Atlantis Alumni

Monday, August 20, 2012

Return To Rome On A Sunny Summer Day

Comments from Jim: This morning as we approached Italy by air we were able to see the wreck of the Italian cruise ship 'Costa Concordia' that was carrying more than 4,000 people when it ran aground and keeled over off the Italian coast near the island of Giglio in Tuscany, Italy. Our airplane was at 15,000 ft when this photo was taken. Comments from Dan: It was a treat to return to the church of San Pietro in Vincoli (St Peter in Chains), after many years. It was over 40 years ago that I visited this fascinating church, and Jim had never seen it. The main attraction of the church is the Tomb of Pope Julius II, the great Renaissance statesman and patron of the arts. Julius II was famously known for his commissions by some of the giants of the Renaissance. His tomb was designed by Michelangelo in 1505. But long before it was finished Pope Julius demanded that the artist work instead on the Sistine Chapel. Years later, Michelangelo returned to his tomb, but he and his assistants carved fewer statues and the total monument is on a smaller scale than originally conceived. The most famous part is the central figure of “Moses” one of the great Renaissance masterpieces. The sinewy arms of the Old Testament prophet show him looking powerful and domineering, with the Tablets of the Law, or Ten Commandments, tucked under his bulging biceps. The horns on his head may be rays of divine wisdom, or else a mistranslation of a phrase in St. Jerome’s Latin version of the Bible. At any rate, this amazing sculpture is a highlight of the late works of Michelangelo and the sixteenth century. Jim looked at the map and next directed our walk toward the Colosseum. He took some magnificent shots of the ancient Roman arena against umbrella pines and with the nearby Arch of Constantine. Those monuments represent Imperial Rome at its peak. Though we had a tough time finding a taxi, we were happy to return to the Quirinale Hotel for a short respite before heading out to dinner.

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