Tuesday, 6 October 2015

Rome Part 2!

Well this is part 2 of my journey to Rome! It covers our trip to the Vatican, the Mausoleum of Hadrian and a museum dedicated to Leonardo Da Vinci. Rome is an amazing city and there is so much to see. There is something for everyone and its really is simply beautiful. 

This is outside of the Vatican. Vatican City is actually a small country, the smallest in the world and was declared as such in 1929. Emperor Nero crucified St Peter after the great fire and it is suspected that his tomb lies beneath. Known as St Peters Basilica, the original construction began under Emperor Constantine in the 4th century. However, the current Basilica began construction in the 1500s. 

Much of the Vatican is made of stone and marble taken from the Colosseum. Back in the day the Colosseum wasn't protected like it is now, so many builders took bits from it to build other buildings. You can see the holes in the pillars of the Colloseum in the next post. As you can see the pillars of the Vatican are fabulous. They are huge and magnificent and decorated with gold. 

Mass is performed in the Vatican and looks amazing from up in the dome roof. A domed roof on a building indicates a place of worship. All of the churches have a domed roof and look very regal. 

For 7 euros you can climb the many many stairs to the top of the dome on the Vatican and look out onto the best view in Rome. It is absolutely breath taking so of course, we took a selfie! Also if you fancy going to Rome, The Vatican has free entry every last Sunday of the month and on World Tourism Day!  When in Rome....

This lovely building is Castel Sant'Angelo, aka Castle of the Holy Angel, aka Mausoleum of Hadrian. It was originally built in the 2nd Century by Emperor Hadrian and his family. It was later used as the Popes fortress when the Vatican was under attack. It is thought that Hadrian, his wife and their adopted son were buried there. 

In the 14th Century the building was converted into a castle and a secret tunnel was built linking the Vatican and the castle. This enabled the Pope of the time to escape to the castle if they were under attack. This was the case for Pope Clement Vll when he needed refuge from the siege of Charles V and the sacking of Rome. There is a lovely little cafe atop the castle for a nice cup of tea and a sit down. 

Now, I was stunned by Leonardo Da Vinci's Museum. It was brilliant. Da Vinci lived from 1452 until 1519. These are his books that he used to jot down his sketches or ideas for which he had many! He was famous for his art, science and his inventions. Some of my favourites are below. 

On the left is a wing. Leonardo was keenly interested in flight and the way the wings supported the body during flight. Therefore he studied birds and came up with a prototype wing that should support the human body. On the right is the very first bicycle. Its hard to imagine that he was coming up with these ideas years before they actually came into use. 

On the left here is Leonardos version of a tank. It was designed to move on a continuous caterpillar track just like the ones we have today. It was also designed to turn around whilst still moving. Genius! On the right is a very scary looking invention. It is actually a suit that is now known as a scuba diving suit. A person would wear this and tubes would be connected to both the suit and a bucket that would float on top of the water which would provide air. 

Da Vinci was fascinated by the human body and they way it worked. Throughout his life he conducted autopsies to discover the skeleton, muscles and organs. He found out not only how they all worked, but how they all fit together and what would happen if something started to fail. He learned how a fetus would grow in the womb and at what stages it would develop at. His work on anatomy has led to great discoveries and medical procedures that have been built upon today. 

The Ideal City. This idea came about after the plague killed off a third of Milans population. He wanted to prevent such a thing happening again so designed a city completely above ground with higher and lower levels. It also had wider streets and canals for sewage to prevent the passing on of disease. It would only consist of elegant buildings. Although this idea was sound, it could never happen due to the cost of rebuilding the entire city. 

The Vitruvian Man. This idea was designed in 1490. Da Vinci created this to show his understanding of the proportions of the human body. Each part of the body was a fraction of the whole body. Vitruvius was a Roman architect who shared the same ideas as Da Vinci. Both men thought that this principle should also apply when designing buildings. 

The most famous painting in the world. The Mona Lisa. Leonardo began painting in Florence 1503 and finally finished in 1517. It is thought to be the portrait of Lisa Gherardini, wife of Francesco Giocondo. The alternative name for the painting is La Giocondo. She is famous for being extremely unremarkable both in fashion and beauty. Leonardo made her smile the centre of the portrait and it is known as the Giocondos Smile. 
On the right is his own self portrait. 

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