Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Pizza, Peroni, and Gelato

Unlike Venice, I ate the pizza in Rome without Pommes Fritas.  I did, however, drink Peroni beer from a plastic cup.
Pizza margherita on the left; a zucchini-ricotta cheese concoction on the right
Only in Rome?
Followed by some of Rome's best gelato.  Fabuloso.
"I scream, you scream, we all scream --"  Oh wait, wrong dessert.
When we weren't eating and drinking our way throughout Rome, Lisa, Laura, Jake, and I were lapping up the historical and religious sites.

First Stop:  The Trevi Fountain -- Rome's most famous fountain and where it's traditional to throw a coin into the fountain so as to ensure your return.
Looks like I'll be returning to the Eternal City!
And so will Lisa!
Next up:  The Colosseum, one of the world's most visited tourist destinations. 

When we exited the Colosseum, the Gay/Euro-Pride Parade was winding its way around the Colosseum.  If there were any modern day gladiators, these two gents might be worthy candidates (and they'd probably have a fighting chance against Russell Crowe):
Whereas I'd probably get slayed in all of 30 nanoseconds. 
My last words would probably be "Got a little Captain in You?'
The Roman Forum marked our next stop and, in particular, the House of the Vestal Virgins (the home of the virgins that were responsible for tending the sacred flame in the adjoining temple).  The priestesses selected for this responsibility served in the temple for 30 years, were to remain chaste during this time, and any priestess guilty of letting the flame go out would be flogged.  Loss of virginity during her tenure meant being buried alive and death-by-flogging for the offending man.  At least the end-result of the punishment was equal-opportunity.  
Virginal would-be pyromaniacs?
Aside from housing a bunch of flame-retardant virgins, the Roman Forum was also a civic center, covered market, and religious complex.   This may have been some sort of athletic field:
On the way to the Pantheon -- one of Rome's most astonishing temples -- Jake found (and modeled) his next barbecuing outfit of choice:
Beware the hot coals!
Probably shouldn't have been as mesmerized by the ~28' opening in the domed ceiling...
...but I act like an eleven-year old boy 90% of the time anyway, so I suppose it's justified.
Vatican City, St. Peter's Square & Basilica, and the Vatican Museums rounded out our trip to Rome.  St. Peter's Square is a remarkable public space, even more so from a distance on a clear night:
Lisa and I have been to a number of European churches and cathedrals -- all impressive on their own -- but St. Peter's is, so far, the most dazzling.  Michelangelo's Pieta -- a sculpture depicting the body of Jesus on the lap of his mother Mary after the Crucifixion -- is truly spectacular (irrespective of one's religious views).
The bird's eye view of St. Peter's Square and surrounding Rome from the top of St. Peter's Basilica:
And as with all of our vacations, the token photo of us with a cocktail, beer, or glass of wine...albeit with Jake and Laura this time.  Cheers!

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