Rome By Day And By Night

25 Dec

This is the closest I will get to a Xmas post so ‘Merry Xmas’ to all.

On Sunday 15th December we flew from Nice to Rome for a week mainly in Rome but with a side trip to Pompeii.  I will cover the time in Rome in this post and dedicate a separate post to our Pompeii visit.

It was a perfect time to visit Rome.  The weather was fine and not especially cold – daytime temperatures in the range from 12˚C to 16˚C and overnight lows above 2˚C.  And being off-peak season there were generally no crowds and no ridiculously long queues.  We got into the Sistine Chapel in 5 minutes for the ticket purchase plus 5 minutes for security.  We got to St.Peter’s Basilica at 7:20am on the day of the Pope’s birthday and there was no queue, just a quick stop at security and we were inside and free to move without bumping into other visitors.

Visiting at this time also meant we could get very affordable accommodation right in the thick of things.  For our first three nights we stayed at a lovely hotel 100m from the northern entrance to Piazza Navona.  We could walk to everything we wanted – 20 minutes to St. Peter’s, 10 minutes to the Pantheon, 20 minutes to the Trevi Fountain, 3 minutes to Piazza Navona and the Xmas markets.  On our final two nights we stayed on Aventine Hill, not far from the Colosseum at a small hotel that was also very comfortable.  Not so handy to restaurants but great for exploring the Forum and Colosseum areas.

Add to all this convenience the fact that it was so close to Xmas and the decorations are all up plus the special Xmas markets and the whole trip was set to be a cracker.

With that as an introduction I am going to leave you with a small selection from the more than one thousand photos I took during the week.

It wasn't tropical on the rooftop terrace but was still nice to be able to have breakfast 'al fresco'.

It wasn’t tropical on the rooftop terrace but was still nice to be able to have breakfast ‘al fresco’.

Photos were not allowed in the Sistine Chapel and many of the other rooms were so dimly lit due to the delicate artwork on display.  So I don't have many photos at all of this visit.  This one gives a small glimpse of the richness of decoration of the Papal Palaces.

Photos were not allowed in the Sistine Chapel and many of the other rooms were so dimly lit due to the delicate artwork on display. So I don’t have many photos at all of this visit. This one gives a small glimpse of the richness of decoration of the Papal Palaces.

Doorways and rooms forever...

Doorways and rooms forever…

Piazza Navona is the home to three magnificent fountains.  I don't recall the legends associated with each one but I did distill a general theme - people are not allowed to wear clothes and they must be engaged with killing something!

Piazza Navona is the home to three magnificent fountains. I don’t recall the legends associated with each one but I did distill a general theme – people are not allowed to wear clothes and they must be engaged with killing something!

Some of the Xmas market stalls in Piazza Navona.

Some of the Xmas market stalls in Piazza Navona.

The front edifice of the Pantheon.

The front edifice of the Pantheon.

Raphael's tomb inside the Pantheon.

Raphael’s tomb inside the Pantheon.

The interior of the Pantheon on our second visit, this time during daylight hours.

The interior of the Pantheon on our second visit, this time during daylight hours.

Xmas lights on the Via del Corso, one of the main shopping streets in Rome.

Xmas lights on the Via del Corso, one of the main shopping streets in Rome.

The Trevi Fountain at night.

The Trevi Fountain at night.

A night view of Palatino Hill across the Roman Forum.

A night view of Palatino Hill across the Roman Forum.

Part of the Roman Forum ruins with coloured lighting.  It actually looked much better than in daylight.

Part of the Roman Forum ruins with coloured lighting. It actually looked much better than in daylight.

Temple of Saturn.

Temple of Saturn.

It is difficult to get a sense of the size of St Peter's Basilica from a photo, it is huge.  It is 220m long, 150m wide and 138m high at its maximum.  Of course the decoration and details are also magnificent.  More info... http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/St._Peter's_Basilica

It is difficult to get a sense of the size of St Peter’s Basilica from a photo, it is huge. It is 220m long, 150m wide and 138m high at its maximum. Of course the decoration and details are also magnificent. More info… http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/St._Peter’s_Basilica

The weather was perfect as can be seen in this photo of St. Peter's Basilica from the Pont Sant 'Angelo.  The bridge in the foreground is Ponte Vittorio Emanuele II.  This is the daytime version...

The weather was perfect as can be seen in this photo of St. Peter’s Basilica from the Pont Sant ‘Angelo. The bridge in the foreground is Ponte Vittorio Emanuele II. This is the daytime version…

Statues on Ponte Vittorio Emanuele II with St. Peter's Basilica behind the trees.  There were lots of lights illuminating statues and buildings making lots of opportunities for me to experiment.

Statues on Ponte Vittorio Emanuele II with St. Peter’s Basilica behind the trees. There were lots of lights illuminating statues and buildings making lots of opportunities for me to experiment.

Ponte Sant'Angelo and Castel Sant'Angelo viewed from Ponte Vittorio Emanuele II.  The river Tiber was very calm this evening.

Ponte Sant’Angelo and Castel Sant’Angelo viewed from Ponte Vittorio Emanuele II. The river Tiber was very calm this evening.

St. Peter's Basilica at 10:30pm.

St. Peter’s Basilica at 10:30pm.

And here is the nighttime version.

And here is the nighttime version.

This view is from Ponte Umberto I looking across Ponte Sant'Angelo to St. Peter's Basilica.

This view is from Ponte Umberto I looking across Ponte Sant’Angelo to St. Peter’s Basilica.

Approach to the Colosseum.  More people about now that it was Saturday but not too crowded at all.

Approach to the Colosseum. More people about now that it was Saturday but not too crowded at all.

Constantine's Arch next to the Colosseum.  Under renovation but they very thoughtfully only covered half of the monument.

Constantine’s Arch next to the Colosseum. Under renovation but they very thoughtfully only covered half of the monument.

No introduction required...

No introduction required…

What is left of the Temple of Venus beside the Via Sacra.

What is left of the Temple of Venus beside the Via Sacra.

A bell tower behind the columns of the Temple of Venus.  I was drawn by the coloured ceramic inserts and the white half supports in the arches that seemed to be typical around here.

A bell tower behind the columns of the Temple of Venus. I was drawn by the coloured ceramic inserts and the white half supports in the arches that seemed to be typical around here.

The Crypt in the Basilica of Santa Maria Nova.  That is a real skeleton in the glass case.  Upstairs was the sarcophagus of the Pope (a Frenchman) responsible for moving the seat of the papacy back to Rome from Avignon.

The Crypt in the Basilica of Santa Maria Nova. That is a real skeleton in the glass case. Upstairs was the sarcophagus of the Pope (a Frenchman) responsible for moving the seat of the papacy back to Rome from Avignon.

The dome behind the altar in the Basilica of Santa Maria Nova.  Very detailed tile mosaic.

The dome behind the altar in the Basilica of Santa Maria Nova. Very detailed tile mosaic.

The nave of the Basilica of Santa Maria Nova looking over the altar.

The nave of the Basilica of Santa Maria Nova looking over the altar.

The altar and surroundings in the Basilica of Santa Maria Nova.  The French Pope's tomb is beyond where the person is standing on the RHS.

The altar and surroundings in the Basilica of Santa Maria Nova. The French Pope’s tomb is beyond where the person is standing on the RHS.

Still in the Basilica of Santa Maria Nova but looking at the floor.  Many of the buildings we visit have beautiful floors but they are somehow overlooked.

Still in the Basilica of Santa Maria Nova but looking at the floor. Many of the buildings we visit have beautiful floors but they are somehow overlooked.

Walking up the Via Sacra towards the Arch of Titus.  The bird was a bonus.

Walking up the Via Sacra towards the Arch of Titus. The bird was a bonus.

A close look at the Arch of Titus.

A close look at the Arch of Titus.

Constantine's Arch with the Colosseum in the background.

Constantine’s Arch with the Colosseum in the background.

The Colosseum is a very popular place for bridal parties to come for photos.  It is meant to bring good luck.

The Colosseum is a very popular place for bridal parties to come for photos. It is meant to bring good luck.

Capitoline Wolf. Romulus and Remus are part of the foundation myth of Rome.  Traditional scholarship says the wolf-figure is Etruscan, 5th century BC, with figures of Romulus and Remus added in the 15th century AD by Antonio Pollaiuolo. Recent studies suggest that the wolf may be a medieval sculpture dating from the 13th century AD.  More... http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Romulus_and_Remus

Capitoline Wolf. Romulus and Remus are part of the foundation myth of Rome. Traditional scholarship says the wolf-figure is Etruscan, 5th century BC, with figures of Romulus and Remus added in the 15th century AD by Antonio Pollaiuolo. Recent studies suggest that the wolf may be a medieval sculpture dating from the 13th century AD. More… http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Romulus_and_Remus

Ponte Fabricio crosses to the island in the River Tiber.  The main thing in this little island is a hospital.

Ponte Fabricio crosses to the island in the River Tiber. The main thing in this little island is a hospital.

Just wandering the streets and had to snap this treasure.

Just wandering the streets and had to snap this treasure.

This was a very expensive deli near our second hotel on Aventine Hill in Rome.  Truffle for anyone at €480 per kilogram (NZ$800)??

This was a very expensive deli near our second hotel on Aventine Hill in Rome. Truffle for anyone at €480 per kilogram (NZ$800)??

Looking through the umbrella pines in San Alessio Park on Aventine Hill towards St. Peter's Basilica.  This was just a fews hundred metres up the hill from our hotel.

Looking through the umbrella pines in San Alessio Park on Aventine Hill towards St. Peter’s Basilica. This was just a fews hundred metres up the hill from our hotel.

I got up to try and get some sunrise photos from the rooftop terrace of the hotel on the 22nd of December but I was too late.  I was well before official sunrise but the sky was just too light.

I got up to try and get some sunrise photos from the rooftop terrace of the hotel on the 22nd of December but I was too late. I was well before official sunrise but the sky was just too light.

A section of the walls surrounding the original extent of Rome.

A section of the walls surrounding the original extent of Rome.

This pyramid was built about 12AD as a monument to some notable and has survived in good condition mainly because it was subsequently incorporated into the city's defensive walls.

This pyramid was built about 12AD as a monument to some notable and has survived in good condition mainly because it was subsequently incorporated into the city’s defensive walls.

Advertisements

2 Responses to “Rome By Day And By Night”

  1. Sarah Campbell December 25, 2013 at 21:16 #

    Looks like a fantastic trip and I love the night-time shots, will have to get some tips from you when you return to NZ. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!!

    • bikernz December 25, 2013 at 21:21 #

      Merry Xmas and HNY to you and Mark also. Be happy to talk to you about photography when we get home.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: