Postcard from Rome : DREAM, TRAVEL, REFLECT
"Traveling ~ it leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller."         ~Ibn Battuta

Postcard from Rome

by Patricia Thayer on 08/23/20

"It's all theater!" Mario dramatically proclaims as he expertly guides us through the magnificence of the Sistine Chapel and St. Peter's Basilica.  The grandeur of the art and architecture is truly breathtaking, leaving one to wonder why this extravagant spectacle was created.  To use Mario's analogy, the Vatican of the Renaissance was the stage.  All the symbols, poetry, art, and architecture of the age were used to awe the audience with the glory of their papal patron in exorbitant pageantry.  Centuries earlier, the emperors of the far-flung Roman Empire perfected this "pageantry of power" in order to awe, subdue, and unite its citizens.  Spectacular theatrical displays exhorted the expansion and celebration of Roman power and achievement to spectators throughout the Empire.  The Church continued this Roman concept of "rule by pageant" with sumptuous regal displays:  gold embroidered white robes and papal crowns, a throne carried shoulder high with a dozen bearers, a golden ring kissed by lesser mortals on bended knee, elaborate rituals combining elements of ancient Roman paganism and medieval Christianity.  It is, after all, theater.  Why do I travel? To better understand the connection between past and present, and to marvel at the incredible theater of human accomplishment.  (April 2011)

Comments (0)

Leave a comment

"Why do you travel?" asked a friend as I was preparing for a summer trip to Guatemala.  At the 
time, I replied, "To see the world," or some such trite response.  It is a difficult question because 
I don't have just one answer.  But the question deserves a better response so I decided to write down my reasons in the form of "postcards".  These postcards are an ongoing attempt to answer the question posed by my friend those many years ago. I hope they will encourage you to enrich 
your life through more travel experiences and find your own answers to this question.  
Dream ~ Travel ~ Reflect