Rome, October 2000

Here are the pictures I took in Rome on Saturday and Sunday, October 28 and 29, 2000. Clicking on any picture will bring up a page with a larger version. As with most of my pictures, I give you permission to use them as long as you give me credit. You may resize them, but no cropping allowed. The small versions on this page make a total of about 2.4 megabytes, so they'll take a while to download over a modem line.

My boss, Maynard, and I took Rome by storm. We flew there from Lviv, Ukraine on Friday, arriving in the afternoon. We took a train from Rome's Fiumicino airport to the Stazione Roma Termini, then walked the half mile to our hotel. Dinner was at an outdoor cafe overlooking Piazza del Quirinale. We had breakfast at the hotel's roof cafe. Then we walked. And walked.

Maynard at Airport Train Station

Airport Train Station

Piazza del Quirinale

Maynard at the Hotel's Roof Cafe

The view from the roof

Our first stop was the Pantheon. We wended our way there, following our maps and with a little help from some locals. The Pantheon is a huge round building that is completely open inside. The building was created in about 200AD, but the statues and paintings date from quite a bit later. There is a hole in the roof that illuminates the place quite nicely. Our guide book recommended winessing the rain falling in a circular space on the floor, but it was sunny when we visited.

The Pantheon

Hole in the Pantheon's Roof

There were two tombs in the Pantheon with full-time honor guards. These people stood there, very still, for the entire time we were inside.

After going inside the Pantheon, we sat down at an outdoor cafe and had some coffee. Maynard had his daily banana. Some street musicians seranaded us, then asked us for money. A couple of people were selling scarfs. And, of course, there was a McDonalds.

Maynard eating his banana

Musicians, scarves, McDonalds

From the Pantheon, we walked a couple of blocks west to Piazza Navona. Many artists were selling their paintings. Many other street vendors were selling assorted stuff. There was a church and a fountain with a pillar.

We walked north from Piazza Navona to the Fiume River. The river has 18 meter tall walls on each side. We descended to bottom of the wall and walked to the next bridge north. I know the walls are eighteen meters tall because there were height markings on the wall next to the steps allowing you to easily measure the rivers height to the nearest centimeter. Near the bridge is the Mausoleum of Caesar Augustus, dating from 2AD, as I remember.

Many of Rome's streets are so narrow that they appear to be alleys. About half of the vehicle traffic is motor scooters. Many of the cars are tiny little things, epitomized by the "Smart" car.

"Smart" Car

Next we headed to the Spanish steps, walking along Via Condotti, one of the streets of Rome's "Miracle Mile", 5 parallel streets filled with expensive places to shop. We ate lunch at an outdoor park in the Villa Bourghese, a large park just north of the Spanish Steps.

Spanish Steps

Via Condotti from Spanish Steps

We went back down the Spanish Steps and walked down Via Frattina, another block of the miracle mile. Maynard wanted to get a picture of Fendi for his wife. I went inside for a minute. When Maynard asked for the price of a purse, and it was $700, I went outside to wait; too rich for my blood.

Now it was time to visit ancient Rome. We walked down Via del Corso to Emanuele II. I overheard a tour guide telling her group that they used to allow people to go up the steps, but after someone tried to blow up something, they put up bars to keep people out.

It was now a very short walk to the Roman Forum, ruins, and the Colosseum. We first looked at it from above, then walked around to the entrance and explored below.

Bill (me) with the Severo Arch

Arco di Settimio Severo

Maynard with the Severo Arch

Finally, we came to the Colosseum. We initially walked around the whole thing, looking for the entrance, which we finally found on the east side. You can walk about half way around on the ground level, and all the way around on the second level. There are rails around part of what's left of levels three and four, but we weren't able to go up there. There used to be a wooden floor with sand on it over the catacombs in the bottom. They have rebuilt part of that floor.

Arco di Constantino

We went next to the Chapel of Saint Clemente, recommended by a Dutch woman whom we met on the train from the airport. This was to me the most spiritually satisfying place in the whole trip. I took no pictures of it, just sat there with my eyes closed soaking it up.

Then it was dinner time. We ate at Dagnino, near the Piazza de la Republica. Our waiter, Tony, was British, but had spent much of his childhood in Sicily. He did a good job of making us delicious vegetarian dinners. The desserts (he brought two, but Maynard didn't want one, so I ate both) were heavenly. I felt that if I lifted up my feet the slightest breeze would float me home. And the coffee... ooh... ooh.

At breakfast on Sunday morning, there was a rainbow visible from my table on the hotel's roof garden. When I exclaimed about it, an entire family got up and looked. The picture doesn't show it very well, but it brightened my morning.

Our plan for Sunday was to spend the whole day at the Vatican. We would take in St. Peter's Basilica first, then go to the Sistene Chapel and the Vatican museums. It didn't work out quite as expected, as I'll detail below. A light drizzle was falling, but not enough to get us wet. We walked down the Spanish Steps, empty this time, past the Mausoleum of Augustus, then crossed the river for the first time. Past Palazzo Di Gustizia, Castel S. Angelo, both of which I neglected to photograph, and into the Piazza San Peitro (St. Peter's Square) in front of the Basilica di San Pietro.

We arrived just as people were entering the Basilica for the 10:30 service. They stopped allowing people into the front of the building about 15 minutes after we got there. We could have stayed for the service had we been so inclined, but we weren't, so we just looked around and took a few pictures.

Since we didn't want to stay for the service, we decided to go to the Sistene Chapel. The guide book said that it was a fifteen minute walk away. On the map it looked to be about 100 yards from where we were, so I was confused until we actually tried to get there. We had to go back out in the square, exit from the north end, walk a quarter mile north, and more than a quarter mile west. While going north, we were bucking a crowd coming to St. Peter's. As soon as we turned west, we saw a huge line taking up the entire sidewalk on the Vatican side of the street. We learned later that they were there because the last Sunday of the month is free admission day. After some coffee at a sidewalk cafe overlooking the museum entrance and exit, we decided to skip the Vatican and press on.

We walked around the vatican complex, watching its 15 foot wall all the way. When we arrived at the south end of St. Peter's, we went back in to check out the crowd. The pope was on the two large video screens in the square, broadcasting from Rome's Olympic Stadium, or something like that. We didn't understand enough Italian to figure out any more details from the explanation of the one guy we asked. Then we went back to the river on our way to the Transtevere section of Rome, about a mile down river from the Vatican. The guide books compare this area to Greenwich Village in New York City. At Ponte Sisto, the bridge just before Trastevere, I was looking at my map when a couple stopped and asked if we needed help. We got talking and followed them over the bridge where they showed us a couple of sights. They invited us to lunch in their flat in Transtevere, and told us how to get there via Isola Tiberina, an island in the river.

We passed a synogogue complete with automatic weapon wielding Italian cops on each corner, went over the bridge, walked down Trestevere for a while, and shared lunch at the flat of Derek and Frédérique Flower on Via de Feineroli.

Derek is an author. You can read about him and his books at I'm interested in his book about the library at Alexandria. Frédérique told me that she once described herself as "Derek's slave". She likes to take care of him. She was a model in her younger years. She showed Maynard a picture of herself on the cover of a 1950's edition of Elle.

After lunch Derek and Frédérique took us to S. Maria in Trastevere. I wish I had held my camera a little stiller on the close-up. Beautiful golden images.

Maynard and I went back via a couple of shops that the Flowers told us about, one of which was near Fontana di Trevi, a fountain so large that I needed a wider angle lens to photograph all of it at once.

I saw this church on our way back to Dagnino for dinner. It was almost too dark for non-flash pictures by then.

I don't remember where I took this tower photo.