Italy Tour – Rome: Ancient Rome, baroque Rome

By Len Friesen, Tour Leader

This has been the kind of day (as often happens on TourMagination tours actually) when I’m going to find it hard to write a blog.  It won’t be easy because the day has been 5 Stars, start to finish.  So I”m left with a dilemma:  if I record all that we did today it will read like a “Bucket List” of sights in hypercolour.  But if I list only a few it will look as if not much happened today.

Oh well, here goes.  Mary and I focused today around Ancient Rome, or the Rome of the Romans.  Two sights stand out:  first, we saw the Pantheon, which must surely be one of the most sublime pagan buildings ever constructed (even though it’s been a church since the 7th century).   It is a building of such pleasing proportions that it is almost worth a trip to Rome just to see it.

Another highlight was the Colosseum, which I must confess always packs more of punch for me from the outside than the inside.  Even so, such an amazing structure is something to behold from within.  From there we sauntered through the “Sacred Way”, the heartland of Julius Caesar and all the rest, and the centre of a world that stretched from Africa to the north of England.  Amazing!

If anything else stands out from today it is the splendour of Bernini’s Rome, from the Trevi Fountain to the Piazza Navona, and nothing says Baroque like Bernini.  Speaking of piazzas, we’ve been here less than two full days and have already seen 4 of 5 of the most renowned, and the beauty is that they all can be reached at a leisurely pace.  We continue to be amazed by how accessible Rome is.

Meals are taken here and there, and one of the bonuses of this trip is how much the tour participants themselves can shape where we will eat and when.

So it was by evening that we returned to our hotel after a most rewarding day.  What’s up for tomorrow?  The Vatican!  Oh yes, and a driving, exhilarating rain storm yesterday gave way to a refreshing sun-cloud day today, perfect for the sights we were able to take in.

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