August 27, 2017: Rome, the highlights

This is a post seven months in the making.  In late January, Laura and I flew to Italy to check out Rome, Naples, and Pompeii.  This was originally going to be part of our Croatia trip the prior February, but I decided that was too much to pack into one week.  I was right.  There's so much to see in both countries that I wish we'd had an entire month in each!

Anyhow, the night we arrived in Italy, we visited the Maxxi museum, a spacious modern art gallery in Rome's northern sector.  After a quick bite to eat at a small sandwich shop, we trekked to one of the city's professional soccer stadiums to watch AS Roma.  We got there way too early and didn't bring adequate insulation.  Furthermore, the widespread cigarette smoking in the stands was kinda gross.  After seeing one score during the first half, we left in the middle of the second.

Day two was very busy.  Early that morning, we made our way to Vatican City and St. Peter's Basilica.  The plaza alone is a sight to behold.  I don't know who all of the dudes on the perimeter are, but they looked like some straight up Catholic bosses.

Security was mercifully quick thanks to the early hour and the chilly weather.  First, we climbed a very long, winding stairway to the top of the dome.  Then, we entered the sanctuary.  It's difficult to describe how large the cathedral is without saying you have to see it for yourself.

The Vatican's extensive museums were pretty amazing, too.  I'm a big fan of realistic sculpture, so the hallways filled with ancient busts were like a dream come true.  The paintings weren't half bad, either.

On a more relaxing day, we toured the E.U.R., a commercial district commissioned by Benito Mussolini, and the Protestant Cemetery.  Both are hidden gems.  The Palazzo della Civiltà Italiana, pictured first, might be the coolest building I've ever seen in person.  The Angel of Grief was also a highlight.

I feel like you can't go to Rome without touring the Coliseum (not that I really wanted to skip it).  I was underwhelmed by the interior, to be frank.  My night shots turned out well.  I'm especially fond of the abstract one.

The Roman Forum sits right across the street and is included in the price of the ticket.  It was a little more difficult to find something of interest there.  After a while, all of the rubble starts to look the same.

Naples and Pompeii are up in the next post.  Onward!

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