Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Cultural Week Day 2

Well another full and fun day was had by all today. Taking advantage of the beautiful weather we rode the metro across the Tiber River to Castel Sant' Angelo. However no day of sightseeing can start off right unless coffee and pastries help. So here we are getting prepped for the day ahead.

And according to mom, no day of sightseeing can start off right unless you first pass through the outdoor market and buy some scarves and a sweater.

But finally we arrived at our destination, the magnificent and maze-like Castel Sant' Angelo. The castel was built over the tomb of the Emperor Hadrian, which was built in 139. The purpose of the castle was to serve as the fortress for the Pope in troubled times. Today it is a museum. It is a circular fortress with four bastions, named after the four evangelists.

Here is the smiling gang on the second level of the castle. There are two bridges crossing the Tiber in the background.

This picture shows you the bridge that connects the Vatican with the castle. When the Pope needed a place of refuge, he could safely escape from the Vatican via this bridge, and end up in the castle. Amazing! Note the cannons and cannon balls on the bastion down below.

This is the breastplate of a Knight of Malta, which has to be one of the best things I saw today.

This is a picture of Augustin turning the crank of a huge war machine.

Next we went up to the terrace where this magnificent bronze statue of St. Michael is. This work was created by the Flemish sculptor Pieter Verschaffelt.

Andrew took this shot of me with St. Peter's in the distance.

It sure was windy up on the terrace! Mom and Alex enjoying the breeze.

Across the city you could see the cannon fire the shot at noon on the Janiculum Hill. (See the smoke?)

Here is a shot of a guard tower, a cannon, and a pyramid of stone cannon balls. The marble plaques on the wall are the gun crew numbers.

Here is a picture looking along the wall at one of the four bastions.

I really liked this picture because it shows the multiple layers of defense presented by the castle.

There was this profound wall insignia of the IHS on the wall above one of the doorways. Pretty neat eh?

After our visit to the Castle, we went to the church of Sant' Andrea della Valle. This church was completed in 1650. We really liked it because of its very "gold" interior.

Surrounding the altar are HUGE frescoes showing the martyrdom of St. Andrew the Apostle. This one shows his crucifixion, with an angel placing the crown of martyrdom on his head.

We then went home, but the "fun" was not yet over for the day. Here in Italy all the houses are built very securely to protect against thieves. They also often have very old lock mechanisms. Add these two things together and you get what we got, a lock that stripped out, so that when we tried to open the door, the key would not "grab" the old and worn down lock to turn it open. We soon found out that we needn't thieves would ever have been able to make it inside. We ended up having to call the landlord over, who tried unsuccessfully to open the door, and finally set me up with a jigsaw to cut a hole in the thinner garage door.

Once I had cut a hole in the door it was no trouble for Andrew to slip inside and open it up to let us in. .


Aggie said...

How come you couldn't put your hand up thru the hole to turn the door knob.

What a end to a long day. Sorry about your luck.

Glad to see my Canadian genes are finally rubbing off on you "Pretty neat eh"

Erika said...

Yeah, I'm with Aggie...why did he have to climb through instead of turning the lock...? But, I guess the door was finished as it was anyway. In which case, why didn't you just cut a huge hole in it and walk through it? Wacky people...

Otherwise, very cool day you had... Loved that Knight of Malta breastplate. As well as the fortress...

thanks so much for sharing your adventures with us!

Anthony said...

We couldn't have turned the lock because it was locked and they key had broken off a while back.

Debbie M. said...

Hey Anthony,
What a great recap of a wonderful day..we cannot wait to come visit! It will probably be next summer, as Matt our oldest, is heading to Greece with his senior class trip this summer..
I really enjoy your blog. It just amazes me what a typical day in Italy is like for you. Too bad dear old dad has to be at work all day and can't join you on these outings! But, hey, he and IBM are the reason you get to live there. HURRAH FOR THAT!!

Take care, all of you!! Hugs to your Mom too!

grandpop said...

Hello AJ. Thanks to you once again, not only do I get to chat with you but I see the magnificent pictures and rad the outstanding commentary you put on the blog. Everyone I talk to that have seen the bklog wish they were there, but you do such a realistic job with it they said it was just like being there. Ruth's sister and husband from OKC will be going to Rome this fall with their church group and they are making notations of all they want to see and do, another freind of Ruth's showed the pucture of the police car and "wanted one of those" so you see you are making an impact all over the country. Ruth thinks you should write a book and put it together so you can read it in your old age as you sit on the front porch of your cabin and telling these wild stories to your grandkids. what a wonderfull idea, and they probaly wouldn't know what a gelato was so you would have to go out and buy them a bucket along with a pizza. Honestly Anthony you do a great job and everyone appreciates it Hello to everyone know that you all are loved and missed GP

mrs.story said...

Hey! That's me right there at the scarf & sweater table with Mom!! Can we go see the Knight of Malta breastplate while we're there & hear the cannon go off?? Tom would think he had died and gone to Heaven!

Seriously- the photography is trylu excellent.