Following one of the most awesome places ever I then quickly visited the last couple of churches on my list for the day. The Santa Maria della Vittoria was first and only a few blocks from the Santa Maria de Concezione. Not very spectacular from the exterior, it is the interior of this church that makes it worthwhile. The ceiling is a gorgeous painting and the altar looks like an explosion of light. Bernini's Ecstasy of St. Teresa is on display here and I didn't find it very impressive, though I'm not sure what made it so famous. Kinda like the Pieta in St. Peter's...if I didn't know it was famous I wouldn't have cared to look at it. And also like the Pieta, the Ecstasy is set off from where people can walk that any detail that makes the sculptures magnificent was lost on me.
By this point the sun was pretty much set and as I stepped into the Piazza della Repubblica, the lights on the building combined with the last glimmer of sunlight made for an amazing image.
On the piazza is the Santa Maria degli Angeli, a church which the phrase "don't judge a book by its cover" aptly applies. The facade of the Angeli is aged brick that looks worn from years and years of standing tall over the piazza. The Angeli, based soley on it's exterior, makes me think it belongs near the Colosseum and the ruins of Ancient Rome. I am however, very wrong.
The interior of the Santa Maria degli Angeli is quite magnificent and it is HUGE!!! Not as large as St. Peter's or Notre Dame but much larger than the other "regular" churches I'd visited. The dome was goregeously symmetrical and it was one of the first where I placed my camera in the center of the floor to try and get a perfect picture. I think it turned out pretty well.
Santa Maria degli Angeli was a very round church. The center under the dome was circular and there were only a few rows of chairs set out for parishoners. There were small chapels to either side, both circular as well. And the altar wasn't a real circle but had rounded walls. What astounded me the most was how new modern it looked even though the facade was so aged in appearance. The marble was similar to that of St. Peter's and the vaulter ceiling heights were enormous. In the picture below you can see a person standing behind a table in the lower left so you can see how large this church was.
It was completely dark by the time I'd exited the Angeli and I completed my short walk back to the hostel. My first day touring Rome was complete and it was definitely a success. I saw everything I'd planned and still made it back to the hostel for the free pasta dinner. Woot. The one observation I continued to notice throughout the day was how noisy Rome was compared to Paris. Rome was like an American city with loud drivers and lots of horn honking. The large amount of mopeds and motorcycles added to the volume as well. Though I'd only spent 2 days in Paris, the change in volume from city to city was interestingly noticeable.