John Edward Cooper’s Notes

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Monday 12 May 2014

[Sunday 11 May 2014]

Hotel Milton Roma, Via Emanuele Filiberto 155, 00185 Rome
DAY 2
Rome is without doubt one of the most captivating cities in the world, where ancient and modern blend perfectly. This morning the coach will take you on a sightseeing tour during which you will see many of the principal sights and monuments. Probably nowhere else on earth can you take account of so much history in such a small area. It owes its grandeur obviously to the Roman Empire, which held sway over much of the globe for nearly 500 years, and then to the Papacy which, for a large part of its existence, held as much political influence as religious. The tour will last approximately two hours and will end after a stroll in the famous Piazza Navona.
During your stay in Rome, you will have the option of a tour to the Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel. Your Tour Manager will give you details about the arrangements on arrival. The cost of this optional varies between €34,00 and €36,00, depending on the number of participants, and requires a minimum number to operate. Please be advised that this tour is optional and is to be paid locally in Euros.
Please note: the Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel close at 6 pm but the last entrance is at 4pm; they are closed on Sundays except for the last Sunday of each month.

Day 132 Judges 18-19; 2 Peter 2
Janet doesn’t like sleeping with windows shut, but with them open the traffic noise was intrusive till very late, and started again very early. With the double-glazed windows tightly shut there was barely any sound. Anyway, the former situation prevailed and it was perhaps 5am when I became aware of trams rumbling by with their wheels screeching in protest at the tight curve of the track. I wasn’t conscious of much else, though. (Oh, there was a chorus of birdsong.) Janet got up somewhat before 7am, and I followed when she vacated the bathroom. I thought our shower cubicle at home was small till I stepped into this one. The bottom of the shower was ridged to prevent one from slipping, and a few weeks ago it would have given me too much pain to stand on; so it’s a measure of how the inflammation of the feet has subsided, that I didn’t have any problem at all. Replaced the dressings on both elbows and feet. We went down for breakfast, which was quite a comprehensive buffet. Most of the tables were taken. If every hotel room were booked, and everyone came for breakfast at the same time, it would be impossible. I had some rather dilute orange juice; corn flakes; micro-thin-sliced bacon (but bacon nonetheless — hurrah!), “sausage” (cocktail sausage-type, not “proper” sausage) and slices of potato fried; some slices I cut from a loaf of rather coarse bread; and coffee. We went out at the scheduled 8.50am and waited, and waited. The junction was filled and completely grid-locked with vehicles, with no-one prepared to give way. Someone “official”-looking came and blew a whistle and waved his arms about, and temporarily seemed to ease the situation, before he cleared off. So it’s little wonder that the coach didn’t show up till getting on for 9.30am.



Monday 12 May 2014 — 08:57:54
Traffic jam outside the hotel


Monday 12 May 2014 — 09:07:18
Traffic jam outside the hotel

Realised when I was taking the first photos that the timings were still one hour out, for the camera time hadn’t been adjusted since before GMT became BST, so the time should have been advanced two hours not one. So I advanced the time shown on my camera a further hour.


Monday 12 May 2014 — 09:37:42
Views from the coach: Stuck in the same traffic jam


Monday 12 May 2014 — 09:48:32
Views from the coach: Ruins of an aqueduct

It took ca.20 minutes to stop, wait, start, creep forward, stop, wait, start, creep forward the 200 metres or so southwards along Via Emanuele Filiberto to the first turn on the right. After that, we began to make a little more progress in our tour of some of the city sights. As well as Lucy the tour manager being on board, we had with us an Italian guide Daniella, who pointed out features as we passed them.


Monday 12 May 2014 — 09:50:24
Views from the coach: About to turn right — ruins of the same aqueduct


Monday 12 May 2014 — 09:55:38
Views from the coach: East façade of the Basilica of San Giovanni in Laterano


Monday 12 May 2014 — 09:59:22
Views from the coach: Obelisk, and Baptistery of San Giovanni in Laterano


Monday 12 May 2014 — 10:00:06
Views from the coach: Obelisk, and north façade of the Basilica of San Giovanni in Laterano


Monday 12 May 2014 — 10:02:40
Views from the coach: City wall


Monday 12 May 2014 — 10:02:48
Views from the coach: City wall


Monday 12 May 2014 — 10:03:58
Views from the coach: Terme di Caracalla (“Baths of Caracalla”)


Monday 12 May 2014 — 10:04:48
Views from the coach: Terme di Caracalla (“Baths of Caracalla”)


Monday 12 May 2014 — 10:10:06
Views from the coach: Ruins on the Palatine Hill behind Circus Maximus


Monday 12 May 2014 — 10:10:22
Views from the coach: Ruins on the Palatine Hill behind Circus Maximus


Monday 12 May 2014 — 10:12:58
Views from the coach: Bocca della Verità (“the Mouth of Truth”)


Monday 12 May 2014 — 10:13:32
Views from the coach: Circular temple in the Forum Boarium


Monday 12 May 2014 — 10:13:38
Views from the coach: Rectangular temple in the Forum Boarium


Monday 12 May 2014 — 10:14:50
Views from the coach: Theatre of Marcellus


Monday 12 May 2014 — 10:14:58
Views from the coach: Theatre of Marcellus and columns of the Temple of Apollo Sosianus


Monday 12 May 2014 — 10:16:58
Views from the coach: Basilica of Santa Maria in Aracoeli (left) and the Capitoline Hill cordonata (right)


Monday 12 May 2014 — 10:17:06
Views from the coach: Façade of the Basilica of Santa Maria in Aracoeli with its monumental staircase


Monday 12 May 2014 — 10:17:18
Views from the coach: Ruins at the base of the Capitoline Hill


Monday 12 May 2014 — 10:18:14
Views from the coach: National Monument to Victor Emmanuel II


Monday 12 May 2014 — 10:18:32
Views from the coach: Palazzo Venezia


Monday 12 May 2014 — 10:25:26
Views from the coach: Church of Santa Maria della Vittoria


Monday 12 May 2014 — 10:25:32
Views from the coach: Fountain of Moses

Not long after we passed by the very long south-east side of the Quirinal Palace, the official residence of the President of the Italian Republic, the coach stopped and we got out. Indeed, as we were led along, making our way to the Trevi Fountain, we saw the opposite corner of the palace.


Monday 12 May 2014 — 10:36:20
North-west corner of the Quirinal Palace


Monday 12 May 2014 — 10:37:20
Via del Lavatore

The fountain had been shut off and drained for cleaning and maintenance.


Monday 12 May 2014 — 10:40:42
Trevi Fountain


Monday 12 May 2014 — 10:40:54
Trevi Fountain


Monday 12 May 2014 — 10:41:04
Trevi Fountain: shut off for cleaning


Monday 12 May 2014 — 10:44:38
Trevi Fountain

The story goes that thirsty Roman soldiers were guided by a young girl to a source of pure water a few miles from the city of Rome.


Monday 12 May 2014 — 10:44:46
Trevi Fountain

The discovery of the source led Augustus to commission the construction of an aqueduct leading into the city, which was named Aqua Virgo (“Virgin Water”), in honour of the young girl.


Monday 12 May 2014 — 10:44:54
Trevi Fountain


Monday 12 May 2014 — 10:45:12
Trevi Fountain


Monday 12 May 2014 — 10:46:36
Trevi Fountain

We were given some time for refreshments, and Janet and I went in a gelateria/pizzeria on the west side of Piazza di Trevi for a drink and a pee. Then we were led to visit the Temple of Hadrian, with foundations below present-day street level because of flooding of the Tiber and deposition of silt; then the Pantheon, perhaps my favourite building of all; then Piazza Navona and the Fountain of the Four Rivers. There we were given time for lunch.


Monday 12 May 2014 — 11:25:08
Via di Pietra


Monday 12 May 2014 — 11:27:26
Temple of Hadrian


Monday 12 May 2014 — 11:28:26
Temple of Hadrian


Monday 12 May 2014 — 11:30:24
Temple of Hadrian


Monday 12 May 2014 — 11:33:48
Model of the Temple of Hadrian


Monday 12 May 2014 — 11:38:14
Pantheon, viewed from the Piazza della Rotonda


Monday 12 May 2014 — 11:38:52
Fontana del Pantheon, with an Egyptian obelisk, in the Piazza della Rotonda


Monday 12 May 2014 — 11:41:34 and later


Monday 12 May 2014 — 11:45:16
Pantheon


Monday 12 May 2014 — 11:49:50
Pantheon


Monday 12 May 2014 — 11:50:36
Pantheon


Monday 12 May 2014 — 11:50:50
Pantheon


Monday 12 May 2014 — 11:51:52
Pantheon: Tomb of Victor Emmanuel II, first king of a unified Italy — Vittorio Emanuele Padre della Patria


Monday 12 May 2014 — 11:52:20
Pantheon: Tomb of Umberto I, successor to Victor Emmanuel II


Monday 12 May 2014 — 11:52:42
Pantheon: Tomb of Raphael


Monday 12 May 2014 — 11:55:38
Pantheon: Tomb of Raphael


Monday 12 May 2014 — 11:59:24
Pantheon: One of the two ancient bronze doors


Monday 12 May 2014 — 12:03:46
Rear of the Palazzo Madama, seat of the Italian Senate


Monday 12 May 2014 — 12:06:22
Façade of the Palazzo Madama, home of the Senate of the Italian Republic




Monday 12 May 2014 — 12:11:24
Fountain of the Four Rivers in Piazza Navona — movie screen-capture


Monday 12 May 2014 — 12:15:24
Dove with an olive twig, family emblem of Pope Innocent X, surmounting the obelisk in the centre of the fountain

We found a tiny “Snack Bar” on a corner of the street just west of Piazza Navona. They had large rectangular pizzas on display in a glass cabinet, and I had a piece. “Spicy?” the counter assistant asked — and it was, because it had chilli-pepper seeds in the topping. I enjoyed it. That, and a Coca Cola Light, and a “Slam” (the Pepsi equivalent of Fanta in Italy), came to only €6.


Monday 12 May 2014 — 12:24:30
Lunch at “Snack Bar Roma Lazio”

The party met up, as arranged, on the east side of the fountain, and walked the fairly short distance north to the Tiber to board the coach ( or “a” coach; I don’t think it was the same one) to go to the Vatican Museums, stopping on the way to look at all that remains of the arcade of the Stadium of Domitian, the shape of which Piazza Navona has retained. Those who had not opted for the €36 per person guided tour of the Vatican Museums had other pickup arrangements.


Monday 12 May 2014 — 13:01:48
Fountain of Neptune at the northern end of Piazza Navona


Monday 12 May 2014 — 13:04:54
Remains of the lower arcade of the Stadium of Domitian


Monday 12 May 2014 — 13:05:14
Remains of the lower arcade of the Stadium of Domitian


Monday 12 May 2014 — 13:05:56
Remains of the lower arcade of the Stadium of Domitian


Monday 12 May 2014 — 13:06:58
Remains of the lower arcade of the Stadium of Domitian

The coach went “clockwise” round the Vatican City walls and we got out on the north side, where in addition to the radios we’d been issued with already for the guided Riviera activities, we received radios for the Vatican Museums. We used the earpieces from the Riviera radios. Because we were in a pre-booked party we didn’t have to wait to enter. There was an entrance hall with toilets (so I’ve been saying since then that I’ve something in common with “Papa Francesco”: we have both crapped in the Vatican). Then we went up flights of stairs and out onto an upper terrace overlooking the Vatican Gardens, with a view of the dome of St. Peter’s. There were crowds of visitors behind the fence that encircled the top of the dome. Then we went through the building and out into the Court of the Pine, named after the huge bronze pine-cone that tops a fountain there. At the south-west corner of this there was a large board with illustrations from the Sistine Gallery, and Daniella took us there to explain what we would see in the Sistine Chapel, before we proceeded through a number of galleries — e.g. Gallery of the Statues, Gallery of the Busts, Gallery of the Tapestries, the Gallery of Maps… in all of which the richly decorated vaulted ceilings, supporting pillars and walls were themselves something to behold, let alone the exhibits — and on to the Sistine Chapel itself.


Monday 12 May 2014 — 13:23:48
View from the coach: St. Peter’s Basilica


Monday 12 May 2014 — 13:39:12
Vatican City wall and entrance to the Vatican Museums


Monday 12 May 2014 — 14:09:12
Copy of Augustus of Prima Porta, painted in the theorised original colours, seen shortly after entering the museum


Monday 12 May 2014 — 14:10:12
Vatican Museums


Monday 12 May 2014 — 14:16:18
Model of Vatican City


Monday 12 May 2014 — 14:16:18
Model of Vatican City — detail 1


Monday 12 May 2014 — 14:16:18
Model of Vatican City — detail 2


Monday 12 May 2014 — 14:16:18
Model of Vatican City — detail 3


Monday 12 May 2014 — 14:20:58
Dome of St. Peter’s seen from the terrace overlooking the Giardino Quadrato


Monday 12 May 2014 — 14:20:58
Dome of St. Peter’s — detail


Monday 12 May 2014 — 14:21:16
Visitors to the top of the Dome of St. Peter’s


Monday 12 May 2014 — 14:28:04
Cortile della Pigna


Monday 12 May 2014 — 14:28:04
Cortile della Pigna — detail: the 1st-century bronze Pigna (“pine cone”)


Monday 12 May 2014 — 14:28:18
Bronze “Sphere Within Sphere” by Arnaldo Pomodoro in the Cortile della Pigna


Monday 12 May 2014 — 14:28:50
Wing of the Vatican Library forming the south end of the Cortile della Pigna


Monday 12 May 2014 — 14:28:50
South end of the Cortile della Pigna — detail


Monday 12 May 2014 — 14:30:20
North end of the Cortile della Pigna


Monday 12 May 2014 — 14:30:20
North end of the Cortile della Pigna — detail


Monday 12 May 2014 — 14:57:02
Ornate ceilings of the Vatican galleries


Monday 12 May 2014 — 14:57:48
Diana the Huntress (centre)


Monday 12 May 2014 — 14:58:20
Artemis of Ephesus (centre)


Monday 12 May 2014 — 15:01:58
The Gallery of Tapestries


Monday 12 May 2014 — 15:02:58
The Ascension of Christ


Monday 12 May 2014 — 15:04:34
The Massacre of the Innocents


Monday 12 May 2014 — 15:05:40
The Resurrection of Christ


Monday 12 May 2014 — 15:06:12
The Supper at Emmaus


Monday 12 May 2014 — 15:08:52
The Gallery of Maps


Monday 12 May 2014 — 15:10:24
The Gallery of Maps: Ceiling


Monday 12 May 2014 — 15:13:54
The Gallery of Maps


Monday 12 May 2014 — 15:14:20
The Gallery of Maps


Monday 12 May 2014 — 15:15:00
The Gallery of Maps


Monday 12 May 2014 — 15:15:44
The Gallery of Maps: How the obelisks were transported from Egypt


Monday 12 May 2014 — 15:17:46
Rooms on the way to the Sistine Chapel


Monday 12 May 2014 — 15:17:58
Rooms on the way to the Sistine Chapel


Monday 12 May 2014 — 15:18:16
Rooms on the way to the Sistine Chapel


Monday 12 May 2014 — 15:18:50
Rooms on the way to the Sistine Chapel


Monday 12 May 2014 — 15:20:04
Rooms on the way to the Sistine Chapel

Photography wasn’t allowed in the Sistine Chapel. I gave Janet my Tetley hat to put in her bag, to save me carrying it as well as the folding stool and stick. After several minutes of looking at the scenes depicted on the walls, the various sections of the ceiling painting, and the Last Judgment at one end, I’d become separated from Janet and indeed from anyone I recognised either by sight or by their having two radios. There were hundreds and hundreds of other people all milling around. Daniella’s practice was to hold aloft a telescopic pointer with a bright orange ribbon tied at the top, but I couldn’t see that either. What’s more, there was nothing coming through the poor-at-the-best-of-times Vatican-supplied radio. I was aware that our party was going to leave the Vatican Museums by a different way from the rest, in order to go into the Basilica of St. Peter, but I couldn’t remember at what point that was supposed to happen. After what seemed a long while I felt sure that our people must have moved off. Not “sure”: perhaps I should say, I was full of doubt whether our people were still there. Then I thought I saw a bright orange ribbon; and that was in the direction of people moving out, being “directed” in a rather confusing circular manner by Vatican staff. And that’s how I found myself at the start of a long series of several contiguous galleries, passing and being passed by no-one I recognised. I walked to the end of all the galleries, finding that the exit was there. And as I say, I was aware that we were supposed to be exiting separately from everyone else. So I walked the whole way back to the little rooms that had followed on from the Sistine Chapel. And then there was nothing for it but to amble to the exit again. The exhibits in the galleries would have been interesting if I’d had the heart to linger and look at them. There was, e.g. a gallery of papyri. These were written, not in columns side by side as in a Biblical manuscript, but in one long column. The exit itself was a huge, broad, spiral staircase.[i]


Monday 12 May 2014 — 15:40:26
After the Sistine Chapel: Gallery after gallery of exhibits


Monday 12 May 2014 — 16:08:38
Spiral stairs on the way out

Before the final door out there was an office on the left side with a hatch where one handed in radios, but being one of a party I was directed outside. I saw the guy out there, who gave me a receipt for it. I sat on the tripod stool and waited for ½-hour from ca.4.15pm in case our party should come out from there. I thought perhaps the radios would be handed back to the people who issued them. Across the road from the entrance arch of “Musei Vaticani” was the Caffè Vaticano, with five openings and over them five canvas awnings with overhangs on which words were painted. On the last two were “breakfast” — and “launch” [sic] ! At ca.4.45pm I set off, initially skirting the Vatican City wall till I got to Piazza Pio XII (17:01).


Monday 12 May 2014 — 16:58:48
Guard at the Via Sant’ Anna entrance to Vatican City




Monday 12 May 2014 — 17:01:36
Last view of the Vatican — screen-capture from movie

I proceeded along Via della Conciliazione, towards the end of which, to the right, I saw a bridge across the Tiber, which I crossed (17:10).


Monday 12 May 2014 — 17:10:52
Crossing the Tiber

The road ahead, along which I went, was Corso Vittorio Emanuele II. On a corner farther along I saw a street-map, which relieved my mind somewhat because it confirmed I was on the right road, the most direct route, in fact. A bit farther along, I saw a guy (who proved to be an American) looking at a paper street-map, so I asked if I might have a look at it. That was perhaps at Largo di Torre Argentina, opposite the Area Sacra.


Monday 12 May 2014 — 17:35:58
National Monument to Victor Emmanuel II

When I came to Piazza Venezia, with the Monument to Vittorio Emanuele over to the right (17:35), I should have turned right and skirted it to its left-hand side, but I carried straight on because the way looked more accessible for walking.


Monday 12 May 2014 — 17:43:10
Trajan’s Column

So it was that I approached Trajan’s Column from the east side (17:43) and turned left along Via Alessandrina, passing the Forum of Trajan (17:44–17:46) to my left then the Basilica of Maxentius and Constantine to my right (17:49).


Monday 12 May 2014 — 17:44:28
Forum of Trajan


Monday 12 May 2014 — 17:44:46
Forum of Trajan


Monday 12 May 2014 — 17:46:00
Forum of Trajan


Monday 12 May 2014 — 17:49:56
Basilica of Maxentius and Constantine

I continued that way, now on the earlier-missed Via dei Fori Imperiali. I was on the left side of the road, and when the sidewalk ended, blocked by construction works, it seemed less risky to walk on the road facing oncoming traffic rather than try to cross over.


Monday 12 May 2014 — 17:54:26
Colosseum

I approached the Colosseum (17:54), and passed it by (17:56).[ii] I was slightly in doubt which way ahead to take, then I remembered the gladiatorial school, and went along the road having that to the right. The buildings alongside became familiar then from yesterday’s walk, and I arrived back at the hotel ca.6.15pm. On the last leg of the journey, as I passed trees on my right in Viale Alessandro Manzoni, I heard thrush- or robin-like song in them. I knew it was neither of these birds, so I took it to be a nightingale. I heard one in Berlin, and there’s one in Respighi’s Pines of the Janiculum. Delightful! And wheeling above there were swifts with their characteristic cry. The walk had taken 1½ hours, so reckoning @ 4mi/hr that would be 6 miles. I saw Lucy outside as I approached, but whether she went inside with news of seeing me, or just went inside, I don’t know. Janet burst into tears when I entered, exclaiming that she thought she’d lost me forever. My chief preoccupation in the last stages of the walk was to get upstairs to our room and have a pee, but that took second place on arrival to explaining what had happened and what I’d done. My feet were a bit sore so I sat — or did I lie? — down for a bit in the room to recover. For dinner, Janet wanted to explore the road down to the Colosseum. I didn’t feel too hopeful, because I hadn’t noticed anywhere particularly suitable-looking on my march along it in the other direction earlier. Anyway, ca.7.30pm we set out. We were in fact nearing the Colosseum, and I thought we’d have more success if we were to cross the road and turn left down the last road before the Colosseum (Via dei Normanni). This we did, and on the next street corner we found “Trattoria Pizzeria ‘Luzzi’”, which was almost full, both under the awning in the street and within. Anyway, there was a small table found for us near the door. I had a spicy salami pizza and Janet had the same as yesterday evening (only it was very much cheaper here). I had two beers and Janet a Coca Cola Light. There was bread too: crusty and fairly dense, but fresh, unlike yesterday’s. Fully satisfied, we said we’d return. On the way there, we’d noticed a small convenience store with bigger bottles than those at the one we went to yesterday; so on the way back we visited it and bought Diet Coke and Schweppes cloudy lemonade. Copied the photos from Janet’s camera (21:06) and the photos and movies from mine (21:10–21:16). Using Windows Movie Maker, compiled movies from the ones of the Pantheon (saved, 21:35–21:39), Piazza Navona (22:11–22:14), and the view towards St. Peter’s (22:23–22:24). We both went to bed then. Janet intended to be up early tomorrow for her “pig-out day”.

[i] According to Janet: “I went in with [John] and he gave me his Tetley hat and I put it in my bag. Then he ‘got lost’. Lucy and Daniella did all they could to try and find him but in the end we all had to leave and head off to St. Peter’s. Again, we didn’t have to queue. I was in a bit of a state (and weeping) by this time and wondered whether to go in, but a kind couple on our tour asked me to go in with them so I donned my babushka and in we went. Glad I did because, temporarily, I felt better and was distracted. I did my best to take photos with my camera — hope some are OK. Ha! A beautiful huge place.


Monday 12 May 2014 — 16:27:06


Monday 12 May 2014 — 16:28:58


Monday 12 May 2014 — 16:29:24


Monday 12 May 2014 — 16:29:58


Monday 12 May 2014 — 16:32:56


Monday 12 May 2014 — 16:42:36


Monday 12 May 2014 — 16:46:56


Monday 12 May 2014 — 16:47:20


Monday 12 May 2014 — 16:54:34


Monday 12 May 2014 — 16:58:12


Monday 12 May 2014 — 17:04:56

“When we emerged Lucy told me [John] hadn’t returned to the hotel — but it would take him a while to get there… Folk were very kind. Back at the hotel — no John — and by this time I really was in distress. Lucy did everything possible to locate him — and then he stumped up.…”

[ii] Where did I get “17:56” from? Did I take a photo timed as “17:56” then subsequently delete it?

[Tuesday 13 May 2014]



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