On A Weekend In Roma

I will premise this blog post with an apology for being M.I.A from my blog for the past two weeks. Among classwork picking up and traveling more, I haven’t been able to find the time to just sit in my bed with my computer and camera and write about my time abroad.

Aside from writing, I also love photography and have tried to make my blog as much about the images as I have the storytelling. So, since I been here, there and everywhere, and don’t want to rack my brain in order to write a specific detailed itinerary of the weekend, I decided to make this post about my weekend in Rome with my parents more of a photo blog. More or less a quick highlights about each place we went. This includes my favorite spots and all around captures from the weekend.

//Friday: Ancient Rome//

The Colosseum

View from the outside of the Colosseum.
View from the outside of the Colosseum.
Inside the Colosseum.
Inside the Colosseum.

Fun Facts

– There use to be a man made lake in the location where the Colosseum now stands. Emperor Nero, whose palace once stood where the Colosseum is, wanted a pool in his house so when the Colosseum was built they had the drain his pool.

– A golden statue of Emperor Nero, which was 35 meters or 114 feet, once stood outside of his palace.

– The phrase “Nero fiddles while Rome burns,” comes from when the poor part of Ancient Rome was burned to the ground. The people believed Nero set the fire in order to clear out the poor people of the city. It’s said he played the fiddle and showed a nonchalant attitude while his city was burning.

– The gladiators, who were slaves forced into battle, were trained and lived in a prison across from the Colosseum.

– Attending events at the Colosseum was an all day affair. The Ancient Romans showed up at 7 in the morning and stayed until 6 at night to watch the battles and fights.

– Tickets to the events were free for all Romans.

A Lizzie McGuire Movie Quote That Accurately Describes This Location

“Miss Ungermeyer: Mr. Craft you are in the most beautiful city in the world, is this having any effect on you?

Ethan Craft: Yeah the cobble stones are like totally thrashing on my wheels.”

Roman Forum

Roman Forum.

Fun Facts

– This is the view of the Roman Forum from an area right behind the mayor’s office. He clearly has the best view in the city.

– While it is now halves of buildings and pillars, this was once the epicenter of Ancient Rome. Romans would come here for speeches and events.

A Lizzie McGuire Movie Quote That Accurately Describes This Location

“Miss Ungermeyer: You will get to experience the delights of La Citta Eterna. Rome. Eternal city. Did no one read the info packets?!”

Piazza Navona

The fountain in the center of Piazza Navona.

Fun Facts

-Each statue on the fountain symbolizes the 4 continents that people in Ancient Rome knew about at the time. The first represents Asia and is of a man with an oar that represents the importance of the Ganges. The second is of the Nile River and the man’s eyes are covered as people did not know where the source of the Nile River was. The third is of North America and there are gold coins everywhere, as the newfound land represented wealth. The last represents the Danube river and includes the symbol of the Pope.

-This was one of my favorite places in Rome. Aside from people forcing you to buy a selfie stick, the ambience of the people walking around and live music made it an enjoyable place to be. My mom and I enjoyed prosciutto, buffalo mozzarella, and a glass of wine while people watching. Definitely a highlight of the trip.

A Lizzie McGuire Movie Quote That Accurately Describes This Location

Miss Ungermeyer: “Ok, let’s try something at your education level and take a ten minute shopping break while I choke down an espresso.”

Spanish Steps

Having my Lizzie McGuire moment of the Spanish Steps.
Having my Lizzie McGuire moment of the Spanish Steps.
View of Rome from the top of the Spanish steps.
View of Rome from the top of the Spanish steps.

Fun Facts

– The statue at the bottom of the steps called “The Ugly Boat,” was vandalized the night before by Dutch soccer fans after the Netherlands vs. Rome soccer game.

– The place where tiramisu was invented, called Pompi, is a short walk from the steps and is to die for.

A Lizzie McGuire Movie Quote That Accurately Describes This Location

Lizzie: “Goodbye Lizzie McGuire, hello fabulous.”

//Saturday: Christian Rome in The Vatican//

Vatican Museum and Sistine Chapel

Courtyard of the Vatican.
Courtyard of the Vatican.
The bust Michelangelo based The David off of.
The bust Michelangelo based The David off of.

Fun Facts

– The courtyard of the Vatican Museum features a giant bronze globe. The art is obviously more modern than the rest of the art on display at the museum. This is because, when it was placed there in 2003, the Pope wanted to make sure that the Vatican was a museum for ages, not just reflective of the old school art.

– The bust, pictured above, was done by an unknown Greek artist and was the model Michelangelo used when carving his masterpiece, The David.

– While I don’t have any photos of the Sistine Chapel as we weren’t allowed to take any, Michelangelo had no interest in painting the wall. Done in Fresco style, which involves pairing directly onto the wall while it’s wet, Michelangelo thought painting was a feminine art style and he much preferred sculpting. The Pope had to beg him for 5 years, until he agreed to paint it.

– The center of The Last Judgment features Jesus and his right arm is pushing those he chooses worthy, into heaven and those he finds unworthy, into hell.

-The man depicted as the Devil in hell was based off of a real person. While Michelangelo was painting The Last Judgment, one of the Pope’s cardinals criticized his artwork. The Pope sided with Michelangelo, because is there really anyway to not side with a artistic genius, but also because he had begged him to paint it in the first place. In response to this, Michelangelo used the cardinals face as the face of the devil. The cardinal, who was obviously upset, asked Michelangelo to re-paint it and Michelangelo responded, “I put you in a place where you can rightfully judge people.”

-St. Barthelomew, who was skinned to death, is pictured holding his skin, but the face painted on the skin is not of the Saint, but is actually a self-portrait of Michelangelo.

-When you walk in the church, the ceiling looks like it is upside down so you must walk to the back in order to view the ceiling in the correct direction.

– Their are images depicting the succession of Pope’s as well as Saint’s, all holding books or scrolls, in order to make themselves seem smarter and more worldly.

– The Sistine Chapel was easily the most breathtaking and beautiful part of the whole museum. The Last Judgment, ceiling, and walls are filled with hidden messages and I would advise anyone who vists to take their time and appreciate each work of art. I easily spent 20 minutes looking around and I could have stayed longer.

A Lizzie McGuire Movie Quote That Accurately Describes This Location

“Gordo: Wow, evil and smart.

Kate Sanders: Embrace it. Fear it.”

St. Peter’s Basilica

Michelangelo's Pieta.
Michelangelo’s Pieta.
Ceiling and Dome above the altar.
Ceiling and Dome above the altar.

– St. Peter’s is the largest church in the world, ironically located in the world’s smallest country.

– Michelangelo’s Pieta is located here, and is the only piece of artwork he ever wrote his name on. The only reason he did so on this one, was because one night while in the church he overheard two men talking and one credited the Pietra to another artist. Later that night, Michelangelo broke in an etched his name on the statue’s sash.

– Before the 70’s you could touch the Pieta, but one day a man ran into the church claiming to be Jesus and beat the statue. After extensive reconstruction, the Pieta was put back on display, but this time behind glass.

– The dome of the Basilica is the largest in the world and took only 22 months to complete.

A Lizzie McGuire Movie Quote That Accurately Describes This Location

Ethan Craft: “Love lifts us up where we belong.”

//Other Locations and Happenings//

On our free day on Sunday, my mom and I went back to the Vatican for the Pope’s angelus. So not only did I get to see Pope Francis, but we also got blessed by him.

Pope Francesco!
Pope Francesco!

We also went across the Tiber river, which splits Rome in half, to the Old Town called Trastevere.


Another, overlook of Rome.

“You shine like the light from the sun.” But, the sun in nonexistent in this picture and Paola’s a liar. Isabella and Lizzie 4ever.

On the way back to Florence, we stopped in the medieval town of Siena, Italy. Every year the town holds a horse race. All the people of the town gather in the center of this Piazza and watch the horses race around them, as they cheer on their neighboorhood.

Piazza San Marco, Siena, Italy.
Piazza San Marco, Siena, Italy.

We also stopped in the beautiful vineyard town of San Gimignano. It’s in the heart of Tuscany and the views were clearly unbelievable.

Outlook in San Gimingiano.
Outlook in San Gimignano.

Rome, the Vatican and the small towns on the way back to Florence were incredible. It was so great to experience Rome with my family and see all of the sights and attractions I have been so interested in since I was in elementary school. Thanks for an unforgettable weekend!

Family inside the Colosseum!
Family inside the Colosseum!

Ciao for now,


All Photography by Emily Houston


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