Our final class commenced and it was time to explore the streets of Rome one final time as a group. We rescheduled our Pantheon visit to Wednesday afternoon, so that was the first thing on our list.
Professor Hillebrand wanted to capture us seeing the inside of this Pagan church in all its glory for the first time, so he had us look down at the floor as we entered. Once he led us to the center of the ancient building, he instructed us to look up. What I saw absolutely blew me away. The sheer architecture of this building is absolutely astounding, and the marble that covers its walls is mesmerizing. The dome, which is the largest unsupported dome of its kind, is massive and impressive. Apparently, the inside of the dome roof used to be clad in bronze, but as the Romans are historically in favor of recycling buildings and décor, the bronze from the Pantheon was used for the massive alter in St. Peter’s. I am so glad we got to visit the Pantheon and see its beauty. I cannot believe how well-maintained it is after two thousand years. It is a magnificent glimpse of what ancient Rome once looked like.
After our visit to the Pantheon, we strolled over to Castel Sant’Angelo. We were supposed to embark on a night tour of the castle Tuesday night, but it was closed. Luckily, we were able to fit it in Wednesday afternoon. The castle was the original tomb for Roman Emperor Hadrian, who ruled from 117-138. Hadrian was well-liked and is known for building Hadrian’s Wall in Northern England and rebuilding the Pantheon. I explored Hadrian’s villa with Pop Pop during our extra day together. It’s funny how these points of interest overlap in history. Looking at the castle from the outside, I did not expect it to be vast, but it really seems like a huge maze once inside.
When we were finished with Castel Sant’Angelo, we went our separate ways for a few hours. I shopped around with Chrissy and Nick and scored an inexpensive bottle of Limoncello, which according to the label is made with organic, non-GMO lemons from the Amalfi Coast. I really wanted to take home a bottle of limoncello because it was the first drink I tasted and enjoyed in Rome.
I got back to St. John’s from a fun time shopping to relax and work on something for our “last supper” together later in the evening.