Rome & The Vatican: Whatever you do, DON'T BLINK.

Ahh Rome, the heart of Italy.

The Mediterranean Cyprus are the national veins if the sun hits them right.
Otherwise they're just the national tree.

Dear reader, 

I know you. You are like me. We know the danger that winged statues pose.

And they do pose.

You and I, we know Weeping Angels are terrifying. 

Under no circumstances can you ever turn your back on a statue or blink around these horrific creatures, or you will find yourself lost in space and time and cut out of existence and you'll never see your friends or loved ones again! They live in many cities around the world, but there are no cities as dangerous as Rome and The Vatican. 

Shit. This one's got a sword.

Most everywhere I went in Europe, I felt safe. I walked freely in the street, day or night, without a care in the world. But not Rome. I faced unholy legions of statues, and stood immobile, paralyzed with fear, afraid to blink, knowing that to turn my back on one of these creatures meant a fate worse than death. 

In Rome, you are not safe. You cannot cross a bridge without testing fate. 

Don't blink. Recommended: 360 degree vision.

Unfortunately, Rome and the Vatican are pretty unmissable if you ever even thought the words "art history." You might see it from afar and think you want to visit St. Peter's Basilica.

Bright Lights, pope city.

Little could you know, it's guarded.

You aren't getting anywhere near that dome.

Don't Blink.
And I do mean heavily. Guarded.


But if you do get inside...

It's safe, they're not paying attention to you.
Still, be careful inside the Basilica. 

Don't trust anything that looks like a Dove ad.

It's a shame that the place is so dangerous. No tourist vacation is complete without a trip to Rome. Some very old and formative history happened in Rome. If you can manage to get past the weeping angels and sentinels on pedestals, you are in for a very classical experience.

Not-quite-friends in high places.
So much history has happened in Rome, since it was built, March 17th, 753 BC. Much of it still exists in ruins that are beautiful and mysterious.

Again, watch for hidden dangers and don't blink.

Your primary mission in Rome is to eat gelato all day every day. I guess you could also visit the Colosseum. There were some fights there once upon a time. 

Gladiator? Hannibal hardly knew 'er!

Most importantly, in Rome, you see the foundations of Neoclassical architecture, by looking at crumbling classical architecture!

Some of it looks straight out of Washington DC.

Weeping Chariots?
But Washington DC did not originate this art style, funny enough. Rome did. And if you go to the Forum, you can see where Democracy began! With the very first ever incidences of land-owning males voting as the ultimate expression of freedom, and failing to see a double standard for women/slaves/everybodyelse/etc.

The very pillars of democracy!

The experience is a rich and patriotic one, visiting the crumbling remains of a marble dome-and-column-filled empire that was once the most powerful in the world. In a way it is the democratic spiritual mother of America, the dome-and-column-filled empire that still has roofing material.

As a member of the dominant civilization, you look around and wonder if there is a lesson to be learned about the rise and falls of civilization and power. Then you go buy some gelato and think about other things.

Of course, if you ask the ancient Romans, Rome's spiritual mother was a she-wolf who nurtured Rome's founders. I guess that makes Shakira America's spiritual grandmother?

Romulans and Remus.

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