The city of Rome has such deep historic roots and is the center of the current Catholic world. It did not fall to amaze us on our second visit as our earlier backpacking days brought both of us here. Easily transported back in time walking the streets seeing famous ancient ruins on every turn. Upon reunion with Katie’s parents we had 2 days before our trip to the Amalfi coast and then again 2 days after in the city. Staying hear Roma Termini Station my parents took us to their favorite restaurants they had experienced the week before and tried some new ones. And of course everyday in Italy wasn’t complete without our 2 scoops of gelato!
Visiting the Coliseum with a guided tour was the way to go in order to skip the long lines for the entrance ticket. Seeing this wonder of the world a second time around was just as impressive. Included in the price was also a tour of Palantine Hill, which was the start of Rome. No much remains of the structures or the priceless marble that was once there but the tour itself really interesting and educational. Everything that was of value in these old ruins is now in some capacity in the Vatican. Being one of our favorite structures in Rome we visited the Pantheon again as well. The gigantic circular hole in the roof for sunshine and rain to enter makes it so unique to any other church.
Getting dressed in our finest (good thing Katie just bought a dress and Zane could borrow pants from my dad!) we went the musical Jesus Christ Superstar, which is a depiction of Jesus’s adult life and struggles paired with 70’s style music. My family had seen it before but Zane was lucky seeing his it for his first time as the actor who played Jesus was the famous actor from the movie of this musical who has quite the pair of lungs on him.
For our last couple days in Rome our apartment was right next to St. Peter’s Square. Seeing this extraordinary square veiled in statues of saints with the massive basilica each day at different times of the day in diverse lighting and crowds was really exceptional. Climbing to the top of the cupola (the basilica dome) was a highlight with views of the square, city, and the papal gardens. It takes 551 steps to get the top as the stairs get steeper and narrow until you get to a portion with a rope for balance! Unknowingly, we were there for the Italian holiday of the Festival of St. Peter and St. Paul. The effects of this was a papal mass on the big screens as we bake in the sun with crowds and then positioned ourselves to see the Pope address everyone. Waiting in nervous anticipation to see which window he would speak from and seeing the crown ignite in cheers once the papal flag was draped outside the chosen window was a special experience with my mother by our side since she is a devote Catholic. Other benefits of the festival were large mosaics of religious scenes made from seeds, flowers and grains in the square and the evening was topped off with fireworks from a castle along the river. It was an appropriate finale to our parents visit to Italia!!
Crossing our fingers for an uneventful journey home for our folks didn’t work as their final flight was missed and had to spend an additional night in MN. Now home safe and sound we do hope they loved there time abroad despite their travels to and fro. We on the other hand had an uneventful 4-hour train ride to Florence. There is a high-speed train, which takes only an hour and half but being back to our cheap travel ways we opted for the half priced ticket and longer ride. From here things have been winding down. We had 5 days in Florence and now just arrived for our final 5 days in a place very near and dear to our hearts, Cinque Terre, the five famous and fabulous towns along the coast. Cheers to the bittersweet feeling of the nearing end!
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