South of Florence and, equally important for me, at the north-west terminus of the Frankincense Trail from Oman is Rome. We arrived into Rome on Italo Train‘s excellent service.
After the Coliseum and Palatine Hill which, despite showers, were very busy with other tourists we went onto the much quieter Circus Maximus and almost deserted Via Di San Teodoro. During the Roman Empire, Via Di San Teodoro was called Vicus Tuscus and was just outside the walls.
The merchants on this street stock-in-trade was perfumes and Frankincense, this therefor is the very end of the Frankincense Trail whose origin is in Dhofar, Oman. The street takes its current name from the 6th c church San Teodoro, which makes it doubly interesting as the establishment of Christianity heralded the edict prohibiting the burning of Frankincense and the downturn in the trade.
Orthodox Christians currently use the current church after the grant of the building by John Paul II. Moving back again into key tourist sights we went to another repurposed building, the Pantheon whose use was changed from a Temple into a Church in 609AD.
Across the Tiber we passed Castel Sant Angelo the former fortress that protected Pope Clement VII, during whose pontificate Benvenuto Cellini, who was buried under Chapel of San Luca in Florence, claimed to have participated in the fort’s defence.
From Castel Sant Angelo the short walk along the Via Della Conciliazione took us into St Peter’s.
Fortunately, the queues were short and a number of people who queued burst into song helping pass the time.
Never having been to St Peter’s I had no idea what to expect and though it was a superb building, it did seem almost soulless so after a quick circuit, we ended our day on the Spanish Steps for sunset.
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