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Coffs Harbour, Australia
April 12, 2005
On with the journey to the coliseum. Next, I caught a glimpse of it down the end of a street, off to the left (I think that I was on via cavour). Anyway, I am sure that my jaw dropped from the sheer size of it, sandwiched as my view was between a street full of old buildings. I started walking faster, as if it was going to disappear if I didn't get there quickly enough... All the history that I had ever learned came back as I tried to take in the size and state of this magnificent monument. Inside, I imagined hearing the screams of gladiators (and others) and the roars of the lions too - plus an elephant or two. In reality, it was quite quiet inside--many visitors all talking in hushed tones. Hmmm. The visit to the colliseum is not to be missed.
From journal Rome in a Day
October 12, 2004
Then we headed about 4 blocks south on to the Trevi fountain, where I threw coins in, my husband took pictures, and we did a gelato stop. While the Spanish Steps was larger than I expected, this was much smaller than I did, and the fountain is right up against a wall. It is pretty amazing, if crowded with people throwing in the obligatory coin.
Next we stopped at San Ignatio, a Jesuit church about 4 blocks west and one south of The Trevi fountain. It has an amazing trompe l'oeil ceiling, including a dome that is not there. The church ran out of money before the dome was constructed, so the artist painted a dome. If you stand on a particular spot, you see the inside of a beautiful dome, as you move you become aware that it is only an illusion.
Next, we headed down a long block toward the Pantheon, which was a Roman temple to all gods, but stood idle after pagan worship in Rome ended for a couple hundred years, until it was made a Christian church. They were having a mass at the time, so we only stood in the back and spoke very quietly. While we were exiting the choir began Mozart's Ave Verum. The choir was very good, well balanced and blended, with sopranos like bells (though I think they were women, not boys. The acoustics were such that the music just filled the place, and there was no indication of directionality, so one is surrounded by this music as if angels are singing it to you. I wanted to stay, but we were with a group and I feared that the group would leave without us!
After we finished we headed for another Bernini fountain about four blocks further west. We went to Piazza Navona, which was once a circs (racetrack) so it is long and oval in shape. It has three fountains, the center of which is Bernini's masterpiece, the fountain of the four rivers (Nile, Ganges, Danube, Tiber) depicted as reclining men. (David said rivers always recline because that is what rivers do.) It was lovely and is all on photo and tape.
After that we headed for Largo Argentina, which has roman ruins of three temples (about which they know nothing) and a cat sanctuary. We were supposed to catch a bus there, but it was not to happen, since we could not find the bus stop.
From journal Roman Pilgrimage