This is our third day in Rome. It is very crowded with tourists and getting more so by the day. I figure that part of this is because Rome is always crowded with tourists and part of it is due to the fact that it's close to New Years.
We went to the Colosseum first on Thursday, the experience was totally disorienting. The line was long and we didn't have enough cash to get in so we bailed. There are people after you where ever you go around the big attractions. Selling crap, begging, barkering for restaurants, etc. Such a change from Siena. We went to the Forum and the ruins around the area, climbed up the hill of the capital and cruised around other places that I forget now.
Yesterday was all about the Vatican. We took the subway and walked into Saint Peters Square. It was crammed with people. In the center was a huge Italian styled nativity scene. St. Francis of Assisi started the idea of placing the nativity in an Italian setting and context. This way it seemed familiar to people. We waited in line to see the Vatican Museum with the Sistine Chapel being the ultimate destination. I'm reading an interesting book about Pope Julius the second and Michaelangelo and the painting of the Sistine Chapel. It's pretty amazing that so much important work all happened within a few years around 1500. I like reading about old school popes. They usually had children from several women, some liked to invite prostitutes up to their apartment and some liked to dress up as women... Julius had several children and was the "nephew" of a previous pope. He made have been the actual nephew or maybe the son. But it's no coincidence that the word "nepotism" is from the Italian word for "nephew." Julius was also a tyrant but he commissioned some the greatest art of all time. It never fails that from tyranny and struggle comes great art.
Later we went to St. Peter's Basilica and the burial area of several popes including John Paul II and St. Peter himself. The Basilica is too big for its own good. Again, very crowded. The lighting was poor and there is no real sinage or information about the various areas of the church. This is also the way it is in the Vatican Museum. You could be looking at something very significant or historical and you wouldn't know it.
Today was the Pantheon, lunch, and this Internet store. Next we'll go to Campo di Fiori. Jane bought some sweet boots. Okay... time's running out. We've taken more than 600 photos, so expect to see those on Flickr when we return. Tomorrow is New Years Eve... if it's like all of the other nights we've spent here, we'll be in bed by 9PM... we'll see. Oh and I got to scare the hell out of a guy in his underwear last night... he was trying to get into a room next to us and kept knocking on the door. No one was going to let him in. About 1 AM I got up and told him to get lost. I forget that I can be a little intimidating sometimes. The guy whimpered and ran away like a puppy.