"Impressive, interesting area" Vatican City by alza
Vatican City Travel Guide: 1,268 reviews and 3,897 photos
In order to put things in perspective: I spent a month in Italy May-June 2010, starting with two days staying by St.Peter's (Hotel Columbus), then rented a car to drive in Lazio, Tuscany and a short foray into Umbria, before returning close to Rome for two days.
I dropped off the car at the airport (Leonardo da Vinci) and flew to Malta for eight days.
On my return to Rome, I had nine days left and stayed at the Roma Downtown Hostel near Stazione Termini on one side, and the church Santa Maria Maggiore on the other. That was a good area to explore Rome more fully than I'd ever done during previous visits.
I lost the 227 photos taken on my first two days in Rome, all taken with tripod, some at 6 a.m. to catch the sunrise on wonderful buildings, from Circo Massimo to Tarpeian Rock to Capitoline to Victor Emmanuel, the Jewish ghetto, Teatro Marcello, Trastevere, the Tiber seen from numerous bridges, etc.
I'm not ranting but feel the need to explain the lack-lustre photos I ended up with, taken on my last nine days... I could have gone back everywhere and re-taken all lost photos -- but I didn't have the heart to do that...
I did find a few photos from my first two days in Rome, taken with Blackberry. They weren't meant for my site here but I'll use them now.
Now on to photos taken at the Vatican and in the surroundings (Borgo Pio and slightly onwards, via Cola di Rienzo, Metropolitana Ottaviano-S.Pietro, across Viale delle Milizie, around via della Giuliana and via Trionfale, etc.
Facing St.Peter's from via della Conciliazione, I recommend walking through the grand theater of colonnades on the right, to enter Borgo Pio through the great gate of Porta Angelica.
This was an area of Rome that I'd never explored before. It turned out to be fascinating, with its maze of small streets filled with life and very typically Roman. It's very lively, tavernas, restaurants, caffés, a great shopping street (Cola di Rienzo) and in a way, the atmosphere all around is unique and still very Roman (somewhat to my surprise.) Yes, there are many tourists at first -- just past Porta Angelica is the entrance to the Vatican Museums so of course you'll see people from all over the world excitedly walking to the Museums' entrance.
Walk beyond and around, you'll be rewarded with medieval Rome, in a lovely setting that feels very civilised and safe.
(I say this and mean it, but the whole city of Rome always seemed extraordinarily civilised to me... including the close surroundings, Colli Albani etc. -- it's in the way of life that you can't help but feel at every step and every encounter.)
Around Borgo Pio, things tend to focus around the "religious" -- you see groups of clerics walking around like simple tourists, lots of shops selliing religious artifacts, but the Borgo is a microcosm and shows a Rome that's unexpected, artisans, locals going about their daily lives, good cafés, organic juice bars, etc. Very modern! I had a fantastic time walking there, looking at store fronts with calendars of young priests in latest hairdos, and a lot of irreverential gifts (such as "Cats of Rome" on Capitoline toe statues!)
There's not a boring thing in the Borgo! Mostly an overall good feeling.
From Ponte Vittorio Emanuele II
This large avenue pierced through the Borgo in front of St. Peter's during Mussolini time. It was the object of great controversy (and still is, I gather) but in all fairness, it wasn't the first effort towards creating this great contrast with the surrounding Borgo environment.
In the old days, St.Peter's appeared from a maze of narrow, tortuous streets, rather abruptly. The surprise baroque effect disappeared with the arrival of via della Conciliazione, from which the shock is now absorbed. Old districts views between St.Peter's Square and the Castel San Angelo were forever perturbed...
Still, the idea of restructuring the vista in that zone (known as La Spina del Borgo -- the backbone of the Borgo) was conceived as early as the XVth century, pursued in the XVIth under Sixte Quint, then again in the XVIII and XIX centuries, without success.
Mussolini finally gave the decisive pickaxe blow in October 1936 and demolitions went the pace from there.
you see a lot of clerics around. I felt awkward snapping their pics with a zoom but just had to do it! more travel advice
English name: Pontifical Swiss Guard Original name: Guardia Svizzera Pontificia - Cohors Pedestris Helvetiorum a Sacra... more travel advice
Written Mar 12, 2013
Written Mar 12, 2013
Closing the Sistine Chapel Door
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