Date: Thursday, June 26, 2014 (for Wednesday, June 26, 2014)
Time: 7:56 pm local time/1:56 pm EST
Place: Florence, Italy
I feel much better now! I have clean clothes, I’ve gotten my old blogs up, and (most importantly) I’ve cut my fingernails. I feel wonderful!
We got on the train fairly early yesterday and went to Rome, which is a decent city, but not my favorite place to visit. Our first stop was at the Flavian Amphitheatre, which we lovingly today call the Coliseum. It gets its name from the (now destroyed) colossal statue of Nero that was nearby. It could hold fifty thousand spectators to the gladiator fights. Dr. Wohlers told us that there were no recorded murders of Christians in this particular amphitheatre, but that there probably was at least one mock sea battle held there.
A few minutes after we got into the Coliseum it began to rain. After the first day in Switzerland I vowed that my umbrella wouldn’t leave my backpack, which it hadn’t. But I left my backpack in our hotel in Florence. So I bought another one (for E13) and the rain stopped before I could use it. I was not impressed.
The building is being restored and repaired, which brings up important questions. What is the role of preservation and restoration of historic sites and landmarks? Would it be better to not restore it at all? Or would it be best to tear it down and start again? Somewhere on the spectrum is the answer, but it is hard to find the right answer and then defend it.
After our trip to the Coliseum Dr. Wohlers took us into the Roman Senate, which, as best as I can tell, is a few acres of Roman ruins. We passed a few temples, and the place where Julius Caesar was stabbed to death. There hasn’t been much done in the line of restoration in this area, so there’s not much to see.
At the beginning of the area there is a Triumphal Arch (which looks like the Arc du Triomphe in Paris) through which the Roman soldiers were allowed to march after winning a war. Inside the Arch is a relief statue of victorious Romans bringing back furniture from the Temple in Jerusalem.
Joel, Dr. Laughlin, Kaiti, and I had our traditional picnic lunch (Nutella or Peanut Butter sandwiches or a combination thereof). We bought drinks and tried to sit down in a little restaurant to eat, but we were very rudely chased out of the area. So we stood at the tables in front of the restaurant and made our sandwiches, which were very yummy!
Our next (and final) stop of the day was the Vatican Museum (which includes the Sistine Chapel). Dr. Wohlers got us to the right place, and pointed us in the right direction, but somehow I managed to go the wrong way. Luckily for me, though, Dr. Diller was also headed the wrong way. We stayed together and had a lovely time looking through the amazing wealth of art housed in the Vatican museum.
They weren’t very keen on photos being taken, so I didn’t even bother. I will say that it is absolutely incredible how much art is owned by the Church. There were statues dating for thousands of years, paintings worth millions, and everything in between. My favorite part of the tour was not the Sistine Chapel (it was too crowded and I just couldn’t get a feel for it—it deserves more time than I was given), but the extremely long hallway dedicated solely to old maps. Most of them were close enough up that I couldn’t place them, but a few (like the one of Venice) were very recognizable. The beauty and sheer number were just amazing.
After finishing our tour of the Vatican Museum we went outside and waited for John and Kim to come out. They had been herded out the wrong door and had to walk from St. Peter’s Basillica (which is a decent little walk). Then all of us went to a great little Gelato place where I enjoyed Chocolate and Mint.
From there we went back to the train station, found some food, and came home.
Love to all!
I'm a Classical musician, a growing Christian, and a world traveler. I'm learning, exploring, and trying to understand this wonderful world I live in.