Actual Romans from actual centuries ago actually walked these actual streets and watched actual people getting mauled by actual lions. These Romans were entertained by actual gladiators who were actually massive and skilled and apparently lived a vegetarian lifestyle.
While Paris was permeated with French Revolution history, Rome captured ancient cultures and proper civilizations, a surreal concept as we walked through their market places and the Coliseum. Our tour guide, Gaston, was much more entertaining and his stories held more relevance to our tour group. His appearance also tickled our fancy; he wore an extra-long brown trench coat with a Lenten-purple jersey and a black fedora hat. Gaston took us on a walking tour through Rome, past the great sights such as the Trevi Fountain, the Pantheon and the Spanish Steps. We ended our cultural and historical tour with lunch at McDonald’s.
The Vatican City held a certain fascination for me as I’d attended a Catholic school for my whole school career (all 13 years of it). It was also cool to be on the set of Angels and Demons, but that wasn’t key to my enjoyment. One of the things that stood out for me was the emphasis placed on the Popes. While I obviously knew the of the tarnished reputation held by the Catholic Church, it seemed as though everything in the way of art was done to glorify the Pope. While I respect that he is important in the religion, it doesn’t make sense to me that he seems more revered than God or Jesus, the whole point of the religion. However, the artworks and designs of the building (/country?) were all beautiful and I felt privileged to have been able to see the originals of some really famous artwork.
Our last night in Rome was enjoyed far more than our first night because by now most people had recovered from their food poisoning. The hostel we were at, Plus again, had a Toga party, sheets provided. It was lots of fun, with a large portion of the fun coming from figuring out how to turn a sheet into a Toga.
We said our goodbyes to Rome in the rain.