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Carpatair destinations: Rome – the Eternal City. Part 2

Rome: Vatican

The heart of Rome has been beating for two thousand years now, its deep beat transcending time, because its roots and power lie in the eternal light of faith. This is the Rome of spirit. Starting with the Apostles time and going as far as the saint people of nowadays, Christian faith and especially the Catholic one have been based in this city – a spiritual center of universal value, also engulfing non-Catholics and even non-Christians.

There are so many places (starting with the ancient catacombs) that are living proof of these spiritual roots. However, the Vatican – with the Tomb and Church of Saint Peter, but also hosting the Pope’s residence – is most certainly the highest expression of Christian Rome’s universal mission.

This is a city within a city, or better said, a state within another state. It has its own territory (44 hectares), borders, flag, sovereign and guards – but none of them could possibly exist without the other: Vatican is not Rome, and Rome is not Vatican, but the two have been united once and for all by two millennums of Christian history.

The universal embrace opening up from Piazza San Pietro with the monumental columns of Bernini (284 arranged over four rows, but looking like a single one if the viewer is standing in a certain spot, in the plaza) with its circular symbols summarizes the complex and great history of the Rome Popes. The history of San Pietro Basilica itself is so eloquent in this respect: starting with the 16th century, when it took on its current shape, the grandest and most imposing Christian place has involved the leading artists of their time (Bramante, Raffaello, Michelangelo, Bernini), gathering them in a resplendent project that the Popes developed to mirror the grandeur of their spiritual mission (and the inevitable ambiguities of power). This is why San Pietro currently is the heart of the Roman- Catholic profession of Christian faith, but also has the charm of an extraordinary museum full of unique masterpieces, from the tombs of the Popes to the statues of the Saints (including that of Saint Peter, whose leg has practically been ‘consumed’ along the centuries by the believers’ faithful touch). We should also add the famous “Pietà” by Michelangelo and Bernini’s Baldaquin under the huge opening of Michelangelo’s dome, where you can climb the stairs and admire the splendid panorama. Sunday Mass attended by the Pope (who lives in the Apostolic Palace of the Vatican), Wednesday audiences opened for anyone, the multitude of races and cultures gathering here around the unique word of the Gospel – all these turn San Pietro into a unique venue that the visitor will never be able to forget. You can understand how this spiritual richness has been celebrated by centuries of culture (the Vatican Library hosts one of the richest book collections of the world) and sublime art – the Vatican museums, the rich Pope palaces, the splendid mural art of the Sistine Chapel (“World Judgement” by Michelangelo in primis), where the cardinal conclave gathers to elect their new Pope, or the resplendent chambers of Raffaello. San Pietro is the spiritual heart of Rome, but also the effective heart of the Romans. Therefore, the city colors and lights could not have avoided the Vatican, starting with its red, yellow and blue uniforms of the Swiss guards who have protected the safety of the Pope and the Vatican for centuries on end. You must definitely take a picture with these picturesque and highly efficient “guardian angels” of the Pope, recruited from the Catholic cantons of German Switzerland ever since 1506, when Pope Julius II brought this defense unit to Rome. Along the centuries, the Swiss guards have been deemed to be invincible due to their spiritual force, noble feelings and famous loyalty. The heart of Catholic faith and a dear symbol for Christians all over the world, the San Pietro Basilica is to be followed by three other essential landmarks in a visitor’s spiritual journey: the basilicas of San Giovanni in Laterano, Santa Maria Maggiore and San Paolo fuori le Mura. Both religious centers and art masterpieces, these are open spaces of the Eternal City attracting people and religions from all over the world, since – like the famous saying of the great Cicero – “All roads lead to Rome”. All of them. Irresistibly attracted by the force of an unrivaled richness and the warmth of these cordial people who know only too well how to greet a whole world to the most beautiful city of in world: Rome.

Museums

If you want to visit the museums of Rome, you could spend at least one unforgettable week.

However, you can simply visit any single one of these, and you will still experience deep emotions.

The Roman Art Museum. Imposingly documenting on the art of Ancient Rome, in six different locations that can be visited with one and the same ticket: The Diocletian Museum of Thermal Baths, The Ottagona Hall, the former Istituto Massimo, Palazzo Altemps, Crypta Balbi and the former Centrala Enel Monte Martini.

The Capitol Museum. Mainly displaying ancient art and paintings, from the 14th and up to 17th century. The Villa Borghese Museum. Among its numerous displays, you can find the most famous sculptures of Gian Lorenzo Bernini and a major collection of paintings by Caravaggio. His work can also be admired along an “open air museum” itinerary, in downtown Rome, including the church of Santa Maria del Popolo (The Conversion of Saint Paul and The Martyrdom of Saint Peter), the Doria Pamphilj Museum (Magdalena and The Escape to Egypt), the San Luigi dei Francesi church (the Saint Matthew Cycle) and the church of Sant’Agostino (The Madonna of the Pilgrims).

The Museums of the Vatican. Major collections of ancient, Renaissance and baroque art. Leading attraction: The Sistine Chapel, with frescoes by Michelangelo and other Italian masters (including Botticelli and Perugino). Do you like funny museums? Then by all means, you should not miss the Museum of Edible Pasta, the Museum of Carriages and the Crypt of the Capuchins (in Via Veneto).

TYPICAL CUISINE, RESTAURANTS AND COFFE SHOPS

The Roman cuisine is a perfect reflection of the city style: honest, not at all sophisticated, i.e. using simple and natural ingredients, but delicious and flavored, a solid guarantee for any taste. Among the traditional dishes we should of course mention pasta (of which Rome provides an impressive range), from tagliatele (with ham and tuna), spaghetti (“alla carbonara”, “cacio e pepe”, “aglio alio e peperoncino”), and potato gnocchi. Typical second courses are: “abbacchio” (lamb meat), “sal-timbocca alla romana” (meat slices), “trippa alla romana” (tripe) and mixed roast meat. Fish is not the main course, but it is always masterly cooked, especially dishes such as “filetto di baccalà” (salt and dry fish fillet). As for side plates, the “carciofi alla giudia” (artichoke) is an irresistible option.

In terms of sweet and candies, you should not miss “maritozzi”, “zuppa inglese” and “bignè all’e-braica”, or Sambuca Molinari to finish.

There are many traditional restaurants, including “Da Giggetto”, “Matricianella”, “Piperno”, “Checco er Carrettiere”. You can also find pizza and other excellent dishes in all the restaurants on Trastevere and Testaccio. As for coffee shops, apart from the ones we have already mentioned – Caffè Greco and Caffè Canova – you should not miss Caffè S. Eustachio, the most famous in Rome.

Also numerous here are the wine collections, providing a rich offer of national wines and liqueurs.

Let us also not forget the tempting offer of the downtown confectionary shops, with sweets made of almond cream from “Dagnino”, chocolate from “Bottega del cioccolato”, ice cream from “Gio-litti”, and fresh specialties from across Italy, provided by “Castroni”.

Shopping

The most prestigious shopping sites (in terms of fashion) are those that have already been mentioned, on Via del Corso and Piazza di Spagna. Are you interested in another refined curiosity? There are three genuine “institutions” in Rome, to this end, offering the “Merola” gloves, the “Troncarelli” hats and the “Ansuini” jewels. Lovers of antique pieces can visit Via dei Coronari, the little streets between Via Giulia and Corso Vittorio Emanuele (especially Via di Monserrato), providing a wide range of antiques. For de luxe antique buys, the place to go is Via del Babuino or Via Giulia. There are numerous shops selling religious objects and souvenirs on Via della Conciliazione and Via di Porta Angelica. Porta Portese is the leading flea market in the whole of Italy. It opens only on Sunday mornings, in the Trastevere. Also on Sunday morning you can visit neighborhood markets selling antiques for bargain prices (you can get further info on this from your hotel or from the “Markets of Rome and Lazio” Guide, which you can buy from any newspaper kiosk).

Pictures of Rome:

Cathedral San Pietro in Vatican

Basilica San Pietro

Beautiful panorama of Rome from Vatican

Basilica San Pietro

Sights of Rome: Altare della Patria

Altare della Patria

Fountains of Rome: Fontana din Trevi

Fontana din Trevi

Până acum există "2 comentarii" la acest articol:

  1. Rome is truly a beautiful city steeped in such interesting history and wonderful architecture, I never tire of the place.

  2. goowai.adele says:

    Italy is like a big museum/art gallery and everywhere you look you’ll see a wonderful art. It is one of my most favorite place to travel. It makes me come back for more. Well, I will and as a matter of fact the next travel destination is in Rome. Maybe, I’ll be going to the most romantic places before the spring ends. :)

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