Thursday, June 21, 2012

Days 6-8: When in Rome...

Before heading to Rome, we had to stop at the small towns of San Gimignano and Siena. These towns were such a great change of pace after the hustle and bustle of the city. San Gimignano was my favorite small town we visited simply because the landscape was so beautiful! The town is known for its 13 towers, built by various nobles in the 12th and 13th centuries.

The lush, green landscape of San Gimignano
Siena was once a rival to Florence and it is considered one of Italy's prettiest medieval town. We first visited the Duomo de Siena which houses the Piccolomini Library, containing the cathedral's collection of illuminated manuscripts. We then spent time in the Piazza del Campo, a lively square in the center of the city.

Piccolomini Library inside the Duomo

Piazza del Campo
So many things were done in Rome so I will be brief with just the highlights of Rome.


We took a tour around the Colosseum, considered the greatest symbol of Ancient Rome's glory and power. It was completed under Titus in 80 AD and could hold 55,000 spectators. We also explored Palatine Hill, the fabled spot where Rome's first settlers settled under the direction of Romulus.

We also visited the Pantheon, one of the best preserved Roman monuments which also houses the tombs of Italian kings Emmanuel II, Umberto I, and the painter Raphael.

The oculus of the Pantheon allows the light from the heavens to enter

We saw the Pope!
Pope Benedict XVI emerged from his window to address the public on the morning of Sunday June 10th.
at The Vatican

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