How can you possibly see the amazing city of Rome in just one day! With it's incredible history, art and culture if you only have a day, you just do the best you can.
This was our quandary when visiting Rome on our Royal Caribbean cruise this past Spring. However, as with all of the ports that we visited, it's a matter of priorities. For the limited time that we had, we choose the historical Colosseum and the Vatican.
Our day began early with a bus ride into the Eternal City from our port in Civitavecchia and our first stop was the Colosseum. Seeing the Colosseum was truly like stepping back in time as the amazing structure dates back to AD 80.
Originally known as the Flavian Amphitheatre, this is a place where gladiators fought not only animals, but other humans as well. The history is rather grisly, but the Colosseum itself is truly an amazing work of architecture, especially when you realize it was created over 2000 years ago.
From the Forum, we continued on our walking tour through the city streets of Rome. Our destination was the San Pietro in Vincoli to see the amazing sculpture of Moses by the infamous Renaissance artist Michelangelo. This dramatic figure is nearly eight feet high in a sitting position. A superb example of craftsmanship and beauty, Michelangelo's Moses sits with the Tablets of Law under his arm. He is quite the imposing figure with intense looking eyes and muscular arms.
After lunch, it was time to head to the Vatican City where we viewed the amazing Vatican Museum and the Sistine Chapel painted by Michelangelo. Lines to see these incredible museums can be quite long. However, you can avoid the long lines by making a reservation and buying your tickets in advance. As with many European churches, it is expected that you cover your knees and shoulders, so no shorts or tank tops please!
The Vatican Museum boasts an amazing collection of artwork and centuries old tapestries displayed in a long, narrow hallway that you pass through on your way to the Sistine Chapel. We had a very competent tour guide to explain a bit about what we were seeing.
The Sistine Chapel is magnificent and words really cannot describe the beauty of Michelangelo's impressive frescoed ceilings. It is quite crowded as you pass through. Remember, it is a chapel, and guards will attempt to quiet the large crowds that can be as great as 29,000 visitors per day! Pictures are not allowed in the chapel.
Michelangelo's Pieta, his earliest masterpiece, can be seen when you visit St. Peter's Basilica. Carved from a single slab of marble, this graceful sculpture shows a very youthful Mary holding the body of Christ in her arms.
I know that photos do not do the magnificent sculptures of Michaelangelo justice, nor the amazing city of Rome. I came away with such a deep appreciation and better understanding of the history and culture of Rome. Even now, as I review these photos, I feel reverence to the memory of our visit.
Although our time in Rome was brief, the experience was truly an event that I will always remember. For now I have to say Arrivederci Rome. I will see you again someday!