But I think I have started to make a little sense of it all and a few curious themes have emerged that, with the help of my trusty guidebook, I will use to share my Roman holiday with you.
The theme of this post is gods. Rock gods. Gods made of rock, that is. They are everywhere...but as usual, there's a wry twist (my brain does work in some strange ways) so hope you enjoy the views in more ways the one.
|The God of Shopping:|
The Emperor Trajan built Trajan's Markets, a 'visionary' complex of 150 shops and offices, around 100AD just near the Forum. It sold everything from imported silks and spices to fresh fish, fruit and flowers and was considered one of the Wonders of the Classical World. (There's hope for Westfield yet.) I wonder what sorts of things the Romans spent their TrajanCard points on?
|The God of Vertiginous Places|
The Archangel Michael stands atop the Castel Sant'Angelo, the place that bears his name. (Let me tell you it's high up there but the view is worth it.) He also pays tribute to the legendary appearance of the real archangel over the fortress in the 6th century which allegedly marked the end of a rather nasty plague. Despite being made of bronze, he is a god who definitely rocks.
|The God of Cutting Off One's Nose...|
He stands in the Courtyard of Honour at the Castel Sant'Angelo. It looks like he began life as a mere statue and in a fit of jealous pique, stuck some questionable wings on his back, aspiring to the greatness of the one upstairs - the Archangel Michael, that is. This diva strop probably cost him the top spot on the terrace and he is now relegated to merely overseeing the courtyard (and the entrance the current Cupid and Psyche exhibition).
|The Gods of Rock (n Roll)|
Located at the Pincio Gardens end of the Piazza del Popolo, this foursome overlook 'The People's Square' which was the main entrance into Rome for the pilgrims. The Piazza, described by wikipedia as an 'oval square'(?), was the site of public executions for centuries. Hope no-one 'lost their head' over this fab four.
|The God of Wishful Thinking|
We've all heard of the Trevi Fountain - it's one of the most popular places the tourists go and I braved the hordes on my first night - that's why you get the strange yellow lighting in this photo. The Fountain was built in the 18th Century to mark the place where the Aqua Virgo aqueduct ended and features the god Neptune and 2 Tritones. Legend has it that throwing a coin in the Trevi will guarantee a return to the Eternal City - it worked for me last trip so I added another to the pile glistening beneath the surface.
So there's your first peek around Rome's Rock Royalty. If you enjoyed this armchair tour, you might like to stay tuned for more of my irreverent ramblings, coming soon to a browser near you...