and entered this basilica. The windows are at ground level, placed to let in light.
These pictures are postcards, we were unable to photograph inside the Catacombs. There were 4 levels, we were able to enter 2 of them, and to look down at the other 2 levels. It was cool, and dark. We followed our guide, who would point out various features.
There were different sized galleries, "owned" by families.
Early Christian symbols, marking a grave. The body slots ranged in size from 2 feet to about 6 feet. Lots of small ones...children.
There were areas that maintained their paint/fresco color.
Back on the bus, our guide (can't remember his name), told us that our next stop would be The Appian Way...really, The Appian Way from Latin class, translating Julius Caesar? I was delightfully surprised by this announcement. As it turns out, our bus was having transmission problems, so we had to pull over to wait for a replacement bus...what a great place to pull over!
Looking to the south,
and to the north, toward Rome!
Some of the original stones are still in place, and the chariot wheel ruts are visible! The Romans had to be precise when building the chariots' wheelbase, so they would fit in the grooves.
Today, cars, bikes, people travel the ancient road.
In addition to the Umbrella Pine trees, tombs lined the road.
This wall, with monument remnants, was interesting.
A lone poppy, reminding me of our California home!
After lunch we drove to Castelo Gondalfo, a picturesque town about 15 miles south of Rome, that overlooks Lake Albano, and happens to house the pope's summer residence. We walked up a hill, with lovely homes,
to the main square.
The Papal Palace, a 12th century building, is the main attraction. Supposedly, if the doors are closed, the Pope is in residence. We were told he was there, then not. When we left, workers were setting up a canopy in front of the palace, maybe for a blessing?
The rest of the square contained little shops, and restaurants...and a gelateria! Still trying to find the find the perfect gelato...here I had nocciola, hazelnut, my new favorite. Does it look like this person needs to be eating gelato? I think not...
The beautiful lake...this is the Pope's view. It is surrounded by villas, summer homes.
Walking back to the bus...sigh...
And down the mountain to Civitavechhia, and our air conditioned ship. Oh, and the Europeans are convinced that global warming is with us. Their winters have been too rainy, too dry, and their summers are getting hotter. Barcelona was in the 70s, France and Italy, near 100 each day.
Tomorrow, the Amalfi Coast.