After touring the Vatican, we strolled over to Castel Sant Angelo - see below. The first pic was taken as we were walking towards it. The pic below that was taken by the teen with me looking a bit exasperated because I have absolutely no desire to have my photo taken in front of every tourist spot on the map.
Originally the tomb of Emperor Hadrian built in the second century AD, it became a military fortress in the 5th century after the fall of Rome. In the 14th century, the popes converted it into a castle and connected it to the Vatican with a covered fortified corridor as a means for the pope to escape without injury or in sight of the enemy. Our tour guide told us this served as a place for the popes to get away and let their hair down, inviting over the mistress or gay lover for a bit of fun away from prying eyes. It seems even the most holy of Christians have earned the term hypocrite in centuries past.
After huffing and puffing up to the roof where you see the bronze statue, we took the following two pics, one of the Tiber River at sunset and the other of the bridge that crosses the Tiber right outside the entrance to the Castel.
The building below is in pristine condition because it was built in modern times during the early 20th century. It is a memorial to Victor Emmanuel, the first king of unified Italy. The Italian version of the tomb of the unknown soldier is located at the base of it.
Our tour guide told us that a lot of Italians consider it an eyesore. It is garishly white compared to the buildings surrounding it and has earned the nicknames typewriter, teeth and wedding cake. It is rather ostentatious and I doubt Victor really needed such a large monument named in his honor. However, it did serve as a handy landmark while we toured around the city since the winged victory statues atop both ends were visible from just about everywhere we traveled on foot.
I was looking back at our pics from the race through Rome day on our Med cruise in July. At that time, I had no idea what I was staring at but obviously we thought it was some sort of impressively important building and we took the pics below of it.
I especially like the Italian flags waving in the summer breeze. And see what I mean? I took the shot below back in July as we spied those winged victory statues all over the city off in the distance.
The girls had a great time spotting gelato shops during the break. This was probably the most impressive one we visited... and this is just half of the gelato offered. There was another whole case of it located behind me.
And above, the younger daughter enjoyed a bit of whipped cream atop her gelato at a shop near our apartment the tour guide suggested - The Frigidarium. I'm just noticing the word "Fat" on the display board in the top left corner of the pic. I don't know what's up with that, but it appears the board is showing the process to make gelato and I'm guessing it has to do with the fact that gelato actually has less fat in it than ice cream. Or maybe it's just the universe sending us a not so veiled message that we need to lay off the gelato unless we want to turn into chub chubs.
And speaking of chub, you're gonna get some thighs on you if you consume even a portion of one of the incredibly large Nutella tubs used as a display in this sweets shop.
How convenient that there was a sweets shop right down the street from our apartment. We enjoyed Nutella crepes and cannoli several evenings after supper as evidenced by the little one taking a bite out of the pistachio bits covered end. Me, I like the chocolate chip dipped end best.
The girls were on a pizza kick in Rome and insisted on having it pretty much every day. After a morning of logging several miles on foot with our guide, the little one splurged on a Coca Cola. The glass bottle was different than the ones we're accustomed to, so of course I had to document it with a pic. As you can see, they love to add a slice of lemon in the glass.
As for me, I stuck with Diet Coke, though it's known as Coke Light in Europe.
I'm about all Rome-d out for today. I promise that my next Rome post will be the very last one, the odds and ends I feel compelled to share. I've got childhood friends arriving next week from the US and Netherlands, so that will give me something new to ramble on and on about here in cyberspace.