M: Rome

In every piazza there is a fountain.  The water is so clean you can drink it and refill your water bottle.  Some fountains have spigots sticking out of the wall.  The water was really cold.  When you put your hand on the spigot and block the flow, water shoots out of another little hole drilled in the top and it becomes a drinking fountain.  Its really nice if you get thirsty because you don’t have to by some.  This fountain used to be bathtub during Roman times and then it was turned into a theater box seat for nobles during the Renaissance. 

In this picture we are climbing to the top of the Dome of St. Peter’s Bassilica.  There are over 500 stairs to the top!  It rises to 448 feet in height and is the tallest building in Rome.  It’s not as tall as big buildings in a modern city but this is amazing because it was built over 350 years without power tools!  The famous dome was designed by Michelangelo.  As we climbed it got so narrow that we had to use a rope to help us up the twisty stair passageway.

In this picture you can see the top of the dome.  The highest flat observation area right at the top is where we climbed!  The view from the top is spectacular.  We could see all of Rome and especially good views of the Vatican.  We were able to see the Pope’s house and private gardens.  He also has a special guard with fancy costumes designed by Michelangelo.  By the way the Pope says hi to everyone at home!

This is a picture of the Pantheon.  It is the exact diameter from floor to ceiling and side to side. You could fit a giant ball inside this building.  It was an amazing building construction.  The Romans made it from concrete.  The base walls are really thick and made with basalt and as it gets higher it gets lighter made with pumice.  The square cutout shapes in the ceiling are there to help lighten the load as well.  There is a big hole in the top called the Occulus– or eye.  When it rains the water comes in and drains out holes in the floor to the sewers.  Pigeons were also flying around inside.  After the Fall of Rome, it was turned into a church and that is why it was preserved.

When I go into churches I look up at the ceilings because they are so magnificent.  I like to think about how hard it would be to make something like that even with power tools! I am looking forward to going to the Colosseum and I will blog about that next time.

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