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Rome Italy Travelogue Part II – St.Peters square, Pantheon, Spanish steps, Vatican

Then we had a look inside the Pantheon. This is an ancient Roman temple. The most amazing characteristic of the temple is the huge dome – the largest dome created out of concrete – 43 meters in diameter. The entire building is a perfect geometrical figure – a sphere inserted in a cylinder and the diameter of the sphere coincides with the height of the cylinder. There is an oculus(hole) in the center of the dome which is the only source of sunlight into the temple.

Rome Italy Travelogue

From the Pantheon, we decided to visit the Spanish steps. These are a series of steps leading to a church. These are so-called because the Spanish embassy is located in the Piazza (square in Italian) in front of the steps. In the 18th century, the most beautiful men and woman in Italy gathered here to get a chance to be chosen as the artists model.

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All over Italy, there are Piazza’s (squares). I think “PIAZZA” must be one of the most common words we heard in Italy !!! In the evening we went back to Termini station and on the way to the hotel tried to find some good food for dinner as we were extremely hungry.

Rome Italy Travelogue

Found a small Italian restaurant serving vegetarian pizza – topping was cheese, tomato and guess what – aubergine. The pizza in Italy is different than what we usually have back in England. The base is much larger and thinner. And the topping of Margherita (Cheese) and tomato is the most common. Finally reached the hotel and slept like logs.

Day 3 – 20th April 2003

This was a Sunday – and that too Easter Sunday – the perfect day to go to the Vatican. We had breakfast early – well let me tell you about the breakfast here. There are cafes in Italy where most people have their breakfast. Here you get all kinds of coffee (Cappuccino, Espresso, etc, etc) and lovely cream croissants.

A few croissants and a cappuccino/ hot chocolate are enough to keep one going along till lunch. These cafes were not regular restaurants; just a few chairs to sit was all they had – at times not even chairs were provided and so you had your breakfast standing at the counter.

I must admit I never had such good cappuccino like the one you get in Italy – it’s fantastic !!! Another of the most common words we heard in Italy – “Cappuccino”. Well, we first went to the Termini station and booked tickets to Florence for the next morning on Eurostar.

Rome Italy Travelogue

There are ordinary and cheaper Italian trains as well but they are slower and on a tight schedule like ours it is better to take the Eurostar. Then proceeded to the bus station to take a bus to the Vatican – we decided to take the bus instead of the metro in order to see the monuments around Rome.

The scene at the bus station was chaotic. All buses were choc-a-bloc with tourists going to the Vatican; so much so that the automatic doors of the buses refused to close at times and passengers had to be offloaded.

A short ride took us to the Vatican – there was a huge crowd there – the Easter mass was in progress and the Pope was delivering the mass. The main square in the Vatican is called St. Peter’s square.

The colonnade surrounding the square is in the form of an ellipse, symbolizing the Church’s embrace of all mankind. It consists of 284 columns arranged in 4 rows. The square is dominated by the largest Church in the world – St. Peter’s Basilica.

The dome of the church was designed by Michelangelo. After the mass, we went inside the Basilica and saw the beautiful marble architecture. Witnessing the papal mass was a great experience.

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