Reminiscing about Rome

By Chris A. Hale

For the Deseret News

Published: Wednesday, July 16 2014 10:15 a.m. MDT

We were awed by St. Peter’s Square and St. Peter's Basilica; I don’t think there are adequate words in any language to describe them. From the air, the square is shaped like a keyhole and is surrounded by the centuries-old statues of one hundred and forty saints on the colonnades. In addition to this, surmounted on the balustrade is Christ the Redeemer, John the Baptist and 11 apostles.

The colorful Swiss Guard, with their blue, red, and mustard uniforms, watch over all of Vatican City. Even though they are dressed for pageantry, they have all served in the Swiss army and take their assignment to the pope seriously.

A few of the other main attractions of Rome are, of course, the Coliseum and the Forum. One was used for the gladiators and the other as a place to gather to listen to the emperor; both are equally ancient and fascinating.

We floated through the Coliseum first. Built to accommodate 30,000-50,000 spectators, the Coliseum was used for bloody battles and animal hunts and possibly for re-created naval battles, all for the sake of entertainment. Even though it’s partially ruined due to earthquakes and stone robbers, it’s still the emblem of Imperial Rome.

The Forum is an expansive rectangular ground of ruined columns, arches and buildings. It is where people gathered to hear their leaders speak and where public elections and criminal trials were held — all of this beginning in the same century in which Christ was born. Yes, they are that old.

This is still just a fraction of what we found in Rome.

Throughout the city are eight ancient Egyptian obelisks and five ancient Roman obelisks located in various places — one inside St. Peter’s Square. Other locations include the top of the Spanish Steps and the fountain Quattro Fiumi in Piazza Navona, which was once a famous ancient chariot racing oval.

The most impressive aspect of Rome to me was its antiquity. Almost everything is older than anything found in the United States, and a generous helping of structures are two millennia old. It’s really quite incredible.

After all this reminiscing, I really don’t have a good answer as to why I haven’t taken Kim to Italy. In fact, I probably could have saved some money and avoided the Fiat dealership entirely by fulfilling her travel desires.

I’m just happy I came to my senses before purchasing a Beretta handgun or a Gucci purse.

Chris Hale is an aviation maintenance technician for a major airline and has traveled extensively with his family. In his spare time, he writes novels inspired by places he's been. Find out more about his books and other articles at chrisahale.com.

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