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Thursday, January 10, 2013


Friday, our last day in Rome, was reserved for visiting the Vatican Museum.  I bought tickets online before we left and I was so glad that I did.  
See this line that stretches as far as you can see?  That is the line to buy tickets, which we got to skip.
Guidebooks warn that the museum is crowded in the morning; we can attest to that fact.

View of part of the city from the second floor of the museum.

We saw so many mosaics...

including one that looked like the bowl of porcini mushrooms in the one restaurant we ate at.

This was one of my favorite ones

One of the hallways.

This imposing bowl was Emperor Nero's royal bathtub.  It is made of an extremely rare stone called Imperial Porphyry.

Notice the gift  shop (on the right) wedged into this ornate hallway.

Ongoing conservation.
Laocoon: we had to search for this one.

Judith and the Head of Holofernes by Cristofano Allori.

The Sistine Chapel.  You actually aren't supposed to take photos but Don forgot and snapped one photo before the guards said no.

After the museum, I wanted to visit St. Peter's Basilica until we saw the line to get through security.

Here is the line.  It starts to the right of the dome and winds allllll the way around the square.  Those people in the front of the photo are in line.
 Instead we wandered down to the Tiber River to see Castle Sant'Angelo from afar.

Castle Sant'Angelo, built as a tome for Roman Emperors, then used through the Middle Ages as a castle, prison, and place of refuge for popes under attack.

After that we took a bus across the river to Trastevere, a small neighborhood of cobblestoned streets lined with Medieval houses.   We got off the bus just in time for the rainstorm to start.

Here is a shot of the Tiber River at the start of our walk.  No, the photo isn't blurry--it was raining that hard.  I had to hold an umbrella over Don's head so that he could take the photo.

We ducked into the Church of Santa Maria in Trastavere to keep dry; it was really too late at that point but the church looked interesting.  The portico is decorated with ancient stone fragments filled with early Christian symbols.

This lovely church is one of Rome's oldest churches and was built on the site of a home where early Christians worshipped illegally until 313 A.D.  Once again we saw new structures built on old ones.
More mosaics, this time 8th-10th century.

Here is part of the carved ceiling.


Don got a photo of the church after the rain stopped.  People are also starting to come out to stroll around and go to dinner.
The Church of St. Cecilia with its mismatched columns recycled from pagan temples.

Wet and hungry, we wandered around looking for a restaurant that was ready to serve dinner--Romans eat late.  We ended up at Osteria Ponte Sisto da Oliviero, a small restaurant that speiclizes in traditional Roman cuisine.  We were so cold that I don't remember much of what we ate, but I had pasta Amatriciana, a typical Roman dish that was spaghetti with a sauce of tomotoes, shallots, guanciale (unsmoked bacon), and Pecorino cheese.  Dessert was an apple cake, another Italian speciality.  I was disappointed that we did not get to try the homemade limoncello (Italian lemon liqueur) with our coffee, as the lucky regular diners at another table got.

After that, it was back to the hotel to pack since we were on a plane home Saturday afternoon. 

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