Last day in Rome. 3/11/18

Uh, oh, there are no happy faces at breakfast. I am used to sleeping in little pieces or not at all for hours but my compatriots are not. Sarah has been up since 1:15 AM and John has awakened several times during the night. I have had about six hours of sleep with a big gap in the middle but that is the way I usually sleep so no biggie.

I have a plan for at least part of the day and that is to go to the Museo Nationale di Palazzo Venezia. We are hoping the rain holds off at least until nap time.

It is quite a distance away so we take a cab from the nearby train station. The building itself is quite large and follows the Italian plan of walls on four sides with garden in the middle. We are told to go up a long flight of stairs to buy the tickets. I ask if there is an elevator. Yes, but I have to go around the block and into a different entrance.

Turns out we cannot find the elevator and are in fact told that you cannot use the elevator unless you have a ticket which you would have had to walk up the stairs for. Sigh.

The Museum has a large variety of works. Here are a couple I liked.

Bas-relief of St. Jerome with his lion either right before or after he pulled the thorn out of the lion’s paw. The lion looks like he wants to jump up into St. Jerome’s lap
Someone made a rather macabre rattle for Jesus
The garden in the middle where I am placed while John and Sarah try to find one another

So the museum is not a huge success. We need to find some other things to do in this area. We decide to look in the church Santa Maria Sopra Minerva. After all a church built over a Roman temple should have some interesting artifacts and maybe a tour of the old temple! While  John runs in to see if the morning services are over, I take a picture of Sarah by the elephant and obelisk out front.

Sarah by the elephant and obelisk in front of Santa Maria Sopra Minerva

The obelisk was found during excavations nearby and the sculptor G. Bernini fashioned the elephant. It was erected in 1667.

John returns from his scouting of the church. No luck! The Mass is still going on. We decide to take a look at the Pantheon instead.

It is party time in the piazza in front of the Pantheon. There are musical acts, food sellers, guys hawking selfie sticks, soldiers with machine guns, and another obelisk. The Romans are just mad for obelisks. This one, the Macuteo obelisk, was created during the period of Ramses II and is set on a plinth in the middle of a fountain.

Crowd in the Piazza in front of the Parthenon with obelisk fountain
Here is a better few of the piazza that I grabbed off of Wikipedia

We head into the Pantheon. The present building was completed by the emperor Hadrian and probably dedicated about 126 AD. It is an immense space. The structure of the coffered dome allows for a space which is uninterrupted by supporting columns. It is the prototype for a lot of Western architecture.

Interior of the Pantheon
Looking up at the oculus

By now it is past noon and we figure Mass should be over. We head back to Santa Maria Sopra Minerva. Unfortunately there is no sign of Minerva. The current Gothic Church was started in the 1100’s and completed in 1370. There has been some redecoration. The most important work of art in the church is Michelangelo’s statue Cristo della Minerva (1521).

Interior of Santa Maria Sopra Minerva
Michelangelo’s Cristo della Minerva

We get a taxi back to the hotel. Funny thing about our taxi rides, the price in one direction always is way more expensive then the price back. We cannot figure out if this has to do with the pattern of one way streets or if some drivers are merely ripping us off. In any case taking a taxi has improved our ability to stay upright longer.

We eat lunch at Binario 37. It is mostly bad but the wait person is charming and we are too tired to care. Sarah wins the lunch selection contest.

Mary lunch – lasagna (glop on a plate)
John lunch – salami pizza (pre-made crackery crust)
Sarah lunch – tagliatelle Bolognese (the winner in a pretty poor competition)

And that’s all I have for today. Third day jet lag has won. We meet at 4PM in a zombie-like state. We walk around the block in the rain. We go back to our rooms. We meet again at 7:30 PM and decide to just eat Happy Hour snacks. Currently John and I have been up since 3AM. Jet lag is still winning.

We are off to Pompei tomorrow in a rental car. We have a planned stop in Tivoli to see the cathedral and Hadrian’s Villa. Hopefully it will not be raining.


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