European Adventures: Capitoline Hill

DSC02619Buongiorno! Here’s another day exploring the Eternal City of Rome. This post focuses on Capitoline Hill and the nearby Piazza Venezia, considered as the central hub of the city .

According to A View on Cities, the Capitoline Hill is the smallest and most important of the seven hills of Ancient Rome. As the political and religious heart of Rome the hill became a symbol of Rome’s reign as Caput Mundi, capital of the world.

DSC02590Piazza del Campidoglio, designed by Michelangelo, is bordered on three sides by buildings – Palazzo Senatorio (center, with the clock tower), Palazzo dei Conservatori (right) and Palazzo Nuovo (left).

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Palazzo Senatorio, the city hall of Rome
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Cordonata

The piazza can be reached from the foot of the hill by ascending the majestic Cordonata (Italian for ‘graded ramp’) stairs.

 

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Piazza del Campidoglio
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Il Vittoriano (left) & Santa Maria in Aracoeli (right)

Next is Il Vittoriano (Victor Emmanuel II Monument). The magnificent monument dominates the square and is dedicated to the first king of Italy. It is also called Altare della Patria, meaning altar of the fatherland.DSC02620DSC02613DSC02610P1050253

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From Il Vittoriano, Palazzo Venezia (left) and Palazzo Generali (right)

Rome is just beautiful. I want to come back!

Again, thank you to our tour guides especially to Sister Pierette.

To read other posts on our European adventures, click on the following links:

 

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European Adventures: St. Peter’s Basilica

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After spending hours at the Vatican Museums, our next stop was St. Peter’s Basilica. It was a dream of mine to visit this church and I’m so glad I got the opportunity to do so.

According to Sacred Destinations:

St. Peter’s Basilica is a major basilica in Vatican City, an enclave of Rome. St. Peter’s was until recently the largest church ever built and it remains one of the holiest sites in Christendom. Contrary to what one might reasonably assume, St. Peter’s is not a cathedral – that honor in Rome goes to St. John Lateran.

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Inside the basilica, one can see Michelangelo’s great dome and Bernini’s Baldacchino directly below it. This monumental canopy shelters the papal altar and the holy relics of St. Peter. Click here to read more about the different areas found inside the basilica.

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St. Peter’s Basilica stands on the traditional site where Peter – the apostle who is considered the first pope – was crucified and buried. St. Peter’s tomb is under the main altar and many other popes are buried in the basilica as well. Originally founded by Constantine in 324, St. Peter’s Basilica was rebuilt in the 16th century by Renaissance masters including Bramante, Michelangelo and Bernini. (Sacred Destinations)

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Directly in front of the basilica is St. Peter’s Square.

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According to the Vatican City State website:

Designed and built by Bernini between 1656 and 1667, during the pontificate of Alexander VII (1655-1667), the square is made up of two different areas. The first has a trapezoid shape, marked off by two straight closed and convergent arms on each side of the church square. The second area is elliptical and is surrounded by the two hemicycles of a four-row colonnade, because, as Bernini said, “considering that Saint Peter’s is almost the matrix of all the churches, its portico had to give an open-armed, maternal welcome to all Catholics, confirming their faith; to heretics, reconciling them with the Church; and to the infidels, enlightening them about the true faith.”

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We also passed by Ponte Sant’Angelo and Castel Sant’Angelo (Hadrian’s Mausoleum).

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Again, thank you to Tita Christine, Tita Anabella, Sister Pierette and Sister Bel for touring us around Rome.

For more posts about our European adventures, click on the following:

 

 

European Adventures: Vatican Museums

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Buongiorno! The last stop of our Mediterranean cruise is none other than the Eternal City – Rome. After disembarkation, we wasted no time and immediately started the day touring the city. First stop – the Vatican Museums.

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We spent hours lining up to get inside, but we braved the heat and fatigue. When we walked through the galleries and saw the amazing pieces of art, we knew it was definitely worth the wait. Sculptures, paintings, tapestry, architecture and other art forms were found in every corner.

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Overwhelming is one word I could use to describe my experience walking through the different galleries. The ceilings were my favorite part because I’ve never seen them so ornately designed!

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Of course, the highlight of our visit would be the Sistine Chapel. The place was packed with people who were all looking up to admire Michelangelo’s masterpiece. The moment I walked inside until I exited, I was also looking up! It was grander than I could have ever imagined.

Picture taking is not allowed inside the Sistine Chapel so here are some photos from the internet.

 

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While walking through the compound, we also had a photo with the famous dome of St. Peter’s Basilica in the background. After exiting the Vatican Museums, we headed straight to St. Peter’s Basilica and St. Peter’s Square (more on that on my next post).

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Huge thanks to Sister Pierette and Tita Anabella for fetching us at the Port of Civitavecchia and for touring us around. Thank you also to Sister Bel and Tita Christine!

Read my other posts about our European adventures:

European Adventures: Pisa & Florence

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Buongiorno! Our European adventure along the Mediterranean coast continues and the next stop is Tuscany, a region in the central part of Italy. Our ship docked at the Port of Livorno, and our day trip included the cities Pisa and Florence.

DSC01766Upon arriving at Pisa, the weather was quite gloomy and we were quite scared that it might ruin our day trip. Thankfully, we only experienced light rain in some parts of the day. Of course, our trip to Pisa was all about the Leaning Tower. It is actually the bell tower of the cathedral, which are both located at the Square of Miracles (Piazza dei Miracoli).Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetDSC01792

After our short visit to Pisa, we proceeded to our next stop – Florence. The travel time was around 1 1/2 to 2 hours so we grabbed the chance to get some rest and be ready for an afternoon of walking.

Our first stop was Santa Croce Church (Basilica of Santa Croce), the resting place of icons such as Michelangelo, Machiavelli, and Galileo Galilei. A Monument to Dante also stands in front the church.

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The next stop on our Florence walking tour was the Piazza della Signoria. It can be considered as an open-air gallery, with numerous sculptures displayed, such as David (the original is in the Galleria dell’Accademia) by Michelangelo, Hercules and Cacus (1534) by Bandinelli, and Nettuno (1575) by Ammannati.

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The Piazza della Signoria has been the center of political life in Florence since the 14th century with the prominent Palazzo Vecchio overlooking the square.

 

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After an Italian lunch, we continued our walking tour and had some time to marvel at the beautiful Duomo. The Piazza del Duomo was bustling with people when we were there, and numerous souvenir shops, gelato stands, cafes and restaurants lined the surrounding streets.

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Our last stop for the day was Galleria dell’ Accademia, where we lined up for quite a few hours to see the original David sculpture by Michelangelo.

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Aside from the sculpture of David, which is probably the most famous sculpture in the world, we also got to see more sculptures and paintings by different Italian artists.

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That’s it for our day trip in Pisa and Florence!

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