Monday, January 4, 2016

Rome Part 2 and Vatican City

Hello everyone, we are doing awesome and would like to share more about our excellent trip to Rome. To start, below is a picture of Ara Pacis, an altar in Rome dedicated to the Roman goddess of peace, Pax. The monument was commissioned by the Roman Senate on July 4, 13 B.C., to honor the return of the Roman Emperor Augustus from 3 years in Hispania and Gaul. Restoration of Ara Pacis started in 1938 under Benito Mussolini, a Fascist ruler of Italy at the time. He built a protective building for the altar, in part of his attempt to build an "Ancient Roman Theme Park", to glorify Fascist Italy.
This is a picture of Altare Della Patria, commonly known as the Wedding Cake. The Wedding Cake is a monument built to honor Victor Emmanuel, the first king of a united Italy. It was designed by Giuseppe Sacconi in 1885, inaugurated in 1911, and finished in 1925. The structure is huge; 443 feet wide and 230 feet high. We were amazed by the utter scale of it. The base holds the Italian Unification museum.
We also went to a bunch of art museums, including the Capotiline Museums and the Galleria Borghese, where we saw the sculpture below. Some of you may recognize this sculpture, and it is one of our personal favorites. It is Bernini's David. Bernini was an Italian sculptor and architect in the 1600's, and was a leading figure in the Baroque style of art. Baroque art used very lifelike figures and showed the motion, for example David's muscle's flexing and him about to fire the slingshot.
We also went to Vatican City, the smallest country in the world where the Catholic Pope lives. We took an amazing tour, and saw many amazing sights. The most notable of these would probably be the Sistene Chapel, painted by Michelangelo. Since we were not allowed to take any pictures, we can't post one but I highly recommend you look it up. It gets it's name from Pope Sixtus IV, who restored it in 1480. The picture below is of St. Peter's Square, named for St. Peter's Basilica in the center, which is named after St. Peter, the first Pope. The dome in St. Peter's Basilica was redesigned by Michelangelo in 1547. He constructed it using 2 shells of bricks for support. St. Peter's Basilica is the largest church in the world.
In addition to the dome, Michelangelo designed a sculpture inside St. Peter's Basilica, called the Pieta. The sculpture is of Mary holding Jesus after he died. Michelangelo used a variety of techniques here. He made Mary a lot bigger than realisticly possible, in order for Jesus to be sprawled across her lap. Michelangelo also made his Pieta out of marble, rather than wood, unlike most earlier versions. In addition, Mary's face is youthful, though sorrowful, representing the youth and eternal life of God.
We had an awesome time in Italy and would say that this adventure was EXCELLENT!

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