We are in big-time tourist mode this week for we have a lot to see and do in this wonderful and historical city.  Today was predicted to be the rainy day of the week but we saw very little rain.  First thing we did was take the Metro to the main Terminal to catch one of those hop on/hop off buses.  we stayed on for the whole city circuit and then finally got off right next to the Colosseum.  We found the Church of Santa Maria in Cosmedin and did the most touristy thing – Put our hand in the Bocca della Verita, which was made famous in the movie “Roman Holiday”.  If you are a liar your hand will be gobbled up.  From there we walked up to the Capitoline Museums which are right behind the Victor Emmanuel Monument.  This museum houses some of ancient Rome’s ( by “ancient” we are talking B.C.) most famous statues and art.  This Palazzo was founded in 1471 when a pope gave ancient statues to the citizens of Rome and consists of two Palazzo’s connected by an underground tunnel.  After spending a few hours here we walked next door to the Santa Maria in Aracoeli Church which sits atop this Capitol Hill and stands on the site where Emperor Augustus had a premonition of the coming of Mary and Christ standing on an “altar in the sky”.  This church is right next to the Victor Emmanuel Monument so we went through the Museum of the Risorgimento with displays on the movement and war that led to the unification of Italy in 1870.  By this time we were a little weary but since we were sort of in the area we walked over to St. Peter in Chains which is also known by the name of Basilica Eudoxiana, after Licinia Eudoxia, wife of Emperor Valentinian III (425-455). Eudoxia brought the chains that held St. Peter while he was imprisoned in Jerusalem to Rome. This leads many to believe that the church was founded in the fifth century to house the important relic, but in fact the church is much older and was initially dedicated to both saint Peter and saint Paul. In the fifth century, Juvenal, the Bishop of Jerusalem, gave the chains that possibly held St. Peter while he was imprisoned in Jerusalem to Eudoxia’s mother who sent it to her daughter in Rome.  Eudoxia then gave the chains as a present to Pope Leo I, who placed them in this church, together with the chains that held St. Peter while he was in the Mamertine prison in Rome.  According to medieval legend the two chains then miraculously joined together.  But what I really came to see is the Moses statue by Michelangelo which, in my humble opinion, is his best work.  He was commissioned to do this work by pope Julius II in 1505 and was supposed to be placed in St. Peter’s Basilica.  But in 1508, the pope’s attention turned to the Sistine Chapel and Michelangelo obliged.  By the time this was completed Julius II died and no one was interested in this guys monument and his successors commissioned Michelangelo with other tasks. So Michelangelo could only work on it sporadically. By the time Michelangelo died in 1564 only the statues of Moses, Leah, Rachel and two dying slaves were completed.
Michelangelo considered the statue one of his best works and the story goes that he found it so lifelike that he started talking to Moses. When the statue didn’t answer Michelangelo became angry and in a fury he threw a chisel at the knee of Moses. This would explain the cut you can see on the statue’s right knee. The horns you see on Moses’s head are the result of an incorrect translation of the Old Testament. In the Middle Ages it was thought that the original scripture said that the head of Moses was horned. Now we know that the text actually says that his face ‘radiated’.  From St. Peter in Chains we again got on the Metro and found our way back to The Spanish Steps where our hotel is located with a stop for dinner.  ( A little post-note:  I am doing this blog out in the hotel lobby and watching the Olympics since we don’t have it in our room)

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