Rome: the city and the Vatican = another goal crossed off my bucket list.  What a ride!!

Mussolini would rally his people and troops from a window of the middle floor.

S.P.Q.R. is the symbol of Rome: Senatum, Populus, Quarum, Romanos.  Commonly found on public works, like light poles and sewer drains, along with Romulus, one of the twins of the legend of how Rome got established.

Arched entries to the Coliseum were numbered with Roman numerals.

Below, 1250 years of Roman Rule, viewed via maps.  Rome was founded 2753 years ago.

And just when you think you’ve seen and heard it all about The Vatican, the guide finishes telling the group about this artwork by saying, “This is NOT painted; it is all mosaic, as is ALL of the cathedral.”   It’s breathtaking, to say the least, but personally, I can think of much better ways to spend that amount of money.

    In Roman times, businessmen met in the basilicas, trials, the court house, banks, shops, etc. until noon when everything closed.  Stages were scattered everywhere, used for public announcements, daily news, or political speeches.  In the afternoon, the men would go to the coliseum or gyms. 

    In the coliseum, hunting animals was in the morning and gladiator (slaves) fights were in the afternoon. The fights were sponsored by politicians or the government.  The winner got the prize of gold, which he usually used to try to buy his freedom from his coach or owner. The loser would use his left index finger to plead the audience for grace; they responded with thumbs up or down to decide life or death.

    What looks like a dry river bed near the Coliseum is Caesar’s circus maximus, where chariot races occurred.

    In the Vatican, 60% are government employees.  For them, traffic signs and working hours are merely suggestions.  The day is supposed to start between 8:15 and 8:30, but employees normally arrive between 9:15 and 9:30, and then leave at 10:00 for their coffee break.  Espresso coffee, of course.  American coffee is only good for washing clothes. 

    There are 272 statues of popes, saints, and martyrs around ST. Peter’s Square.  The church itself was built in about 10 years, but has taken more than 500 to decorate.  Only the Pope conducts mass in the the church, maybe 25 times a year, and everyone stands; there are no pews.  There is a door to the outside that only opens once every 25 years, but I have no recollection of which door it is, nor why the restriction.

    The Sistine Chapel was painted in 4 years when Michelangelo was 37; he was 61 when he added the Judgment Day.

    June 2, 1849, is the Day of the Republic, after which there were no more KINGS.