Monday, October 12, 2009

First Day in Rome - Sun Oct 11th

We finally in arrived in Rome after four-and-a-half hours on a plane to Atlanta followed by a three hour layover, seven-and-a-half hours on a plane to Paris followed by a two hour layover, and a two hour flight followed by a thirty minute express train to Termini station in Rome. You'd think that a shower and a good night's sleep would be in order, but it was high noon. I have a rule of getting to bed at the correct time to avoid jet lag, so I'd planned a half day of walking with easier ooh and ah locations. First was Santa Maria Maggiore for Byzantine mosaics. After that we had quite an ordeal finding San Pietro in Vincoli, which has a fabulous Michelangelo statue of Moses. I've decided that I can only post one or two highlights per day, but you can check out more photos on my flicker page. The big event of the day was a church that contains two levels of excavation below a very picturesque 12th century church with Renaissance frescoes by Masolino named San Clemente. We entered through its very pleasant cloister.


For five Euros you can enter the archeological area. One level below is a fully excavated fourth-century Christian church, with early Christian frescoes. The level below that has an even earlier second century church, a house which utilized underground running water, and this really rare shrine to Mithras. I shouldn't have taken this picture. . .but I did anyway.


San Clemente was so mind blowing, that I figured a walk by the old Aurelian city wall was about all we could take. We had picked a Sicilian restaurant on the route back, but found that it had been replaced by a pizzeria. Too tired to fight it, we settled in for a pretty good meal. Pictured below is an appetizer with Sicilian roots. The Arancini is a fried rice ball with different fillings. This one had ragu, which in this case was sausage and peas with a hint of tomato. Sarah thought it was kind of like an Italian Samosa.


I'm actually a day behind, but after spending the day touring the Colosseum, the Roman Forum and the Palatine Hill, with occasional bursts of wind and rain, I just can't go through all those photos. You'll just have to stay tuned for that recap.

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