Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Rome and Vatican Gardens

BG: This past week we were able to go to the place that I was personally looking forward to the most: Rome. Besides seeing the historical monuments, including the Colosseum and Pantheon, I was looking forward to getting the chance to go to Vatican City, which included going into St. Peter’s basilica and going behind the church to tour the Vatican garden.  The garden is much smaller then the Boboli gardens that we were lucky enough to visit earlier in the year covering approximately 57 acres in total on the Vatican hill.  In the past there was an assassination attempt on Pope John Paul II, and since then the area has become private and not many people see it, unless you get the amazing view from up top St. Peter’s basilica.  In fact when we went on our tours we were the only people there besides the workers who were trimming bushes here and there.  It was nice for a change not to be surrounded by other tourists.  The garden includes an area with a French garden, areas that resemble the landscape designs used in the Renaissance, Italian style areas, and also marble statues depicting religious symbols and people can be found throughout.  There were a few areas we walked by that included arches that shaded walkways to building or other parts of the gardens.

There were multiple flowers and trees of different species. They had palm trees, and one tree that we walked across that really grabbed my attention was the monkey-puzzle.  The monkey-puzzle tree is a wild evergreen with spiraling branches, the tree we saw was huge and they are known to be able grow to be 70 feet tall and 30 feet wide.  It is a very open tree and was not hard to see through it.  We were told that it has its nickname because monkeys could not find a way to climb the tree because of the way the branches are formed.  I was surprised to see how many different plants and things were present including cacti, palm trees, and even a banana tree.  It’s sad that more people aren’t able to see the garden, because it is a beautiful place with many things to see.

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