Afternoon tour with Estella – best most informed tour guide of our Rome vacation. She was well educated in Art and Architecture. Best of Rome Walking Tour: Pantheon, Piazza Navona and Trevi Fountain, Product Booking Number: 50487920 Rome had a heat wave that week and I almost passed this afternoon tour. Glad I didn’t because it was fantastic. Estella chose a route completely in the shade where the breeze kept us cool. Estella took us to the Spanish steps and the Fountain of the ugly Boat buit by Bernini, explaining the history of the Spanish Steps. Above is the Chiesa Trinity dei Monti. And down the street is a column called of the Immaculate featuring 4 religious statues including Moses with Horns, Then we wandered past an Arts Academy to the Trevi fountain where Estell appointed out the different featured baas reliefs. We then recharged with a cold drink and rest inside an air conditioned galleria. Continuing on we entered the San Luigi de Francesci Church to view several Carraviago’s. You had to pay a euro to keep the lights on for 30 seconds, including the Calling of St. Matthew and St. Matthew and the Angel. We also saw the parliament building piazza de montecitorio (obelisk), Piazza Novano with Bernini fountains and huge plaza formerly nero’s chariot racetrack, piazza colona – spiraling roman campaigns down a column, Temple Ariano with enormous ancient columns intact from 70 AD, apiazza Quirinale (courthouse crammed with Police and paramilitary) and the Pantheon – which stunned me with its size and the marble floors, sloping floor drains, paintings, frescoes. All, incredible ancient architecture. An American chorale group flash mob started singing hymns as the crowd cheered a seagull circling just below the occulus, dashing in and out of rays of sunlight trying to fly out of the dome. The whole experience was the best memory of Rome. Sadly, the tour ended in Campo di Fiori where we bid farewell to Estella and tipped her efforts. Then, back to the hotel.
Skip the Line: Vatican Museums Walking Tour including Sistine Chapel, Raphael's Rooms and St Peter's Product Booking Number: 50487420. we met lovely young woman from Rome, Francesca, who is graduate student of Ancient Archaeology. The sun was sizzling (high 80’s and dry) and zoomed past the cued up crowds waiting for tickets and admission – yah Francesca and Viatour! The tour started with a scale model of the Vatican- St. Peters basilica, moving to long gallery- halls with ornate paintings, tapestries and tromp l’oei ceilings. Francesca was interesting and informative in her narration. Saw the map room, Sistine chapel where ridiculous guards kept yelled at us “no talking – no photos- be respectful” over and over and lunged at a woman who entered with a camcorder. Prepare yourselves for a let-down here. Continued to the map room, Michaelangelo’s fresco creation of Adam and then outside view to St. Pete’s Basilica. Then inside. The scale is enormous as you enter the colonnades into the cupola, viewing Bernini’s canopy covering the holy sepulchre and behind it a throne. It appears to be 15 stories high – giant columns, marble and mosaics everywhere. A spontaneous choral started up and added a vocal splendor to the baroque idolatry.
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