Monday, May 19, 2014

Rome Day 2: More churches!

Today was a churchy day: the simply beautiful Santa Caecilia in Trastevere was first. It's one of the remaining medieval churches in Rome and is very different from the heavily ornamented baroque churches like Gesu. Loved the ruins downstairs which was her house. It actually felt like a holy place.

Next we trekked out to San Paolo fuori le mura (St. Paul Outside the Walls). It's one of four Papal Basilicas in Rome and the Vatican. The other three are Santa Maria Maggiore, San Giovanni in Laterano and St. Peter's Basilica. We have been to the others but never this one. We walked from the B&B across the Tiber, alongside the Circus Maximo to the subway stop and got off right by San Paolo.

We walked alongside the church and our first stop was a small cafe for a light lunch.

The Church itself can be entered in the back, the side or the front. We were nearest the back so went in that way which did not detract from it at all, in my opinion. Very impressive and large space. We referred to Rick Steves for information on the church. I loved the ceilings and finding some popes who might be my great-great-great-great-etc-relatives! I just knew I was Italian!

We wanted to see the facade so made sure to walk out to the front and got some good photos. It reminded me a little of San Clemente from the front, just much larger.


We took the bus to Pyramide stop and changed to one going down the Appian Way so we could tour the San Callisto Catacombs. I thought it a very worthwhile stop. The Catacombs tour is very short, like 20 minutes inside, but they pack in the information and it's really impressive to see the remains of this important burial site. The guide said over 500,000 people were buried there but there are now no bones remaining. I'm sure it's true but it's very hard to believe not even a little pinkie bone is somewhere in there.

Afterwards, we waited for the bus on the very busy Appian Way. While waiting, hubby worried that we'd be hit by a car or something flying up from the road, a not unreasonable concern, but thankfully the bus finally arrived, already packed with people.


We routed ourselves to the subway and made our way to Santa Maria Maggiore. Walked along busy Cavour street to this Basilica. I was a little disappointed by its outside facade which seemed in need of cleaning and restoration, especially compared to San Paolo fuori le mura. The inside was quite impressive, though.

We stopped for gelato on our walk back to the Cavour Metro stop.  We were aiming for a little restaurant just outside the metro stop which had a happy hour with good looking food on their buffet.  We had drinks and ate up the food on the buffet, which was all delicious.  I'm sorry I can't remember the name of this place because it sure was a nice experience.

We took the Metro to Colosseo for views of the Colosseum and Forum.  I had read about the light show at the Forum of Augustus which we wanted to check out.  After slight detour for wine, beer and cheese at a restaurant overlooking Trajan's Market, I think, so we could use the bathroom, we stood and watched a little of the light show.  Don't know that it would be worth the steep admission price (20Euro) but it was cool to see how the buildings looked before time and scavengers destroyed them.

We walked by the Vittorio Emanuelle looking for the tram to Trastevere, which we couldn't find (it was right there!). So we took a cab instead. 

Back in our Trastevere 'hood, we went looking for a nightcap which we found at a cool place around the corner (another place I don't have the name of!).

Then to bed around 1230am.  It had been a full and satisfying day in Rome!

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