Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Rome: a High Point on my trip: the Gianicolo AKA Janiculum Hill.

My visit to Rome had many High Points and at least one Low Point.  Here is one High Point - with photos.

One of my mornings consisted of a walk from my hotel, the Albergo del Senato, to the Marcellus Theater and across Tiberina Island to Trastevere and up the Janiculum Hill. I have always wanted to do this, but, what prompted me to just go for it this time was my long wait in Piazza San Pietro for the Pope. As we stood in the Piazza I watched a beautiful sunrise up over the Janiculum Hill and decided I wanted to walk up there and view St Peter's from higher up.  I woke up the next morning, having shaken off the chill, and decided that was my goal for the day.

The weather was pretty good when I left - blue skies all over and it was crisp and cool - perfect walking weather. I had also planned to make this day my day for the cupola climb as my ending point would be St Peter's and that made sense. However, as I walked, the clouds socked in and by the time I got to St Peter's Square the views that day would not have been quite as good. So I decided to save that for the next day.

A few of Marcellus Theater:


Naturally I had to make a beeline for Santa Maria in Trastevere after I crossed the Tiber and wandered through Trastevere.  I wanted to see this third century church and its 13th century mosaics.

As it turned out, mass was in session and I had to be surreptitious to get even one photograph (no flash) which of course doesn't do it justice.  They never do.

After my walk through Trastevere but just before I walked up the hill I ended up at John Cabot University's gateway and stood there and reflected upon my college friend Jill Peacock. She graduated college with me back in the days of yore and immediately left to marry her Italian boyfriend whom she had met on a study abroad program. We lost touch but found each other again in the mid 2000s and not due to Facebook - due to an alumni publication. At that time she was working for John Cabot University. When I came to Rome in 2006 we met for lunch near her office and she showed off a little of her neighborhood. It was so interesting to meet someone I had spent my young adulthood with and to talk about our divergent paths - we had not seen each other since graduation. She spoke of her sons, who were truly Italian (she being the only American and being immersed in Italy) and sounded wistful for her family back home. I wasn't quite sure if she was happy in her life decision. We did link up on Facebook at some point after that and sadly she died of cancer about three or so years ago. It was so jarring to learn of a friend's illness and death on Facebook as she had not been posting anything about her illness until the very end. She was the first friend whom I have found out such sad news on Facebook.

I then turned around and started walking up Via Giuseppe Garibaldi. If you follow this winding road, it will take you up up up and up to the Gianicolo.  What a beautiful walk it was - cool weather and I was alone almost the whole time. 

Along the way I passed his tomb/mausoleum and at the top was a large statue in Garibaldi's honor.

You know how there is a Via Cavour and an Il Vittoriano (named for Vittoriano Emmanuele, Re d'Italia)? Well, he was a contemporary of them and quite an important guy (as if the street names and statues weren't clue enough). He was a central figure in the Italian Risorgimento. Also along my walk I briefly visited San Pietro in Montorio and had a glimpse at the Tempietto by Bramante. Allegedly St. Peter was crucified, upside down, at the site of this church.

After I wandered around the piazza for a while, admiring the view and snapping photos, I started my stroll down the hill towards St. Peter's. 

Statue of Garibaldi:

Below are some photos of the views. For anyone reading this:  I can pick out the really obvious stuff, but there are some large structures I'm stumped on (mostly churches) if anyone would care to point any out in the comments I would be grateful. I do know that St. John in Lateran has all of the Apostles on top.

Here are the rest from the top; a little over a dozen:


Here are a few of the sunrise photos I referenced while standing in St. Peter's square early Wednesday morning, which acted as inspiration for my Thursday climb.


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