22-Station Break: Out and About in Rome, 1976

Introduction

We’ve completed the postings on our Scotti ancestors in Agropoli.  Before beginning the series on the Muro family we wanted to take a break and share photos of Rome.  They were taken during the vacation Grandma Josie and Grandpa Sam took me on in 1976.

Our Vacation to Italy Summer of 1976:  Our first week in Rome

Our first week of sightseeing in Rome went by very quickly.  Italia and Stefania guided us through the most important sites of Rome.  Since Stefania was just 9 years old Italia did not want to be out for hours in the hot sun waiting on long lines for admission to churches or museums.  We went sightseeing early in the mornings ending each of our expeditions with a long and leisurely lunch at one of the small, out-of-the way places Italia knew.

On other mornings we went shopping at small boutiques that sold exquisite leather handbags, shoes and clothing.  We’d follow-up with a visit to an Italian Gelateria which Stefania selected.  She sure knew her ice cream!  I remember one Gelateria was an oasis of cool and quiet.  The marble topped tables were such a contrast to the formica topped tables of ice cream parlors back in Brooklyn.  An added treat was getting a tiny scoop of lemon ice on top of the vanilla ice cream I ordered.  The contrast in flavors was very enjoyable.  Italian ice cream is rich and smooth.  The vanilla swirled ice cream with chocolate sprinkles from the Mister Softee truck back in Brooklyn did not cross my mind at all once I developed a liking for gelato.

Of all the sites we visited in Rome, the ones that left the deepest impression on me were St. Peter’s Basilica and St. Peter’s Square.  I share these memories along with photos from the trip.  After the photos comes a section with some factual data that is sure to add to the appreciation of these important sites.

From Our Photo Album

Italia, Stefania, Grandma Josie and me visited the Spanish Steps first.  As we approached the top I was reminded of many fairytales I’d read as a child.  The site that greeted us reminded me of a palace where a beautiful Queen and handsome King lived.

The piazza at the top of the Spanish Steps makes the climb worthwhile.  The view offers so many possibilities for taking memorable photos.

I felt as if I’d walked into Heaven as the sunlight streamed through the round windows in the dome of St. Peter’s Basilica.  The manner in which the stained glass window above the altar shined reminded me a monstrance.

The grand scale of the Basilica reminds the visitor that God is so vast His influence cannot be contained.  Like the light that permeates the Basilica, He is everywhere.

St. Peter’s Square, like the Basilica, is grand in scale.  As we walked through this space I felt as if it expressed the message that as individuals we might not all have large spheres of influence.  But when we come together we are more than just ourselves.  When inspired and willing we can achieve great things together that improve the bigger world.

Grandma Josie (left) and Italia (right) in front of one of the fountains next to the Obelisk in St. Peter’s Square.  Italia’s energy and enthusiasm made this morning excursion pass very quickly.

A few facts about St. Peter’s Basilica and St. Peter’s Square

St. Peter’s Basilica

  • The Basilica occupies over 5 acres of land. Here is some background about what happened at this site long before St. Peter’s Basilica was built–
    • In 64 A.D. the Roman Emperor Nero started a fire as a way to clear space for a new palace. This fire burned out of control.
    • Christians were blamed and executed, including their leader, St. Peter.
    • St. Peter was buried at the top of what is now known as Vatican Hill.
    • In the 4th century Emperor Constantine builds the first basilica on what is believed to be the grave of St. Peter. The exact location is not known.
    • In the 16th century the present St. Peter’s Basilica was built over the site of one built in the 4th century.
  • Donato Bramante was the chief architect for the new St. Peter’s Basilica. Bramante died in 1514 and was succeeded by other architects who in turn continued with the building and added their own contributions to the plans.
  • Construction was completed in 1614.
  • The structure of St. Peter’s was originally conceived to be in the shape of a Greek Cross. It was later modified to be a Latin Cross. There are three aisles separated by pillars.
  • St. Peter’s Basilica is home to Michelangelo’s Pieta.

St. Peter’s Square

  • It took 11 years to complete the square. Construction started in 1656 and was completed in 1667.
  • St. Peter’s Square is bordered on each side by a curving arc of columns. These symbolize the open arms of the church to welcome all into its fold.
  • At the center of St. Peter’s Square stands an obelisk that was originally from Egypt. It was brought to Rome by the Emperor Caligula. It was moved into its present location during the 16th century.
  • There are also two fountains in St. Peter’s Square. The one on the right of the Obelisk was installed in 1613. The one on the left about 1677.

Discussion with Uncle Sammy, Sunday July 12, 2015 11:00 a.m. – 11:45 a.m.and Sunday, November 8, 2015 11:00 a.m.

Uncle Sammy and Aunt Kathie travelled through Rome and Italy during Autumn of 1997.  They spent three days in Rome visiting St. Peter’s, the Vatican, the Sistine Chapel and the Spanish Steps.

The Borghese Gardens, situated at the back of the Spanish Steps, were very beautiful.  Uncle Sammy said that a  lovely experience is to combine a visit to the Gardens with a walk that includes the Spanish Steps and the Trevi Fountain.

St. Peter’s Basilica was a remarkable experience, Uncle Sammy told me.  He felt a powerful force inspired the architecture and artwork that fills the visitor with a sense of awe and humility.

Resources 

St. Peter’s Basilica

History of St. Peter’s Basilica-video

History.com

http://www.history.com/videos/history-of-saint-peters-basilica

 

St. Peter’s Basilica

Basilica of San Pietro in Vaticano

a view on cities

http://www.aviewoncities.com/rome/sanpietro.htm

 

St. Peter’s Basilica

Church, Vatican City

Encyclopaedia Britannica

http://www.britannica.com/topic/Saint-Peters-Basilica

St. Peter’s Square

St. Peter’s Square

Vatican City State

http://www.vaticanstate.va/content/vaticanstate/en/monumenti/basilica-di-s-pietro/la-piazza.html

 

St. Peter’s Square

Piazza San Pietro

A View on Cities

http://www.aviewoncities.com/rome/piazzasanpietro.htm

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2 thoughts on “22-Station Break: Out and About in Rome, 1976

  1. Love your post.
    I was in Rome (&Italy generally) as an undergraduate in 1978. I remember it as a wonderful new world. Really beautiful and elegant. It still is of course – love the food & the shops as well as the great art.

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  2. Yes, it is a very beautiful city. It’s the sense of history from antiquity to now being right there where you can see and touch it. There will be a whole series of postings about our week long trip along the Amalfi coastline once the postings of the Muro family are complete. I think those will start late February or March. Stay tuned and thanks for your continued interest.

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