Upon arrival, we immediately set off to see the ancient Roman ruins – specifically The Forum. According to About.com:
“The ancient Roman Forum is a huge complex of ruined temples, basilicas, and arches. It was the ceremonial, legal, social, and business center of ancient Rome (The food stalls and brothels were removed in the second century BC). To get a good view, walk up the Capitoline Hill behind the museums. Give yourself at least 1-2 hours to wander around, then continue up to the Palatine Hill, also included in the ticket.”
We also visited The Colosseum. This amphitheater can hold up to 55,000 people and was built in AD 80. You can just imagine all the gladiator fighting! Unfortunately, when we visited, the inside was closed off to the public due to renovations.
We then threw coins in the Trevi Fountain. Coins are to be thrown with your right hand, over your left shoulder. It is estimated that 3,000 Euros are thrown into the fountain each day. The money is used to help the needy with a subsidized supermarket.
Probably one of the highlights of the entire trip was a visit to the Vatican. It was a Wednesday and while we were walking into the square we heard a man talking. Our tour guide for the day casually said “Oh that’s the pope giving his weekly mass.” Imagine a group of Catholic school students hearing that! She said it so nonchalantly while we found this to be a very big deal. Not many people can say they’ve had a blessing from Pope John Paul II…in ROME! It was pretty amazing.
The below picture has a lot of meaning to me. I don’t mean to sound cliche but I had what could only be described as a religious experience. While a group of us were touring the Basilica, I sat down in this section of the church. Although there were people around, it was so peaceful. I didn’t want anyone to bother me. I could have sat there forever. To this day, I don’t think I ever had another moment like that before. I was in complete and utter peace. Unbeknownst to me, my grandmother had died at that very moment. I wouldn’t find this out until the next day when I got home.
We also visited the Vatican Museum…. Rome wasn’t my favorite city in Italy but it’s a place that should be seen at least once. It is so steeped in history. I will always remember it….and that peaceful feeling.