Tuesday, August 3, 2010


I discovered not long ago that Rick Steve's website (http://www.ricksteves.com/) has free audioguides for lots of cool things.  I wish I had known about it earlier because there are audioguides for the Colosseum and Forum, and a bunch of other things I've already seen.  But, that's okay!  Now I know.  Anywhere I want to go, I should check Rick Steve's website and see what's available for free!

So, today I took his tour of Trastevere, a neighborhood just across the river from where I'm staying.  And it was awesome!!!  Just about as good as Jeffery's tours, but a little less intense : ) I mean, really, how could having your own personal Rick Steve in your ear narrating your walk be anything but good?  I would highly recommend them to eveyone!

So, we started out at the Isola Tiberina which is an island in the middle of the Tibur River (hence its name).

In ancient times, there was a temple built on the island dedicated to healing, or medicine, or something like that.  Anyway, the island supposedly had supreme healing powers and has been the site of hospitals from ancient times even until today, where the biggest building on the island is still the hospital.

This was the first point on the river where a bridge was built across as well (actually two bridges, one from the bank to the island, then from the island to the other bank of the river), and it used to be the most inland port, where sea ships couldn't sail any father up river.

Incorporated into the modern bridge, there is a plaque from one of the ancient bridges which you can still, faintly, make out the name Ceasar inscribed on it!

After crossing the river, we (Rick Steve and I) paused and saw the oldest still functioning bell tower in Rome:

And a school built during Facist times

And a midevial Synogogue turned into a restaurant.

The first church I stopped at was Santa Cecilia in Trastevere, which was really cool because I actually saw Santa Cecilia's tomb in the catacombs I went to on Sunday!  In the catacombs, there is only a reproduction of the sculpture of Santa Cecilia, but in the church is the real thing, which I got to take a picture of!  And, if I had paid 2,50 euro's, I could have gone down into the crypt, where the early Christian remains of Santa Cecilia's house is.  Maybe next time, since it is one of the cheaper church admission fees. . .  So anyway, here's the facade outside the courtyard:

Inside the courtyard:

Inside the church:

The sculpture of Santa Cecilia:

The next church I went to was Santa Maria in Trastevere, which is supposedly the first church to be dedicated to the Virgin Mary.  Out front there is a huge fountain which was designed to be the "sofa" of Trastevere, and I think it's working pretty well, considering the number of people I saw sitting on it!

In the portico, there are tons of tombstones pillaged from the catacombs imbedded in the walls. . .

When I went into the church, there was a German group playing music and singing in German.  I'm not sure what it was, but it was kinda cool!

I think this was Saint Frances (I'm not sure on the name, though), Saint of the poor, so there were a bunch of little bits of paper with prayers of the poor on and around him.

This plaque commemorates where oil was discovered (in historical times, I can't remember if it was three centuries before or after Christ, but not recently).

Well, Santa Maria in Trastevere was my last stop on Rick Steve's Tour, so I headed home.  On the way, I noticed that this little church which I walk by all the time (Santa Barbara de'Librari) was open, so I went in!

And it was the sweetest little church ever!  Just a very small, greek cross plan (all four arms are equal length) and it was very cozy and intimate.  The sort of place I'd want to go if I was Catholic ; )

Well, I'm off to studio now (after I eat a bit of lunch that is). . . I think tomorrow morning I'll do Rick Steve's Jewish Ghetto walk before studio, so stay tuned!  Ciao!

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