Monday, March 22, 2010
Left the hotel after breakfast for a couple of hours, the ground was wet but it was not raining! Carried umbrellas all day….good insurance….cloudy skies but no rain!!!
Jim and I headed out towards the Roma Termini and their 24 hour pharmacy for Barbara. Along the way we stopped in to see the Basilica Sacro Cuore. It has a magnificent golden statue of Mary on the top of the steeple. The inside has been completely renovated. When I was here a year ago the inside was full of scaffolding…it is now beautifully restored. Picked up Barbara’s things at the Pharmacy and then headed towards Santa Maria Maggiore that is only a few blocks away. This is a very important church and when you enter the inside you leave Italy and enter the Vatican. There we inspected the Jubilee Door that is opened every twenty five years, the tomb of Bernini a, fragments from the manger of Bethlehem, the gold miracle relief commemorating the story about snow falling in Rome on a hill and that a church was to be built on this hill in honor of Mary.
Took us a while to see everything but soon we were on our way around the back to see the Egyptian Obelisk, one of many in Rome. Heading back towards the Piazza of the Republic and the Baths of Diocletian (where we went to church yesterday) and on to the church of Santa Maria Della Vittoria to view Bernini’s swooning “St Teresa in Ecstasy”. While there I noticed a body in a glass altar that I’ve included in the slideshow. These are very common in European churches. Most are saints but not all. I couldn’t figure out who this was but thought it’d made a good journal entry.
We’d promised Barbara that we’d return by 11 am….we walked in the door of the hotel right on the dot! She’s doing fine and has decided to take a day of rest while we head off to St. Peter’s and the Vatican for some stair climbing. We took Bus # 64 from Termini Station to Santa Pietro. We arrived about 1 pm and the security line was half way around the square; so it was a half hour in line and then we stood another hour in the line to climb the dome of St. Peter’s. The views are magnificent and well worth the time and money. We only had to climb 320 steps because we rode the elevator to the roof before starting the climb of the cupola (dome) between the twin shells. It’s been a good ten years since we made this particular climb.
It was nearly 3 pm by the time we arrived inside of St. Peter’s Basilica; giving us about twenty minutes for a fast walk around inside. At 3:30 we had tickets to the Scavi Tour; the necropolis under the Vatican that has the grave and bones of St. Peter as well as several beautiful family tombs dating back to the time before Christ. The excavation started in 1939 and was completed in the 1950’s. It took thirty years to prepare the site for public viewing. You are two stories below the floor of the Vatican when touring this site. It ends at the tomb of Pope John Paul II who died only a few years ago.
We hurried to get back to Barbara….five o’clock traffic was a bear but we had a great taxi driver! Found her sleeping and feeling very rested when she woke up. We were starving so an early dinner at a local restaurant was enjoyed by all before calling it a night!