Doing Rome

Some snapshots with echoes from ancient and recent pasts. Read the “2000 year old echoes” post to get the story in words :-)


2000 year old Echoes

Taking a stroll in the ruins of Pompeii was… I don’t know… using a little bit of imagination, it felt kind of like taking a time travel about 2000 years back in time. We walked the streets, checked out local brothels and bakeries and enjoyed the sun shine on marble stones embedded in the streets. The bright white stones also reflect the moonlight, making it easy to follow the main roads in night-time. It must still be a beautiful sight, like watching the reflection of a sparkly night sky.

As we walked through the city, we noticed that wheels from horse carriages that used to fill the streets had left permanent marks in them. We were taken away by mosaic floors with the warning “be aware of the dog” (in latin) and amazingly well preserved frescos depicting sexual activity. The guide told us that 32 bakeries and 24 brothels were discovered in the excavations of Pompeii (roughly 35% of the city is still covered, though). Lars comment was: “Jaha, så det var tydeligvis såvidt litt viktigere med brød enn med morrabrød…” I won’t even try to translate that one…

After the eruption of a volcano close by the Vesuvius (Vesuvius was evidently formed during this eruption), the city of Pompeii was completely covered by volcanic stone and ashes. Along with the buildings, about 2000 of the 20-30 000 people residing there, cats, dogs and other animals were buried alive. They all had roughly three days to get out, but for some reason they didn’t. The cavities and the bones left after the decay of the bodies were so well preserved, that complete plaster casts were made at the discovery. Seeing the shape of humans, like 2000 year old echoes of their dying moments, made a profound impression somewhere in me.

The echo of a teenage boy:

The site was discovered by accident in 1749 (read more here) and is really well worth the three hour drive from Rome. I’ll add a picture gallery in a short while…


Today we passed Pantheon again. A walk around the Pantheon is also a nice experience. I have tried to capture some of the details here.


Some of the local inhabitants waiting for their salvation at Piazza San Pietro. Or maybe they just wants some breadcrumbs.


(2/2) The visit to Pantheon was downright magnificent. Be sure to drop by if you visit Rome. In need of unwinding after a full day of grandeur, we relaxed at a café called Bar del Fico, where old men were playing chess beneath a tall fig tree. Nice :-)

~ Guri

(1/2) To get to the Pantheon we walked a route leading us by the Castel Sant’ Angelo which originally was built to hold the remains of the emperor Hadrian in 139 AD. It now appears as a fortified bastion which among other things served as the popes retreat site way back when (the mid-16th century I think)… We went through a bunch of charming alleys to get to the Piazza Navona and shortly thereafter, the Pantheon…

~ Guri

The Pantheon

Headed down to the Pantheon which was amazing. The dome is the largest arched construction of its kind, concrete that is, in the world. With a diameter of 43.3 m it’s even bigger than the dome of Saint Peter’s Basilica. In other words… it’s pretty frekkin impressive! The structure as seen today was completed between 118 and 125 A.D., during the reign of Hadrian.

We relaxed at several cafés and did some window shopping in the sun. Got my eyes set on two pairs of Italian shoes, a belt and a purse. Probably not going to be able to leave them behind ;-) A perfect day. Booked a guided tour in the Vatican city for tomorrow. Really looking forward to that! 

~ Guri

Our second day in Rome is a Monday. Sleeping a while, and a later breakfast than usual. This is the whole point with this trip. Take it easy, but still discover the eternal city. After all, the city is eternal, and I guess it will still be around for the next ten days.

Today we have had cappuccino, some foccachia/pannini thing for lunch, and chestnuts and beer for second lunch. Guri and I were crazy, and enjoyed a Peroni beer each in the Piazza San Pietro. We had dinner in a restaurant that gave a poor first impression. Luckily, the food totally outclassed our expectations. Even the service was good, in a nice and clumsy Italian way (as compared to the Norwegian stiff service style). A nice day.

~ Lars

We spent the daylight hours walking to the St Peters Square and relaxing in the sun. A lot of impressions and enjoying Berninis work (read about him here if you want) resulted in a heap-load of pictures… I won’t be boring you with too many - google will give you plenty that are better than mine if you are interested - and I bet Lars will post some too ;-)

Had to include the one showing of the saints in an arch… During Johannes Paulus II (or Karol Wojtyla) more people were given status as saints than during the 17 popes that went before him - IN ALL! Now, there’s one guy that knew his PR…! 

~ Guri

That does it, we’re gonna stay… ;-) We’re gonna drive around in a little yellow fiat and drink a lot of wine in our scruffy castle! Wanna come?