Europe Photoblogging, Part 20: Rome, Part 2
By Dwip September 27, 2014, 11:52 am Comments (0) RSS Feed for this post

This is my second post on the wonders and oddities of Rome and my time there. As previously, there are two blog entries that describe things in more detail here and here

The guy on the horse is Marcus Aurelius, a replica of an original Roman statue from the 170s AD. The pedastal and the plaza around it are all designed by Michaelangelo. It’s just about the only thing Roman still left in site up here – most of the buildings are Renaissance or Enlightenment-era work.

Lest you thought there weren’t going to be Egyptian obelisks, this is an obelisk on the back of an elephant from the 17th century. It was designed by Bernini, who we will see more of later.

Again, note the cross. Popes gotta Pope.

This massive and somewhat overwrought structure is the Altare della Patria, the Altar of the Fatherland, though I never heard it called anything but it’s colliqual name of Il Vittoriano. It’s late 19th/early 20th century work built as a monument to Victor Emmanuel II, the first King of Italy in modern times.

It absolutely clashes with everything else on the Capitoline, it’s hugely overdone, glaringly obvious, visible from absolutely everywhere, and fairly controversial. It’s got a lot of haters. Despite it all, I kind of like it for some reason.

This is the Capitoline Wolf, a medieval bronze depicting the famous legend of the founders of Rome, Romulus and Remus suckling from a she wolf.

The wolf and twins are a major symbol for Rome, with their image all over the place. Personally, I have a paperweight. For all that, however, it’s kind of in a strange spot – out on a plinth on the side of a building on the Capitoline, just kind of there.

That’s Rome for you.

This courtyard and its surrounding structures are part of the vast palace complex on the Palatine Hill constructed by Domitian in the last first century AD on top of what had previously been the residences of Roman senators.

This is another part of the palace complex, a giant garden that looks like a hippodrome but is not. Somewhere behind me down the hill is the Circus Maximus, once connected to this structure.

Roman emperors lived large.

In the tradition of neat little stairway pictures, here is a neat little stairway on the Palatine.

We’re looking at the Forum side of the Colosseum, which is a structure you may have once heard of in passing. It’s an immense structure, as you can see by noting that all those little colored dots in the background are people.

I’m standing next to the Arch of Constantine, which is either behind me or slightly to the left.

And now we’re in the interior. It’s all in ruins now, but you can see the various levels and some of the understructure. The whole thing is kind of familiar – the Romans thought up stadiums before it was cool, and every one you’ve ever been in in the modern world shares a lot of DNA with this most famous one.

The Christian influence here is strong, another relic of the popes. A little bit of comemmoration of the Christians versus lions martyrdom thing, a whole lot of trying to talk about how much better the Christians are than all those damn pagan Romans.

These are the Spanish Steps, a 17th century stairway and cultural icon and now a huge tourist spot. The obelisk at the top is a Roman copy of an Egyptian original.

The Trevi Fountain may be the most famous in the world, an 18th century Baroque sculpture and famous tourist attraction. Of note, that water is really blue, and I’ve somehow done a good job of cropping out the insane number of people around me.

These are details from the Column of Marcus Aurelius, beating down a bunch of tribes in a fashion reminiscent of the beginning of Gladiator. Those square holes are actually windows into an interior stairway.

These are twin churches, Santa Maria dei Miracoli and Santa Maria in Montesanto at one end of the Piazza del Popolo, which used to be the northern gate out of the Aurelian Walls.

This is the piazza itself from the west, showing the giant Egyptian obelisk in the center. Remember our old buddy Rammeses II? That’s one of his. As per usual in Rome, it’s capped with yet another cross.

Behind me are the gardens of the Villa Borghese, which are giant and very nice.

This is the Porta Ostiensis in the Aurelian Walls, which once connected Rome to its port at Ostia, which we will visit later. As you can see, it’s a truly massive structure.

Just outside the Porta Ostiensis is this pyramid, the tomb of Gaius Cestius in the Egyptian style. Just as we stole lot of our ideas on style from the Romans, so did the Romans borrow from the Egyptians when it suited them.

This is a chunk of the 4th century BC Servian Wall named for the King of Rome and built in the early Republic. It sits in the dining area of the McDonalds in Termini station.

Just saying, that’s kind of crazy.

We’re looking at the Circus Maximus from its northwestern end. The massive ruins of the Palatine are in the background to the left.

Back in the day, this is where you and 150,000 of your closest friends could get together and catch the chariot races or a festival or something. In my case, I caught a couple taking their wedding photos.

A short distance from the Circus Maximus, in what used to be the Forum Boarium overlooking the Tiber where they sold cattle, is the Temple of Hercules Victor. This is another of those photographs I came to Rome specifically to take. I always thought it was a neat little structure.

Rather near to my hotel and to Termini station was the Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore, whose apse you are looking at. The obelisk is Roman, another papal monument.

And lastly, my various objects from Rome. One last time, top to bottom left to right:

* My ticket to and from Ostia, which will be another post.

* My ticket for the Roman metro.

* My ticket from Rome to get to the airport for my flight back to the US.

* My tickets to Rome from Ravenna.

* My tourist map of Rome.

* My ticket to the Colloseum and the Palatine Hill.

* My ticket to Ostia.

* My ticket to the cupola of the Vatican, which will also see later.

* My ticket to the Musei Capitolini, home of many Roman treasures I didn’t get to take photos of but which is well worth your visit.

* My ticket from Rome to Chicago that ultimately got me to the final leg of my trip in Michigan, wherein gaming was gamed, KFC was had, stairs were seen, and landlords were scary.

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