Visiting the Icons of Rome

by Jessica on February 21, 2008

View from the Spanish Steps

After our early morning trip to the Vatican, we wanted to spend the afternoon relaxing and soaking up the culture of the Eternal city .

The final room in the Church of Bones

Our first stop was a chapel that Gary remembered fondly from his travels to Rome as a child. The Santa Maria della Concezione dei Cappuccini is unremarkable from ground level. But, underneath the church is a crypt that contains the remains of over 4000 Capuchin monks. The disinterred bones are artfully arranged into decorative displays of the Baroque and Rococo style. The boys alternated between being slightly disgusted and completely fascinated. The combination of ickyness and beauty was both alluring and haunting at the same time. A poignant and sobering sign in three languages adorned the wall of the final room. “What you are now, we were. What we are now you will be,” offered us parting reminder of the fragility of life.

Trevi Fountain

Map in hand, we meandered through a maze of streets and tall buildings, seemingly unable to find our next destination. Suddenly, the streets opened up into a clearing and the gleaming Trevi Fountain was right in front of us. The fountain is somewhat tucked away like a little treasure, but it is definitely worth the wander. Not only was it a great place to people watch, but it was a beautiful fountain. We tossed in the obligatory coins and then decided to enjoy another Italian icon: gelato!

Three on the Spanish Steps

I’m not sure if it was the sugary overload or the lingering effects of jet lag, but the boys were sluggish and whiny as we dragged them towards the Spanish Steps. Once we reached the steps, the boys spent a few minutes acting dramatically exhausted. Their energy was renewed, though when we suggested they play for a while. Gary and I watched with satisfaction as the boys climbed up and down the steps, their heads close together as they enjoyed the scenery and the company.

Showing off their exhaustion for the camera

It was coming close to dinnertime, so we found a little restaurant near the Spanish Steps. To our delight, they offered us a table on the patio, so that we could watch and wonder at the passersby. Our waiter spoke enough English to allow me to ask for a special dish, which they happily prepared for me.
As the sun began to sink below the horizon, we were able to observe the intriguing changes that took place over the city. The streets were intimately lit with strings of warm light, and soft music floated in the air. The nighttime colors created new sights among the places we had seen earlier in the bright of day. The darkness seemed to make the beauty easier to capture.

Coliseum at Dusk

Gary wanted to photograph the Coliseum at night, so we hopped aboard the subway. The boys immediately took up with a game of “hop rock,” which is a game of chasing each other around the cobblestones and trying not to fall into the lake of lava. Gary was content with photographing the Coliseum from every angle. So, I found a bench, right under the Arch of Septimus Severus. The Forums were on my left, the Coliseum was on my right, and I was blissfully counting my blessings right in the middle of it all.

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