Dec 7 – Rome (in 6 hours…yeah right)

Dec 7 – Rome. Coach tour to x3 highlights. What an crazy rush – after a long drive in from Civitavecchia. We managed to eat a traditional Calzone, see the Vatican, the Colosseum and Brian made it to the Trevi fountain. (newly restored)

On this whole journey I have been inspired, awed and overwhelmed by the history & beauty.
It has also been a frustrating dilema. To see as much as possible (our first visit and so little time) or try to do some artwork. Finding a balance has been a constant challenge.

I have had to simply walk away, find a spot and experience even that location in my own isolated way. In Rome I stood by the river to sketch for about 20 minutes. Then again in the plaza waiting for the tour group to reassemble.

We lucked out with the weather – a sunny winter day and not too busy (so we were told) But the hectic shopping streets & Vatican activity made it a mad crush at times. I cannot imagine what it is like in the summer in Rome. Horrendous number of tourists.

Colosseum.   Gladiator on a smoke break. Cell phone in the other hand.

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Original Roman walls near the Colosseum

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The restorations on the Colloseum.
Just one dedicated man with a sponge & bucket. Tee hee.

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Our tour guide holding up the white paddle in the middle of an interesection at the Piazza del Popolo.

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My sketch while waiting for Brian and the tour to return to the bus. at the Piazza del Popolo.04_Rome (2) 04_Rome (3)

St Peters – and the busy preparations for the opening of the Papal “doors” on Dec 8th. launching an extraordinary Catholic Jubilee year dedicated to the theme of mercy.04_Rome (4) 04_Rome (5) 04_Rome (6) 04_Rome (7) 04_Rome (8)

Loved the nun with the cell phone & travel bag. So many faces and visitors from all nations, races and ages here at St Peter’s. Although I don’t subscribe – faith nevers ceases to astound me.

My sketch beside the River Tiber. I am standing at the head of the stairs (like the opposite bank on the right) in a small space that allows some room off the busy street. With the wide wall as my table watching the interesting foot, cycle and river traffic pass by. Between the bridges Ponte Alberto 1 and Ponte Cavour. The small white church facade of Chiesa Sacro Cuore del Suffragio was like a glittering lacy ornament in the winter sun.

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The autumn color, reflections and haze of light ( yes pollution a factor) added to the sense of impressionist atmosphere. I think most of the cities and landscape I have seen have been influenced by the haze. Back in the day it would have been smoke. Now it is cars.

One of the most outstanding features of the landscape ( throughout Spain, Portugal and Italy) have been the umbrella pines. Shading the city streets and standing above urban plazas they have a dramatic silhouette. The Romans planted them like boulevards alongside their road systems to shelter the walking soldiers from that hot mediterranean sun.

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We were SO fortunate to have that sun with us. The quality of light and dramatic relief of the fine sculptures was wonderful.

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