guys there. The Italian
really speak english but we had a laugh anyway. Some guy jokes cross
Old buildings on the road to
the catecombes. No pictures of the Catacombs unfortunately as you cannot