Another wonderful day. Lots of walking. A lot of time spent at relatively few history-dense sights. And a good half hour of Seattle-style rain. Remember, the photos can be clicked for a larger version (and I have happy to send you the full quality version upon request).
Knights of Malta Keyhole. Though it’s not a secret anymore, this is a hidden photo spot within Rome. Looking through the keyhole of the Knights of Malta compound, you see a perfectly centered view of St. Peter’s Basilica. You might even say this photo shows three countries. St. Peter’s is in the Holy See. The keyhole, itself, is in Italy. And the ivy-covered pathway belongs to the Sovereign Military Order of Malta.
My beautiful wife in the rain, overlooking the Emperor’s Stadium.
Stadium of Emperor Domitian (ca. 83 AD). Fun fact: A Roman stadium is a measurement of length equal to 250 paces (approx. 185 m).
Staring in Awe! Ruins of Emperor Septimius Severus’ Palace (193-211 AD)
Domus Flavia. Part of Emperor Domitian’s Palace (92 AD).
Fresco in the home of Rome’s first Emperor, Octavian Augustus (63 BC -14 AD). This modest home was recently discovered and has very limited visiting hours. We were there at the right time.
The original “Via Sacra.” The road leading through the Roman Forum.
The Roman Forum (the white covering is above a current excavation). The large building on the right is the Curia Julia (the Senate House)
House of the Vestal Virgins (Roman Forum). These girls/women had the prestigious duty of guarding the temple of Vesta and keeping its sacred eternal flame burning. The small temple was one of Rome’s most important as it was dedicated to the protectress of both the family and State. As soon as a girl was chosen as a Vestal Virgin (at the age of 6), she would move to the adjacent house. The large house featured 50 rooms for the six girls and their servants, spread over three floors. The rooms opened onto galleries surrounding a courtyard (in the photo).
Trajan’s Column: A 138 ft tall column erected in 112 AD. It is exactly as high as the hill which was leveled where it now stands. There are more than 2000 carved figures depicting the story of Trajan’s Dacian wars between 101-102 and 105-106 A.D. The story wraps around the column in bands, a total of 600 feet. (click the photo for more detail)
Trajan’s Market. Thought to be the world’s oldest shopping mall, the arcades in Trajan’s Market are now believed by many to be administrative offices for Emperor Trajan. The shops and apartments were built in a multi-level structure.
Ponte Sant’ Angelo. The bridge by which one crosses the Tiber to reach Castel Sant’ Angelo. This pedestrian bridge, faced with Traverine, was completed by Emperor Hadrian in 134 AD. The angels guiding the path were created in 1669 AD.
Ponte Sant’ Angelo: “Angel with the Whips” (Lazzaro Morelli).
Ponte Sant’ Angelo: “Angel with the Nails” (Girolamo Lucenti).
St. Peter’s and the Vatican from atop Castel Sant’ Angelo. The largest basilica in the world has a dome which reaches over 450 feet high.
Castel Sant’ Angelo. Originally built as Hadrian’s Mausoleum in 139 AD, it has since been used as a papal residence, a refuge from Popes under siege, and a fortress.
Lounging in Castel San’ Angelo on Christmas Eve.
This famous sculpture is atop the Castel Sant’ Angelo. The Archangel Michael (1753) by Peter Anton von Verschaffelt. Legend holds that the Archangel appeared in this location in 590 AD, sheathing his sword and miraculously ending the great plague.
Passetto di Borgo (1277 AD) . This secret passageway (at the time) connects the fortress of Castel Sant’ Angelo to St. Peter’s Basilica. It was designed for a Pope to flee the Vatican safely during a siege, and was used several times. You might recognize this near the end of “Angels and Demons.”
View of Rome. Christmas Eve. Looking SW from atop Castel Sant’ Angelo.