We went out today for another day of sightseeing. This time we went to the Caelian Hill where there is a lot to see in a small area. We started out with the Baths of Caracalla. The baths cover an amazing 33 acres, and contained a library, a gymnasium, and a swimming pool . They were built in 216 AD and were supplied with water by the Marcian Aqueduct over 90 kilometers away. Here is a shot of the baths.
Not much of the original grandeur is still visible today but this intricate mosaic work is.
This is a piece of mosaic from the second floor which caved in. It shows a charioteer and his team.
This would be the equivalent of a jacuzzi today. It was a shallow pool that had a fountain in the middle creating a stream of moving water.
After we left the baths we walked along this pleasant street to our next destination.
Unfortunately our next destination was being occupied by a couple getting married, so on we marched once again.
This time we came to the Villa Celimontana. Contrary to thought, this wasn't an ancient Roman villa. It was created in the 1530's for the wealthy Mattei family. Here is a picture of the gateway.
The gardens inside are typical of Italian gardens, all laid out in geometric patterns. Here is a little path which leads to a large urn.
Two pillars, one of wood, one of marble.
This little area had steps leading up to a terrace.
After we left the Villa we went down the street, pausing at this GEN-YOU-WHINE Ferrari for Andrew and Augustin to have thier picture taken.
The next church we visited was Santa Maria in Domnica. This basilica was originally built in the 7th century but was restored and improved by Pope Paschal I in 822.
The church had a great theme..the Litany of Loreto. There were frescoes along the wall, and the ceiling was sculpted with various representations of Our Lady's titles. See how many you can make out. Ark of the Covenant? Tower of Ivory? Mystical Rose? Seat of Wisdom? Vessel of Honor?
Then we went to the church of Santo Stefano in Rotondo. It was finished in 483 and is completely round.
In the 16th century Pope Gregory XIII commissioned 34 frescoes to adorn the walls of the church. Here is one of the 34, showing the martyrdom of St. Ignatius of Anticoh. Each scene contains a frescoe illustrating the martyrdom of a saint, along with a plaque containing a description and appropriate Scriptural verses.
Here are mom and Philly admiring the church.
This is the papal chair of Pope Gregory the Great.
And here is part of the ancient floor which has long since collapses and been replaced.
The railing around the altar is decorated with various images of St. Stephen's life and death. Here is his martyrdom. Notice St. Paul in the foreground holding the cloaks of the Jews.
Our final stop of the day was the church of Sts. John and Paul. These men were Roman soldiers who were Christians, and were martyred under Julian the Apostate in 362. Later, a church was built over their home.
Here is the interior of the church. The chandeliers were pretty impressive, as was the coffered ceiling. Under the altar is a porphyry reliquary containing the soldiers' relics.
The whole floor is done with this Cosmatesque style mosaic.
Recognize this famous painting?
And here's the incorrupt body of St. John of the Cross.
Just as we were about to leave a small orchestra and chorous came in and performed various pieces including Vivaldi's Gloria which was a great way to end a great day.