Spring Break '04 in Rome


Florence Photos

Photos 2004

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March 25, 2004 -- Trip From Chicago to Frankfurt

We left OHare Thursday afternoon. Since we were on a United Airlines flight we had the recurring concern that we would get bumped from our flight. When we booked the flight back in October, we had no seat assignments, and sure enough when we got to the airport, the luggage check in desk person was understandably defensive when we raised our concerns.

When we got to the gate, we were able to get seats just fine. It was a good thing we were there early! We still remember our Universal Studios vacation where we got bumped from our United flight to Florida.

March 26, 2004 -- Arriving in Rome, walking through the ancient city

Frankfurt Airport. We had a layover at the Frankfurt airport. Since Mike was taking German in school, we were sure to take some pictures of him infront of some German ads. We were more enthusiastic than he was!

Rome Airport. We got to the Rome Airport and I got a Vodafone Italy prepaid card for my GSM phone. It cost 20 €. Not bad.

Link to Leonardi Hotels

Hotel Pace Elvezia

Hotel Eliseo

Hotels. We took a taxi from the airport to Hotel Pace Elvezia (on Via IV Novembre). It was a nice place located in the center of the city near the Roman Forum. A short walk to familiar tourist sites. Unfortunately, it had a broken water pipe, and half the rooms in the hotel were closed. We were bumped!

We were given a taxi ride to a sister hotel, Hotel Eliseo. It was quite a bit North, it was on Via di Porta Pinciana, just south of Villa Bourgese -- the "Central Park" of Rome. The hotel was nice enough, and we were well taken care of. Our two rooms were adjacent to each other, and were well within what we expected (btw, very different from a US hotel!!).

Breakfast was served on the top floor of the hotel. A very traditional breakfast with a fantasic view!


Spanish Steps.


Just a short walk from our hotel was the Spanish Steps. A very popular gathering place for tourists and local people. We approached from the top and worked our way down the steps. This fountain, Fontana della Barcaccia by Bernini is at the bottom. This column, from 1856, celebrates the Immaculate Conception. The Spanish embassy had flowers in memory of the terrorist train bombing earlier in the month.

Trevi Fountain

We walked through what seemed to be a maze of streets until we came to the beautiful Trevi Fountain. Again a very social place where locals, tourists, young and old gather. We did the customary "coin over the shoulder" ritual -- we will be back!

The streets are very narrow, very few cars are allowed in. It seems like only motor scooters are able to get around.


Cathie snaked us through more of the ancient streets and alleys and got the family to the Pantheon. It is a church that was once a Roman temple from 27BC. The 142ft circular dome as been the inspriation of buildings throughout the centuries. We will later visit the domes in St Peters (the Vatican) and the Duomo in Florence, and you can clearly see influences from the Pantheon.

The granite pillars are from Egypt. Likewise the, oblisic found in the plaza has roots in Egypt. The plaza was a wonderfully warm place to eat -- the outdoor cafes would be something we would come back to a couple of days later.


Colosseum. Ok, yes, we did walk from the Pantheon all the way past the Roman Forum to the Colosseum. We were very tired but still very excited to see all of the sites. We stopped at a street kiosk and bought some sandwiches and then took a taxi back to our hotel. We were exhausted! We will go back to these sites in two days.

March 27, 2004 -- Tour the Vatican

Vatican Museum


We had breakfast upstairs in our hotel (beautiful view!) and then took a Taxi to the Vatican Museum. We had about one and a half hour line. Early on, we were approached by some nice people who were offering "Engish" tours; they had put their own people way ahead inline and promised to get us in quicker. We declined -- too expensive.

The museum was beautiful with sections featuring different themes are eras in history: Egyptian, Etruscan, Mesopotamia, Ancient Roman periods, including statues, hieroglyphic and cunniform inscriptions, statues, funneral pieces dating back to 2000BC. Reminded us of the British Museum; maybe even more?!

The museums artwork featured work by Raphael and Michaelangelo. The museums tour's "Grand Finale" was Michaelangelo's Sistine Chapel featuring the Last Judgement and the Creation of Adam. Raphael's Stanzas (rooms) were beautiful painting that adorned the path to the Chapel. The Signature Room's School of Athens was one of the many beautiful frescoes.

Indeed the above pictures from the Sistine Chappel are scans from a souvenir book. The one illicit picture I took was too blurry to use.