Entry 3: June 9, 2012
On June 5, 2012 I went to the Colosseum in Rome, Italy. The Colosseum’s real name is The Flavian Ampitheater (Rick Steves). I got on the bus with eight other girls and got off at the stop right before the Colosseum. As I turned the corner I saw the magnificent structure that I have only seen pictures of before. I bought a Roma Pass which means I could get into two ancient ruins and ride the bus around Rome for free. I used my Roma Pass to skip the long line which was definitely a bonus for getting into the Colosseum. The Colosseum was built for entertainment purposes in the medieval era (Wikipedia). Normal activities seen in the Colosseum were animal fights, human fights, human and animal fights, re-enactments, and executions. There were 80 elevator shafts underneath the stage which would raise the animals and gladiators onto the battle field (Rick Steves). The Colosseum could hold 50,000 people all of who could enter and exit the structure in less than 15 minutes after a battle noted by Rick Steves. The Colosseum is 2,000 years old and one of the greatest structures in Roman architecture (Wikipedia). The Colosseum has suffered from earthquakes, acid rain, and people taking stones out of the structure to use in other architectural structures around Rome. The Colosseum is missing part of the outer wall, the stadium floor, as well as the seats in which the kings would sit and watch from. The Colosseum is one of the biggest tourist spots in all of Rome.
While I was in the Colosseum I was amazed. I have heard so many stories about the Colosseum and the bloody battles which were fought by the gladiators so it was exciting to be in the same place where that history occurred. As I was walking around the Colosseum I was listening to Rick Steves explaining detailed experiences and information about the amazing architecture. I can’t imagine living in a time period where killing other people and watching fights to the death is a main source of entertainment. Rick Steves told us that gladiators would fight other gladiators, criminals, and animals. The animals in which would be used in the fights were lions, tigers, bears, hippopotami, elephants, alligators, panthers, and leopards. I have no idea how any gladiator could possible beat a wild animal. Rick Steves also said that the killing of thieves or criminals were brutal and harsh. The criminals would be thrown out on the stadium floor naked with no weapon and just be attacked by whichever gladiator wanted to kill them. I find this time period in history extremely interesting but unbelievable. The thought of 50,000 people watching a bloody gruesome battle is unreal to me. The smell of blood was permeated all throughout the Colosseum after fights which seems disgusting to me. There were many other ways to find entertainment and I can’t believe that fights to the death were the primary source for the Romans. The Colosseum could have been used for many other things instead of battles.
In America, we have sports, concerts, and parties as our main source of entertainment and I do not think anyone would ever think to watch criminals or animals fight in large stadiums. I watched a movie called “The Hunger Games” a few months ago which is a futuristic movie saying 24 children under 18 must go to a foreign island and fight until the death. Only one winner could come out of the 24 participants which is sort of going back to the barbaric times of the Romans. “The Hunger Games” are scary to think about because even though it is only a movie the idea that people watch others die is the futuristic idea portrayed in the movie. The plot line of the movie was about a girl and a boy beating the odds and both winning The Hunger Games but in the movie there are 22 other kids who are killed. The movie was a great success and many people liked watching it but I do not think they realized how similar this movie can be compared to the times of the Colosseum. Watching others endanger or hurt themselves is not entertainment and should never be brought up again. “The Hunger Games” struck up some controversy because it was claimed as a “futuristic game.” “The Hunger Games” is a modified version of what the Romans did in the Colosseum. The Colosseum opened for 100 days and more than 2,000 people were killed but in the movie the hunger game happens once a year where 23 kids are suppose to be sacrificed. This comparison is close and I think it is scary that this idea would even be brought up. The Colosseum and the gladiators battles made a huge impact in history and by visiting the Colosseum I felt as though I was able to picture what was really happening so many years ago.
Entry 2: May 27, 2012
The group traveled to Florence, Italy on Thursday May 24th. The church began being built in 1296 by the sculptor Arnolfo di Cambio. We first rode a bus to Arezzo and then took a train to Florence. The train station was slightly overwhelming but I was extremely excited to see the Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore. The church is designed as a Gothic style church and is located in the Piazza del Duomo. I have been doing research about the Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore also known as the Duomo of Florence for my chemistry class so I couldn’t wait to see it in person. My chemistry research told me that the Duomo has been restored due to degradation throughout the centuries. Dr. Vitarbo told the group that once the left side had been cleaned and the right side was almost finished cleaning it was already time to clean the left side again because the church was so large. The church is the largest brick dome in the world (Wikipedia). The length of the church is 502 feet, the width is 125 feet, and the max height is 300 feet (Wikipedia). The Duomo has 463 steps and can be viewed from the second, third, and roof floors. The amazing thing about the church is the dome. The dome was created by Filippo Brunelleschi before technology to build a dome was even invented (Rick Steves). When I was taking pictures of the church I realized the marble on the outside consisted of green, pink, and white. The detail and artwork on the outside of the Duomo is breath taking. There are also paintings on the top of the dome as well as throughout the church. Paolo Uccello, Andrea del Castagno, Giorgio Vasari, and Federico Zuccari were some of the artists who painted fresco’s or constructed sculptures which are still in the Duomo to this day (“The Florence Art Guide”).
As I was taking pictures of the Duomo I could not believe what I was looking at. The church was so large and consisted of so many small elements. Each design was carefully hand crafted and the dome was created when modern technology was not around. I could not decide if I wanted to climb the tower or the climb up 463 stairs of the Duomo. I had made up my mind; I was going to climb the Duomo. I paid eight euro, got my ticket, and was up the stairs. The stairs were extremely narrow and were in the shape of a spiral so as I was climbing I felt as though I was becoming dizzy. I didn’t count the stairs because I was too excited to get to the top. I first went out on the second floor and looked down at all the people walking around on the main floor, they looked like ants. I could not believe how big the church was inside. I tried to imagine how an actual service would have been performed but I was at a loss for thoughts. The ceiling of the dome was covered with colorful paintings. I then walked around the second floor and was onto more stairs. Each step I took felt like I was almost approaching the top but there was always one more step I had to take. The steps became steeper and shorter it seemed as I made my hike up the 463 stairs. When I finally saw the exit to step out on top of the Duomo I was so excited! I could not wait to see the few from the top of the famous church. I am not afraid of heights but something about the climb up made me a little nervous. When I saw the few from the top of the church I was amazed. Everyone who had made it to the top was smiling from ear to ear because they had completed what seemed like such a long journey. I took many pictures of the beautiful scene of Florence, took a moment to rest and feel the breeze, and then I was on my way back down the stairs. The way down seemed a little scarier than the way up because I was more nervous I would fall down the stairs. In order to reach the exit I had to walk around the third floor on the inside of the Duomo. I enjoyed this few a lot as well because I was closer to the paintings on the ceiling of the dome. The paintings were amazing.
When I got to the bottom and walked out of the Duomo my legs were shaking. I am not sure if they were shaking because I was scared of the climb I just encountered or if I was so fatigued because of all the stairs I climbed. I believe climbing the 436 stairs was completely worth doing and if I ever go back to Florence I would do it all over again. Being in a church with so much history behind it is a memory I will never forget.
Entry 1: June 9, 2012
I went to Rome, Italy from June 4th-7th with eight other girls. We stayed at the Hotel Texas which was not far from the train station. After I checked in to the hotel I went to an Italian Restaurant with Helen and Sarah Beth. After dinner we walked to see the Trevi Fountain which I was extremely excited about. I had never seen the Trevi Fountain before so I thought it was interesting to see the fountain at night. Our hotel was not far from the Trevi Fountain so we were able to walk back the same night. The next day we woke up around 9:30 and rode the bus to The Colosseum. We took a tour of the Colosseum and then moved on to our next site. We then walked from The Colosseum to Palatine Hill. Palatine Hill was extremely difficult to navigate because there were so many different ancient ruin buildings to see. After Palatine Hill we had lunch and then began seeing more of Rome. The next site we wanted to see was The Pantheon. We walked to The Pantheon and were able to see the inside which was beautiful. After the Pantheon we decided to walk to the Mamertine Prison where Saint Peter and Paul were legend to be held. We got lost many times on our way to the prison but were ecstatic when we finally found it. We had walked what seemed like all of Rome and decided to go back to the hotel and shower for dinner. The group of nine girls went to a nice Italian meal and then got gelato after! The next day we got up at 7:30 in order to get blessed by the Pope. We rode a bus to arrive at St. Peter’s Church around 8:15. We walked past the gates and ended up sitting on the fourth row which were great seats. We waited for two hours before the Pope came out to bless the people. There were people from all over the world waiting to hear him speak. The service ended around 12 and it was time to eat again. The group ate together and then decided to go inside St. Peter’s Church. Everyone got separated in the church and so Helen and I decided our next site was going to be the Sistine Chapel. We walked to the Sistine Chapel which was not far from Vatican City. After the chapel we rode a bus back to our hotel and could not wait to take a shower after the long day we had! We showered, went to eat, and then went to the Trevi Fountain again. The next morning we went to the Basilica near the train station and then caught the next train back to Arezzo. I have never seen as many historic buildings in all my life as I saw in Rome the three days I was there. Rome was an experience I will never forget.
Rome is located on the Tiber River and is in the central-western part of Italy (Wikipedia). Rome is home to 2.8 million residents but brings in thousands of tourists a year (Wikipedia). Rome is also predominantly Catholic and is home to one of the most influential religious figures in Vatican City, The Pope. Rome is known for their architecture. The different types of architecture that can be seen in Rome are domes, fountains, statues, and arches. The Colosseum is an outstanding four story structure where gladiators use to fight and battle. The Colosseum is 2,000 years old and was built out of Roman concrete (Rick Steves). Palatine Hill was where the emperor’s lived (Rick Steves). The Roman Forum can also be seen from Palatine Hill. The Pantheon is famous for its large dome. The dome was 142 feet high and wide (Rick Steves). Lastly, the Trevi Fountain is a Baroque fountain with Triton as the symbol for the Ocean.