11/02/2011

Old Appian Way, Sheep!, and an odd Cript...

Tuesday was a very eventful day here in Roma. We took the subway down to the country side of Rome, where all of the famous actors and politicians live, and then we rented bikes so we could ride along the Old Appian Way. The Old Appian Way is the first and oldest road ever constructed to take a traveler into Rome. Thousands of years ago, it was possibly one of the most well known and important roads in the world. It was so important to the Roman people that the wealthy chose to be buried there so travelers could admire their grave. Today, the Old Appian way is used as a place to take holiday walks (November 1st, All Saints Day, is a national holiday here in Rome), picnics, and bike rides. The terrain is very bumpy because the road is still constructed out of its original cobble stone, which at this point looks like big gray rocks placed throughout the dirt. The fact that those stones were there thousands of years ago guiding travelers into Rome, and that they are still here today, is an amazing sight to see. We biked all the way down to a big tower on top of a hill where soldiers would watch people come through the city boundaries. I climbed to the top and the view was amazing! Trees and rolling hills everywhere! Right when we were all about to come down from the hill, we heard sheep. Yes, Sheep! A huge heard of sheep, at least sixty to seventy, along with their Shepard and sheep dogs crossed the Old Appian Way. It was so cool to see! I immediately thought of my nephews who love sheep and animals. It was so interesting to watch, I loved it.


After our bike ride a few of us girls went back into the city. On our way back to the subway after some shopping, we came across a church, and decided to go in. The sign said that it was a crypt, which we had been in before and we were eager to see more, however this was not a normal crypt. In fact, it was very strange and bizarre. It was the church of Cappuccini, a monk. There is a mandatory offering of one euro to get in, which we thought was weird, because in Rome it is unusual to charge money when visiting a church. But we paid our Euro anyway and began our tour. We were absolutely shocked at what we saw. Inside there were skeletons and decaying bodies everywhere. They were positioned to be standing up or to be laying down, and there were also fresh graves in each area where they had remains. The skeletons were of monks in Cappuccini's order that had passed away. But the thing is, the skeletons weren't that old, so that means that this was not so much a crypt, but a burial sight for the monks of that order. Perhaps the strangest part about this experience was the art on the walls. At first I thought there were stones on the walls that were in different shapes and decorations. However, at a closer look, it become obvious that they were not stones, but BONES! Bones everywhere! Every single bone in every part of the body was on the wall in some sort of form, like flowers, ivy, and even chandeliers were made out of bones. It was so creepy. At the end of the tour, after we had seen every crypt, I left feeling concerned. The Catholic faith believes that one must bury the dead. So why was this monk order contradicting Catholic doctrine? Later, after talking to my director of the trip, Danillo, he told me that he discourages people from going there because of that very reason. He gave me the impression that tourists go there for the "awe effect" that the crypt offers. However in Rome, it seems to be  more of a taboo spectacle. I'm glad I went in, not even knowing what it was, because to be honest it was an experience. But I don't think I'll have the courage or want to visit again.

On a lighter and less creepy note, tomorrow we are touring the Jewish Ghetto in Rome, and then on Friday night seven of us our leaving for Paris, France. Very exciting! I hope you all are well! Love and miss you!
-Ciao Bella:)

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