Day 4 – Rome & Civitavecchia

Monday, October 15th, 2012

Some of my favorite churches in Rome are right near our hotel, so before leaving Rome, we visited five more churches. The first three all have something in common, and they’re all very different from so many other churches: they’re round.

San Carlo alle Quattro Fontane

San Carlo alle Quattro Fontane

First we visited San Carlo alle Quattro Fontane, better known as San Carlino because it is tiny … tiny but gorgeous. Designed by the Baroque architect Borromini, San Carlino is a masterpiece of geometry and curves and it makes incredible use of a small space.

Next, Sant’Andrea al Quirinale — beautiful gilded dome — and then San Bernardo. This one is much easier on the eyes after seeing so many overwhelmingly ornate churches. San Bernardo is a plain round room of gray stone, with pale yellow walls and large sculptures in niches all around. Perhaps one of the quietest places in Rome.

The last two were Santa Maria della Vittoria, famous for Bernini’s Ecstasy of Saint Teresa, and a rather violent scene in Dan Brown’s Angels and Demons. Warm golden brown tones all around, and a gorgeous ceiling. Last stop was Santa Susanna, the American Catholic Church of Rome, and the only Roman church covered in frescos. One of my favorites because it’s like walking in to a book – you can walk around and ‘read’ the story of Santa Susanna.

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The view of Civitavecchia from the Noordam

And then our trip to Rome was over. It was around 1pm, and it was time to catch a train to Civitavecchia and board the Noordam. We got settled in to our cabin fairly quickly, and then spent the afternoon exploring the ship. Ten decks of dining options, entertainment, pools, bars, comfortable chairs and incredible views. Hands down the biggest boat I’ve ever been on: three laps around the promenade deck is one mile.

We had an incredible four-course dinner with some lovely people, then continued exploring the ship. The shops were a bit distracting, and we were eager to sign up for internet access so we could let our parents know we had set sail!

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