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Click on the image to open a larger version. Unless stated otherwise all images are Copyright © Mike Hume.
Below are a collection of the general photos from my trip to Rome. The particularly colourful ones are High Dynamic Range (HDR) composite photos, and there are a few particularly nice closeups using a new lens on the camera (check out the Pigeons or the Statue of Caesar).
The sight of thousands of starlings flying over the early dusk sky was intriguing until I realised people were walking with umbrellas raised - and that the light patter on the ground wasn't rain. There's a good picture of them here.
In terms of some of the details about the below, Trajan's Markets are where your everyday Romans would go to trade everything and anything. They were built in the early 2nd century AD and contained 150 shops and offices. Trajan's Column was inaugurated by Trajan in AD 113. It's 40m (131ft) tall and the entire column is decorated with minutely-detailed scenes from Trajan's campaigns. A few pictures of fountains too - which are found around every corner in Rome.
Located next to the Colosseum this is one of Rome's most impressive triumphal arches, dedicated in AD 315. It now has a rather ugly fence around it but I guess needs must. Some particularly sharp photos from the new lens on the camera here.
The Capitol is located beside Forum and the two form the ancient centre of Rome. The Victor Emmanuel Monument (known as Il Vittoriano) now dominates this area and is a monument to the first king of the unified Italy. The basilica Santa Maria in Aracoeli (St Mary of the Altar of Heaven) is located behind Il Vittoriano and accessed by the Aracoeli Staircase, 124 marble steps designed in 1348 on the occasion of the Black Death. In 1797 the basilica was temporarily deconsecrated and used as a stable!
The Capitoline Museums dominate the Capitoline Hill in the centre of Rome. The museums can be traced back to 1471 and house a fantastic collection of treasures. At the centre of the piazza on the Capitoline Hill stands a replica of a status of Emperor Marcus Aurelius, the original now being housed in the Museums.
The Colosseum was built between 70 and 80 AD and held up to 80,000 spectators.
The Forum houses the city's oldest and most important structures and is a feast of ancient architecture, including two triumphal arches, the remains of various temples and the House of the Vestal Virgins.
The Church of the Gesu (Church of the Holy Name of Jesus) is the mother church for the Society of Jesus (Jesuits). The facade has been the model for Jesuit churches all over the world. The ceiling fresco is by Giovanni Battista Gaulli and truly striking as the decoration overlaps the ceiling structure, almost hanging below the ceiling, in suggestion of three dimensions.
The Palatine Hill is where the remains of Domitian's huge palace (built 1st Century AD) are located. To the south of the hill lies the Circus Maximus, although its previous use is not obvious from its current state.
The Pantheon has stood in Rome since the early 2nd Century AD. The height of the rotunda is the same as its diameter at 43.3m (140ft). The only light enters through the oculus at the very centre of the dome. Some of the closeup pictures below detail the ancient stonework well.
This piazza houses Bernini's Triton Fountain of a sea god.
Piazza Navona is one of the major piazzas in Rome and occupies the site of Domitian's Stadium. The Fountain Of The Four Rivers stands in the centre of the piazza however was undergoing renovation. Some nice photos of the sun setting on the dome drums of Sant'Agnese in Agone.
I visited the Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore first thing int he morning and was rewarded with sunlight streaming through the central stained-glass window thereby illuminating the interior in vivid colours. Very challenging to try to capture how impressive it actually looked.
Santa Maria sopra Minerva is considered the only Gothic church in Rome and outside it sits Bernini's Pulcino della Minerva, an elephant supporting an Egyptian obelisk.
The Spanish Steps were built in the 17th Century and are a major tourist attraction in their own right, at any time of day. The boat-shaped fountain at the bottom of the steps is intriguing for the effect the water has had on the colour of the stone.
Trevi Fountain is probably the most famous of Roman fountains and marks the original termination of the Aqua Virgo aqueduct which brought fresh water to the city as early as 19 BC. The present fountain has only been in place since 1762.
The Vatican occupies the site where St Peter was martyred and buried, the adjoining papal palaces housing the Vatican Museums (the finest museums in Rome) as well as the Sistine Chapel and the Raphael Rooms. Being a Wednesday morning there was a Papal Audience where Pope Benedict XIV greeted the crowds in the popemobile. Prior to his being swept around the piazza there was a 10-minute list of visiting organisations read out (with accompanying cheer) like something out of a pantomime!
The view from the Dome of St Peter's is one of the best views in Rome albeit not for the feint-hearted.
The villa and its gardens were designed in 1605 and are now owned by the state. The gardens are littered with fountains, statuary and exotic follies.