Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Day Six: Wednesday

We headed off bright and early as Kaden decided to get up at 6:30, toward San Clemente. Saint Clement was the 4th Pope and was martyred by being tied to an anchor and drowned.
We knew going in that it was going to be the furthest distance we’d walked up till that point (it is a few streets beyond the Colloseum), but decided against taking a bus because it was so early and the basilica didn’t open until 9:00.

Though every step we took hurt, we finally made it! We wanted to check out this particular church because it is a 12th century church at street level (built around 1100), built on top of a 2nd century Roman pagan temple dedicated to Mithras. Mithrasism was an all-male cult that came from Persia to Rome in the 1st century BC and was a rival to Christianity. This particular temple was used for rituals and initiation as well as an apartment complex for the members.
Beneath the basilica and among the ancient temple ruins, there is a small catacomb from the 5th or 6th century. Kaden didn’t really like that part, but was otherwise perfectly fine running through the dimly-lit ruins otherwise. I have to admit that even I was freaked out and would not have wanted to be stuck down there alone, that’s for sure.

Kaden has an odd fixation with these disgusting creatures.
The front gate to get into San Clemente.
This was beneath the church. We weren't supposed to take pictures, so we didn't have flash for the rest of these. Sorry they are so blurry. You get the idea though.

See the guy who is holding the book? His ring had an actually gem stone in it. Ruby maybe? It was a really cool addition to the mosaic.

Extremely narrow passageways... maybe 3-4 inches of space on either side of my shoulders.

This is the small catacomb. Eerie. Kaden didn't like it one bit (intuition?)

We got to pass the Colloseum again and have therefore officially walked all the way around it. We then figured, since we’d walked so far already, we might as well keep going and headed to Circus Maximus. It now is basically just a huge, long, sloping football field with what looks like a track in the middle. However, it used to be Rome’s largest stadium. It could hold 300,000 spectators for chariot races, athletic events, and wild animal fights. I found it fascinating, as we sat on the wall letting Kaden sleep, that it is still used by Roman athletes who were jogging or walking throughout the area.

Circus Maximus.

Kaden was not as impressed with it as I was.

We made our way through the hills of the forum/Capitol area and out onto the main street to head back to our hotel. We picked up some more fixin’s for lunch and then I took a shower again to relax my aching feet while Stu rested (he’d been suffering from a sinus cold… wear a jacket in Rome) and Kaden hopped between nibbling on his lunch to talking to the crowds below the window, to playing with his toys.

We headed out for another walk in the late afternoon just to get out of our hotel room, but with the intention of not going too far because our feet were still so sore. We tried to go to a pasta museum, but once we found it, discovered it was closed for now. Lame. So we walked all around the cobblestone alleys of the Quirinal area of town (nearest to our hotel) and got some gelato from yet another gelato shop in town. By the time we left, we were able to provide a fairly comprehensive review of the gelato shops of Rome. Hehe. We also scouted out some potential pizzarias for dinner and then headed back to the hotel because Kaden had fallen asleep in his stroller. We ducked into another small Baroque-style church right beside the Trevi. It was quaint and lovely, but of course not nearly as grand as many we’d seen.

We walked down to what looked like a pretty promising pizzeria a few blocks from our room and got their special which came with Suppli, pizza and a drink. It was a fail. Even Kaden wouldn’t eat more than a single bite of the pizza and the best I could say about it was that the Coke was good (and it really was good). So unfortunately, not all of Rome’s cuisine leaves the palate begging for more. We walked around a bit more afterwards and then stopped into the grocery store for picnic stuff to take with us to the Vatican in the morning.

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