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It’s All About the View

October 8, 2018

Castel Sant’Angelo. It started out as a mausoleum for the Emperor Hadrian. A massive cylindrical drum sitting on an equally massive stone base and topped by a golden quadriga—sculpture of a chariot pulled by four horses running abreast. Visualize a giant stone birthday cake with horses on top! To connect his future burial place with…

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The Vatican Museums – A Treasure Trove

September 16, 2018

Getting there The lovely young manager at our hotel explained how to get the bus to the Vatican. We walked the couple of blocks to Piazza Venezia, found the recommended Tabacchi (think corner convenience store), which is the place to purchase bigletti (tickets for the city’s buses) and headed for the nearby bus stop. On…

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The Vatican: Planning Ahead – A Necessity

September 8, 2018

A visit to the Vatican—mobbed, daunting, and overwhelming as it might be—is not to be missed, because, quite frankly, if you have traveled all the way to Rome and do not experience this place, you might as well have stayed home. For devout Catholics, the Vatican is a place of religious pilgrimage. For all of…

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THE COLOSSEUM…AND THE CIRCUS

June 5, 2018

The Colosseum is the largest amphiteater ever built—a massive oval of brickwork, tufa (a type of limestone), travertine, and concrete. At its base it covers six full acres. One of the wonders of the ancient world, it was the site of spectacles (and horrific cruelty) that are almost beyond the imagination. Over the centuries, two thirds…

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Mr. & Mrs. Penfire Start Out Early, Arrive Late

May 31, 2018

If there is one iconic structure that symbolizes Rome—and Italy—more than any other, it’s the Coliseum. Along with the Vatican and Saint Peter’s Basilica, it was at the very top of our “things to see in Rome” list. My guidebook recommended purchasing a tickets* or Roma Passes** in advance to avoid long lines. Another suggestion…

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The Pantheon

May 22, 2018

It was beginning to rain. And of course, our umbrellas were back in our hotel room. So we headed back in that direction, soon found ourselves in the Piazza della Rotonda, and noticed that the line to enter the Pantheon—endlessly long an hour earlier—was now nearly inconsequential. So we nipped inside. Because this iconic structure—built…

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MR. & MRS. PENFIRE ARRIVE IN ROME

May 19, 2018

At Rome’s Leonardo da Vinci-Fiumincio Airport, having survived our 12-hour flight, emerging from baggage claim and customs and realizing there was no driver holding up a sign with our name to welcome us, John retrieved his printout from the shuttle service he had booked. Okay, we failed to read the complete message on our confirmation…

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