A Christmas Return to Rome

It’s a luxury to return to a place a second time. Having familiarity with a place reduces the stress of learning the transportation system and locating things. Under less pressure to see as much as one can as fast as one can creates a more pleasurable experience. We were able to re-admire many places in passing – without standing in lines, paying admittance fees, and taking dozens of photos.

We re-admired the Colosseum from the outside this time.

Notice the cracks on the far left. It looks like the Coloseum could just melt away.


This visit was a sequel to our 2010 visit to Rome. Today’s entry may make more sense if you read about our first visit and follow the link here: Buongiorno Roma! (At the conclusion of each blog post is both a backward arrow to the previous post and a forward arrow on the right to advance the story. Several posts prior to Rome are about the travel planning details and preparation for the big 2010 Dream Trip.)

Revisiting Rome’s Top Classical Sights 

The Trevi Fountain where I tossed in a coin to ensure a future return to Rome. Hey, it worked last time!


The Pantheon, built around AD 120, is a well preserved 2000-year-old building (now a church) that the Emperor Hadrian built over Marcus Agrippa’s original 27 BC temple. The dome was the largest in the world until the 15th century.


In the Piazza fronting the Pantheon.


Bernini’s Fountain of Four Rivers in Piazza Navonna.


Food and flower market at Campo dei Fiori.


The serious business of eating. Clockwise: a Neapolitano Pizza (in Rome), pizza by the slice, spaghetti alla bolognese, and pasta alla carbonara.


Eager to compare the Roman pizza to the Neapolitan pizza, we ate pizza several times. I can’t say that I prefer one over the other; I like their differences. In California I could eat at a different Mexican restaurant each day of the week and they would all taste different.

For our final Italian gelati I finally sampled some seasonal flavors. Both the carmelized pear and the mandarin orange were outstanding!

Discovering New (to us) Roman Sights

Some things are free! Thank you Rome for these bottle-refilling stations that offered both still and frizzante (sparkling water).


The Basilica di Santa Maria in Trastevere. The Trastevere is on the opposite side of the Tiber River from the Roman forum, but on the same side as the Vatican City. It is believed this was the first Roman church dedicated to the Virgin Mary.
The apse has glittering 12th-century mosaics. The original church dates from the 4th-century.


We walked along the Tiber River from Trastevere to the Castel Sant’Angelo, but have still not toured it.


The Basilica San Giovanni in Laterano (St. John in Lateran) for 1000 years was the most important church in Christendom.


San Giovanni in Laterano founded by Constantine in AD 324 was the first Christian church built in Rome.


San Giovanni in Laterano was the main church where the pope worshiped until the late 14th century. Could that be the pope’s chair?


Michelangelo’s “Moses” from the unfinished tomb for Pope Julius is located at the Basilica di San Pietro in Vincolo (St. Peter in Chains).


Strange things are found in these old churches. I laugh at the amused look on this guys face. The box in the lower right supposedly contains chains from Peter’s emprisonment before his execution.

The planning of our first trip to Italy 5 years ago began with a reservation to tour the excavations under the basilica which was a highlight of that trip to Rome. 

This time we were able to ascend to the Cupola of St. Peter’s Basilica which we missed last time because the wait in line was several hours long.

The visit to the cupola includes a climb to the top of the dome and a stop on the roof of the basilica.


We opted to take the elevator to visit the walkway at the base of the dome. To continue up to the top we had to climb over 300 steps. The walkway gets narrower as you move up to the top of the dome.


The walkway around the base of the cupola is above the letters which are 8 feet tall. Closeups of mosaics that look so small when looking up at them from the floor. We noticed the “key” motif repeated throughout the church.


While on the roof I photographed the statues of Christ and his disciples that adorn the front of St. Peter’s basilica – but from behind!


St. Peter’s Square dressed for Christmas.


As I have mentioned a few times in this blog, the Italians love their nativity cribs- or crèches – which they call a presepe or presepi (plural.)  An annual holiday event in Rome is the Exhibition of 100 Presepi at the Piazza del Popolo displaying crèches from around the world. We were able to admire many of Rome’s churches presepi as well.

How fitting that an Italian presepe is made from pasta!


The Italian presepe of entire villages are so detailed. I like to peek in the windows. Through the bedroom window a creche on the dresser is visible. Through another, a woman sewing can be seen.


Spot the llama?


Here’s an elegant creche.


This is a contemporary one.


Modern impressionist nativity in the motor of a Fiat 500.


I like a simple nativity scene best.


Ciao, dear Italy. Until next time…
We are presently in Israel – The Holy Land where Christ was born.

Meet You in the Morning next time with photos from our visit to Istanbul.

2 responses to “A Christmas Return to Rome

  1. Pingback: Roman Surprise!!! | Meet You In The Morning·

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