Ben's Photo Blog

Photos from my various adventures

The Tour

Posted by Ben on July 4, 2009

Post for Monday June 29:

We started our trip this morning by walking up the street from the hotel to the church of Sant’Andrea al Quirinale, designed by Bernini in the 17th century.

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We next visited the church of San Carlo alle Quattro Fontane, located about a block down the street.  This church was designed by Bernini’s rival Borromini.  This church had some amazingly beautiful art and architecture.

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After this we walked to the front of the Quirinal Palace, home to the current head of the Italian government, and former papal palace.  In the piazza in front of the palace, there is a really cool monument, made up of an obelisk, a fountain, and two horsemen.  The obelisk comes originally from the Mausoleum of Augustus and the horsemen, representing Castor and Pollux, from the Baths of Constantine.

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We also got to see a changing of the guard outside the palace gates.  These are the same guards who minutes later “politely” asked us to move out of the shade right next to the palace.

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The next stop on our journey was the Trevi Fountain, which always seemed to be packed with tourists.

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After throwing our coins into the fountain, hopefully ensuring a return to this great city, we hiked up to the church of Santa Maria del Popolo.  Unfortunately, we weren’t able to spend long in the church as a service was just getting ready to start as we arrived.  We then moved on past the Mausoleum of Augustus and the Ara Pacis (which was closed) to the Pantheon.

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The Pantheon is the best preserved ancient Roman building in Rome.  Originally dedicated by Marcus Agrippa as a temple to all of the ancient gods and rebuilt a few hundred years later by Hadrian, the Pantheon was sold to the Catholic Church in 609 AD and has served in that capacity ever since.  One of the defining features of the Pantheon is its great dome, with a hole known as the oculus at its center.

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The last place we visited as a group was the Fountain of the Four Rivers in the Piazza Navona.

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From here, our group split up for the rest of the afternoon.  On my way back to the hotel after lunch, I stopped in a museum with a special exhibit about Leonardo da Vinci and his inventions.  They had built models of inventions from his sketchbooks.

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Completely unrelated to da Vinci, I found in one of the rooms of the museum, what appeared to be the tomb of Aulus Hirtius, a famous Consul from the late Roman Republic.  After a quick stop back at the hotel, I made my way to the National Museum of Rome site at Palazzo Massimo.  This museum was home to a really cool coin collection in the basement.  One the first and second floors were a number of statues, including this bronze one named as “The Boxer”

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Up on the third floor was a fresco from the Villa of Livia at Prima Porta.  Walking into this room, you are surrounded on all sides by this continuous image.  I’ve got a 360 degree panorama view of this room, but if I put it here, you wouldn’t be able to make out any of the details.

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