I started the day with an early morning swim in the hotel’s fabulous pool. I ordered coffee poolside and figured I could do my laps and then relax in my fluffy bathrobe. It was still quite early so I had the pool to myself. After a mere four laps I was completely out of breath and thoroughly exhausted. I swear the pool must be an Olympic size pool. I was huffing, puffing and heaving so I clawed my way out of the pool and sat on the side trying to catch my breath. The coffee sure tasted good at that point.
For our second full day in Rome, we planned an itinerary that had us doing some serious walking. It started at an eerie church Santa Maria della Concezione. I say eerie because the inside walls of the chapel was decorated with the bones of over 4,000 monks dating back to the 1500’s. Talk about creepy. These poor monks bodies were dug up after having long decomposed, and then assembled on walls as the décor. There were alcoves with piles and piles of carefully placed skulls all to make patterns. Let’s just say it was one of the strangest things I have ever seen.
From there we went to visit the Palazzo Doria Pamphilj, which remains today the private home of the Doria Pamphilj family. Part of their Palazzo is open to the public, with multiple rooms on exhibit with a stunning array of art on exhibit. This noble Italian royal family dates back over 500 years, with important historical connections throughout the Mediterranean. Andrea Doria led independence from Genoa, and Giovanni Doria Andrea fought a famous battle against the Turks in the battle of Lepanto in 1571.
But it was later in 1644 when the Doria family’s own Cardinal Giovanni Battista was elected as Pope and became known as Pope Innocent X. Without question, having a pope in the family during this era brought enormous power and prestige to the Doria Pamphilj family. Photo left: the colonnade entrance to the Palazzo. Photo below: the bathroom salon at the Palazzo. Photo below the bathroom salon: a lovely iron grate outside the windows of the Palazzo.
The princes and princesses who followed Innocent X maintained their family passion for art, assembling an enormous private collection that continues to be open to the public here in Rome. Being received at the Palazzo was quite an exciting opportunity, it is on the level of The Vatican, Windsor Castle of Buckingham Palace. Exquisite paintings, incredible tapestries, beautiful sculptures and marble everywhere.
Please join me again tomorrow for a fresh edition of Rick’s Roadshow, as we begin our fabulous Aegean Sea cruise. We set sail from Rome and head south to Capri and Naples and then journey to some exotic sites…it should be a memorable trip. Thanks for following along.