Friday, April 18, 2008

Roman reflections

A photo from our first day in Rome: the three intrepid teens standing on the remnant of an ancient Roman spiral staircase. We are in the Palatine/Forum area which is full of ruins and remarkable sections of buildings and temples still standing: Titus's arch, for instance, and Caesar's tomb, which had fresh flowers on it.

Marble was the staple material and the varieties seemed endless. An especially beautiful purple marble, porphyry was imported from Egpyt and we were told that the Romans took all that there was. So the columns of this marble that we see in buildings today were all quarried back then. I shall attempt another photo with that marble. Interestingly, we found some of those precious columns in the cathedral of St. Mark's in Venice.

This expanse of archeological paradise is within sight of the Colosseum, the Circo Massimo, and Constantine's arch. It was almost too much to take in--such proximity and not enough time to absorb. We wandered through a maze of broken cornices, tombs, fallen columns and temples to speculated gods and goddesses. Although guides spoke authoritatively, we became aware that much of the information they pass on is guess work and educated opinions.

The avenue outside this area of excavations is lined with Romans famous and infamous. I took the requisite photos of Julius Caesar with Jess and Isabel in front and one with Luke. It was only after we had finished the photo op that we saw in Caesar's uplifted left hand, yes, a small, plastic child's sword. Unique Italian sense of humor?

This avenue, too, had the most human statues we saw congregated in one place. These people dress up in robes or costumes, paint their faces gold, black or white, and stand immobile until someone drops a coin in their tin can. Then they smile, wink, bow or whatever suits their persona. It's a living, I guess.

Ciao for now.

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