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Monday, July 15, 2013

July 15, 2013: I don't know how those Gladiators did it.

I'm writing to you as I relax in my hotel bed- this city is a LOT of walking!

Started off the day by having breakfast near the Spanish Steps. Not a bad hang at all. Then Derek met us and took us over to the Villa Borghese- I had Respighi on my mind as we walked through the park and admired the greenery! This view is also gorgeous, and it looked right over Piazza del Popolo, another interesting square that was a major scene for the movie Angels and Demons. Tom Hanks wasn't around...

We had a great tour of Musei Vaticani this afternoon. Camilla, our tour guide, was so educated on the place and her passion for the history of Rome was very apparent throughout the tour. The company is called Walks of Italy, and we would highly recommend them as well! very professional and top class company. 

Vatican City is an overwhelming place, and its almost too difficult to describe in words. We were looking at Roman baths that stood in the middle of the city, before records of Christ's birth. Thousands of years old! And, they're in perfect condition, as if they were built yesterday. It's astounding, and it almost makes you dizzy thinking about how old this city is.

We learned a lot about past Popes, and their desire for decadence and collecting famous art pieces. Art by the masters themselves- Michelangelo, Bernini, Raphael, and the list goes on. We were standing in the same spot as Michelangelo, looking at the same work. Again, hard to put the feeling into words. 

We ended the tour in Cappella Sistina, where we couldn't talk or take pictures. The chapel had been restored by the Japanese years ago, and they own copyrights for the artwork. So, until the copyright expires, all photos belong to them. There are so many stories, funny and terrifying, about the frescoes in this humbling room. I can't even begin to describe them here, so I urge all of you to google the Sistine Chapel and read about how the work started and learn about the secrets behind the frescoes. 

After the tour, we hooked up with Derek and took a long journey up to one of the highest hills in Rome, overlooking the city as the sun went down. Breathtaking views and great people watching. We had dinner in one of his favorite off-the-beaten-path restaurants, and the meal was filling and delish. Couldn't have asked for more. 

Now, our feet hurt and our bellies are full. We have a long tour of the Colosseo and Ancient City tomorrow, as well as an open bus ride around the city in the evening. Also, we cannot forget gelato at the Fontana di Trevi to end our Roma adventure. 

Total steps taken today: 12,862. In wedge sandals and dress shoes. 

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