“Provided the gods of Rome are given their due, it doesn’t really matter to them whether their worshippers believe in them or not. Having taken part in the official rituals, a citizen is free to worship whatever other deities he pleases. Rom’es gods are there to be obeyed and respected, not loved, and they no more mind sacrifices to other deities than the taxman minds people paying other dues elsewhere. Dealing with the gods is an exchange of duties and mutual respect. Confessing a deep love for a particular god is superstitio and the person concerned is probably emotionally concerned.”
― Philip Matyszak

 

Friday, we found Rome or it found us. Our tour took us first to Vatican City, the Trevi Fountain and then onto the Coliseum. Vatican City is impressive and ostentatious. It has not surprisingly one of the most amazing museums that I’ve been in, complete with Greek statues that have been gelded and some truly beautiful (and enormous) tapestries. Still it all pales in comparison with Michelangelo’s art in the Sistine Chapel.
It is a funny thing that. In the Sistine Chapel people stand in awe, moving from panel to panel admiringly. There is a strong sense of spirit there. Michelangelo mixed strong faith with a dash of bawdiness and humour (both in my view a necessary part of spirit). By contrast in St. Peter’s there is more of a touristy atmosphere. People take snapshots while touching the cross and walk around laughing and joking and goggling at the iconography. This contrast reveals to me something about the difference between Religion and Spirituality.
As a side note, I was told by my tour guide that if there were libraries of forbidden books in the Vatican, they were hidden.
The Coliseum was big and beautiful. The tour guide used it as an example of how the Romans recycles and repurposed areas. It began as bread and circuses, moved on to become a shrine to the dead Christian Martyrs (and lions with indigestion) and now an archaeological wonder and tourist attraction.
Rome is definitely a city I would love to come back to. I love the architecture in Europe and how it combines a sense of scope, artistry and functionality. There is a legend that if you toss a coin into the Trevi fountain you will one day return. My coin made it in so we will see whether my road will one day lead back here.
Blessings, G

 

Click on images to see full-sized:

 

Inside the Vatican WallsInside the Vatican Walls

 

A Ceiling at the Vatican MuseumCeiling at the Vatican Museum

 

ColiseumColiseum

 

Inside the ColiseumInside the Coliseum