We woke up this morning at 5:00 am to catch an 8:30 Swiss Air flight to Rome.  Everything went well, weather is perfect in both cities and before you know it we are catching the Leonardo express train from the Rome airport to downtown Rome.  After the luxury of the river boat we were a little worried about the hotel we scheduled for Rome, but we are pleasantly surprised.  It is right by the Spanish steps but still fairly quiet.  After resting in the room for a bit we headed out to get our first look at Rome since we were here 3.5 years ago.  We set out for the Spanish steps and it was crazy-crowded!  Almost like summertime.  Everyone seems to be in the Christmas spirit.  From there we walked to the Trevi Fountain and played tourists and tossed a coin.  Next we went to the Pantheon. Built between 27 and 25 B.C. by the consul Agrippa, Prefect of the Emperor Augustus, the present building is the result of subsequent, heavy restructuring.  The Pantheon served as the model for Michelangelo’s dome in St. Peter and Brunelleschi’s dome in Florence.  Raphael and Italy’s first two kings chose to be buried there.  Then we finished up at Piazza Navona for dinner and just relaxed watching everyone enjoying the annual Christmas market in the piazza.  On our walk back to the hotel we passed so many people shopping, listening to street music, or just hanging out in the Christmas spirit.

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