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Rome – A Visual, Spiritual,
Emotional & Intellectual Treat
|by Suresh Kalathil|
I am sometimes disposed to think that there indeed are a few things in which our generation enjoys greater advantages than our ancestors – that is the facility of travel. We are indeed today having the inestimable advantage of being able to travel so rapidly and with so less fatigue, visit countries which were much less accessible to our ancestors. It is indeed a blessing to enjoy the sights, sounds and smells of another country, enjoy the peace of the mountains and rivers, the lakes, the sites of castles and the cathedrals, to understand their history and their cultures…
Moving around the basilica we saw the Baptistery, the Chapel of the Virgin, the Clementine Chapel with the alter of St. Gregory, the altar of the Sacred Heart, the chapel of Madona, the alter of St. Peter etc. The basilica contains a large number of tombs of Popes and other notable people, many of which are outstanding artworks. The most significant of the sculptures was the statue of St. Mary of pieta, which was a marvelous piece of art by Michelangelo. It is a statue of Mother Mary holding the dying Christ on her lap. The serene face of Mary is really haunting. It signifies the belief that Mary knew that although Christ was dying, he was moving to eternal immortality!
Only when Sneha (my wife) drew near to the monument did it dawn on me she strangely appeared dwarfed by the scale of each painting or sculpture. Truly an overwhelming experience!!
From the fountain of Trevi, we walked to the imposing white marble monument called Vittoriano II. It was build by King Victor Emmanuel to commemorate his victory over the papal army in 1861 where Italy was united and proclaimed Kingdom. The monument is dedicated to the soldiers who sacrificed their lives for the victory. The monument is still guarded by the Italian ceremonial guards. The monument was designed by Giuseppe Sacconi. Construction of the monument began in 1885 and was inaugurated in 1911 to commemorate 50 years of unified Italy. The site on the Northern slope of the Capitaloline was cleared to make way for the monument but it is regretable that several relics, monuments and churches of the medieval Roman Empire was destroyed.
On the way towards the symbol of Roman Empire the infamous Coloseum, we got to see several ruins and relics of the Roman Empire. Though they were ruins, the huge pillars and the architecture spoke volumes about the grandeur and opulence of the times. We were particularly impressed by the Statue of Julius Cesar.
The Coloseum originally known as the Flavian Amphitheater is probably the most impressive building of the Roman Empire. Though the monument has fallen into ruins, but even today it is an imposing and beautiful site.
That ended our tryst with this historic and yet bustling metropolis the Capital city of the Modern Italy. It was a truly a visual, spiritual, emotional and intellectual treat – a memorable experience!!
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