Walking In The Footsteps of the Ancient Romans, and the Borgias

It has always been a dream of mine to visit Rome, right from having Primary School history lessons on Ancient Rome, learning about Gladiators and having pretend Roman banquets. Of course more recently I have developed a huge interest (say rather…obsession) with the Borgia family who had a huge part to play in the history of Renaissance Rome. We all know the stories of the Borgia family, the scandalous rumours of murder and incest that swept not only Rome, but the world also, at the time. And now, I have the chance to walk the streets of Rome, to see the sites that the Borgia family would have seen and known. And I am beyond excited.

Yes, that’s right. I’m all booked up to go to Rome.
Of course whilst we are there we will be having a look at the sites of Ancient Rome including the Colosseum, the Pantheon, the Forum, Baths of Diocletian and of course the Catacombs. I haven’t read anything on Ancient Rome for a very, very long time so will certainly be doing a bit of extra research into these sites before we go – after all at this moment in time my knowledge is made up of bits and bobs from a rather uninspiring university module as well as various bits of information picked up from who knows where. So I’ll certainly be picking up a few books on Ancient Rome in the run up to the summer.

Of course, the area I am most looking forward to visiting, thanks to its links with my favourite Renaissance family, is the Vatican and St Peter’s Basilica. Not only that but the history of the Vatican has close links to Tudor history – with the refusal to grant Henry VIII’s annulment. That however, is a different story for a different day. I am seriously looking forward to visiting the Vatican, wandering around its museums (because it has a good few!!) and seeing the Sistine Chapel. I remember being told some years ago by my Grandmother that gazing at the Sistine Ceiling, painted by Michelangelo and commissioned in 1508 by Pope Julius II – he worked on the ceiling between 1508 and 1512, but was called back to do more painting in the chapel when he was over 60 years old and commissioned to paint The Last Judgement by Pope Clement VII (just before this Pope’s death in 1534). The Last Judgement is still considered to be a masterpiece.

I’m sure by the time we go, you’ll all be utterly fed up with my going on about it. But this city has so, so much history and I am so excited to walk in places that people would have walked hundreds of years ago, if not thousands. As I say, I have a lot of reading to do on the parts of Rome’s history that I’m not so hot on but that’s all part of the fun. And if anyone knows of any good books then please do let me know. I’m also slowly learning the language which is proving to be fun, if a little challenging – and I now know how to ask for an ice cream and bottle of white wine, which will probably be the thing I end up saying the most while we are there!
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2 thoughts on “Walking In The Footsteps of the Ancient Romans, and the Borgias

  1. Ooh, have a lovely time! I was sent to Rome for a week as part of my History of Art degree and had an amazing time. I remember walking through the Vatican with my tutor, Desmond Shawe-Taylor and remarking that the Borgias were the ultimate dysfunctional family and it was lucky for them that they hadn't had the Daily Mail back then… 😉

  2. @Madame Guillotine – haha, if they had the Daily Mail back then then blimey, would I feel sorry for them xD The lies and rumours would have been made even more ludicrous xD

    Honestly cannot wait to get on that plane. We're going to be there over my 24th birthday too so YAY!

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