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Forum Imperiali, Pza. Espagna, St. Peter in Chains

Fori Imperiali

We walked to Colosseum, where we once again saw Forum Romanum. Then we carried on to Fori Imperiale (Imperial Forums) on the other side of the street. These fori were established, when the old one - Forum Romanum - became too small to cover the social, political, and commercial needs. The biggest problem was, I think, that there was no more room for all the monuments needed to praise the emperors, generals etc. for their achievements. Construction was begin by Caesar and completed with Augustus, with continual additions by other emperors. It seems like every emperor had his own forum, ie. Foro di Cecare, Fori di Augusto, Foro di Vespasiano, Foro di Traiano. The excavations began in 1932 and continue through today in the Forum.

The best preserved monument is Colonna Traiano, which was erected in 113 after the war with the Daciens (a tribe living in Rumania somewhere). It consists of 18 pieces of Greek marble with more than 2.500 figures in a battle scene. Originally the coloumn was guilded, and on top of it was a statue of Emperor Traian. Later on he has been substituted by a statue of Saint Peter. Quite impressive! Many of the buildings are being restored.

Capitol (Campidoglio)

Capitol is the smallest of the 7 hills, on which Rome is built. It used to have 2 summits: one where the temple of Juno (remember the geese of Juno, which used to warn people against the enimy) was placed, and one where the temple of Jupiter was. There is not much to be seen from these monuments. Around a beautiful place, designed by Michelangelo, are several newer buildings: Museo Capitolino, Palazzo Nuevo, Palazzo dei Conservatori. Next to the steps to the square are statues of the twins Castor and Pollux - always shown together with their beloved horses. We witnessed a wedding in one of the buildings. After the ceremony the friends of the groom clapped their hands and shouted. Very amusing - but not for the bride, it seemed.

St. Peter in Chains - Saint Peter in Vincoli
San Pietro in Vincoli(Saint Peter in Chains) is more known for it's statue of Moses than of the chains. To take the chains first. In the church you see 2 pairs of chains: those, that Peter wore, when being transported to Rome from Jerusalem, and those he wore, when being prisoner i Rome. Miracolously these 2 pairs of chains have unified into one pair of chains.

But the greater experience is Michelangelo's powerful statue of Moses, maybe his greatest work. It shows Moses' rage, when coming down with the ten commandments he finds his people worshipping 'the gold calf'. It was meant to be part of a mausoleum for Pope Julius II and should have been placed in San Pietro. But before Michelangelo had finished it, he was 'persuaded' by Julius II to decorate The Sistine Chapel first - a work that took several years. Much to Michelangelo's regret, since he considered himself a sculptor rather than a painter. When Julius II had died, there were no sponsors to finishing the work, that should have comprised 42 statues!

Piazza Espagna
Late in the afternoon we walked to Piazza Espagna, where we started by seing the church Trinita dei Monti with it's twin towers. The front was designed by Maderno, who also made the front of San Pietro. Much of the art works were removd by Napoleon, but it's still worth a visit.

After that we had to sit some time on the famous steps (The Spanish Steps). Why the steps are called Spanish? How should I know? Maybe because the idea - and the money - came from a Frenchman, who was embassador i Rome? But it is very relaxing and entertaining to watch the scenery. Probably better in spring or summer, where the steps are covered by flowers (and pickpockets).

Then we walked back to Hotel Kennedy, where we had a tourist menu (read cheap) at Alfredo's???. The menu was lasagne, scalopini, fresh fruit, and coffee. And vino di casa. An excellent meal with an excellent service. We can recommend this restaurant to others, who come to Rome.

When we came back to our hotel, we asked the staff to make reservasions for a 1-day trip to Pompei on the following Tuesday. But if you want se see, where we are going tomorrow, you have to click here.