Eva David at
Vatican museum.

Go in Midwinter
To Enjoy Rome

Story and Photos by Aaron David

Y favorite time of the year to visit Europe is in the winter off-season period. This year we chose Italy. We flew Alitalia. Our flight was highlighted by increased amount of security at Kennedy.

Our tour guide, Maximo Moriggi, whom we found on the Internet, is a real take-charge type of person. He speaks English, Spanish, French and, of course, Italian. You’ll find him at www.phuketdir.com/moriggi.

He brought us to Rome via Vatican City. A light snow greeted us on arrival, but the afternoon turned into a sunny magnificent day.

We gazed at the dome of the Vatican, designed by Michelangelo.

We expected long lines at the Vatican. We arrived at the side entrance, looking for the long lines, but there were none. What a relief!

Trevi Fountain.

We had to get new Euros for admission. No credit cards accepted; only Euros and Italian lira.

We started our Vatican tour through the museum, entering gallery after gallery of amazing periods of art. Without the lines, we were able to enjoy its magnificence all the more.

The galleries took us through ethnic and cultural exhibits, and historical periods, including collections of noted Jewish artists such as Ben Shahn.

After a long journey through the museum, we reached what we really had come for – the Sistine Chapel, recently renovated.

We could see the full dimension of the magnificent work by Leonardo da Vinci. The colors are alive and glittering. The depths of the physical features of the subjects in his works are truly amazing. You’re able to appreciate art without having a great educational background.

The frescoes, which make up the feeling of the chapel, range from the Last Judgment and  the Creation of Man, by Michelangelo, to Crossing the Red Sea by Cosimo Rosselli, and the Punishment of Korah by Sandro Botticelli.

Synagogue of Rome.

We were not pressured to move or hurry along, due to the lack of lines this time of year. My children, ranging from 7 to 17, found this a very rewarding experience. They were not bored with this museum activity.

We concluded our day tour in St. Peter’s Square, the Vatican City’s courtyard. St Peter’s Basilica Colonnades was designed by Bernini in 1657.

We continued to the Colosseum, an important monument of ancient Rome. The marble from the Colosseum’s façade was used to build the columns in St. Peter’s Square.

The children were fascinated by Boca de Veritas (the mouth of truth), a sculpture of a face.  This is the Mask of Triton, capable of determining the truth. Legend has it, if one did not tell the truth, when he put his hand in the mouth he would lose his hand.

We found Trevi Fountain very accessible. No crowds! We were able to partake in the legend of throwing a coin in the fountain with your back turned, vowing to return to Rome.

Dr. Aaron and Lois David with part
of the family at the Colosseum.

Via Veneto, famous for its high-end hotels, luxury shops and popular cafes, had no traffic at all. We could easily maneuver the streets without difficulty.

We moved on to San Pietro in Vincoli, also known as Basilica Eudoxiana, where we enjoyed viewing Michelangelo’s Moses, on the tomb of Julius II. We got as close as we possibly could to this magnificent piece of work.

We ended our one-day tour of Rome at nightfall when we made our way towards Trastevere. This area is also known as the Jewish Ghetto, famed for Roman Jewish cooking. Of course we had an exquisite tasting experience of cucina ala Judaica.

For kosher fast food we went to Zi Fenizia at 65 Via Santa Maria del Pianto in the Ghetto. Phone 06 689-6976.

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