|Monday 8th October 2007 Weather Sunny /slightly humid
(H) Today being the last day in Rome we thought a quite day was in order as our legs are starting to get somewhat weary. We caught the Metro to San Giovanni Station, only 3 stops from our location. As we crossed the Piazza San Giovanni in Laterano there were quite a number of market stalls down one of the side streets, so a look was in order. It appears however that most of the multitude of stalls throughout Rome sells almost the same things. Leather Bags, Scarves, shoes and lots of clothing, most of it overpriced. Although yesterday when we went to St Peters there was a stall selling beautiful leather ladies boots for 15-20 Euros. (By the way boots are the in thing for women in Rome) it is still very hot and boots are worn with summer dresses. Anyway I digress. Having given these the once over, we proceeded through the arches of the old walls and into the Basilica S. Giovanni in Laterano. This was the first Christian church in Rome and became the official Home of the Pope prior to buying some property across the river when they had a land sale, which he called the Vatican.
(J) The real story is that San Giovanni in Laterano was founded by Constantine in AD313 and consecrated 11 years later. It is still Rome's official Cathedral and the Pope's seat as the Bishop of Rome. To Catholic Romans it is more important than the much grander Basilica of Saint Peters. It was a real pleasure to go to see it today; the crowds were a lot less which made it possible to study the very ornate marble mosaic flooring amongst a lot of other things. The first thing that strikes you are the sculptures of the twelve apostles, 6 on each side of the main part of the church, huge but very lifelike. A very high, gilded baldachin rises over the main altar in which is held the remains of St Peters and St Pauls heads. Again I need to write a book and I still would not do justice to the place, you will just all have to come over to see the place yourselves. I can only tell you that if I was to come to Rome again I would advise myself thus: - 4 days + an organized tour + hotel just north or close proximity of Piazza delle Repubblica.
After a good look around the Basilica we decided to do one more loop of Rome
1/ A walk up to the top of the Spanish steps
2/ A gelato at the Trevi fountain (While there we saw our coin collector again, hard at work)
3/ Home to write this journal, load it onto the web
4/ Packing to go home
The next entry will come in about 4 days from HOME---Thank you to everyone for your feedback, even you Mick, but I know where you are coming from. I would agree with you if I was reading this journal but one thing, I like playing with the TV knob even at home.