EuroAdventure Day 20: All around Roma
(posted by Emily)
Tuesday 15 July
Daily Step Count: 29,286
Tuesday was one of the first days that we truly allowed ourselves to sleep in. I closed the blackout shutters in our room, and set an alarm for 9:45, assuming we'd be up before then easily. Welp, we definitely slept until the alarm and hit snooze a few times :) I think we needed the sleep!
Our plan for the day was to check out the assorted Roman sites we could walk to from our hotel--which was almost everything! With no real itinerary, we decided to get breakfast at Campo di Fiori, a piazza down the street from our hotel with a morning market. It was fascinating to see the goods sold there, like dried pasta, olive oils and balsamic vinegar, limoncello and other liquors, sun dried tomatoes, and tons of fresh produce. We picked up some fruit cups, and ended up hanging on to the cups for water for the day.
|another water fountain at the market|
Up next was Piazza Navona, home to Bernini's fountain that pays tribute to the four rivers of the ancient world. For those of you who are Angels and Demons fans, this is one of the sites mentioned in the book. I've read the novel before, but decided to re-read it while on the way to and in Rome. It was so much fun to see all of the settings in real life!
We headed over to the Pantheon next, home to Raphael's tomb and the world's largest free standing dome until 1882. The space inside is huge, and there is an oculus at the top which allows light inside. The Pantheon used to be a pagan church, honoring Mother Earth until the Vatican repossessed it. They removed all of the pagan artwork, and you can still see the empty niches where the sculptures used to be.
We kept wandering after the Pantheon, and happened upon a Zara store (aka Rick's most favorite place). This was easliy our 4th or 5th trip in to a Zara since coming overseas, so I decided I finally had to document man in his natural habitat. We walked out with some new shoes :)
I was very excited to see Trevi Fountain, especially at night. I've seen pictures, and heard it is very beautiful, so we decided to check it out during the day, too. I was totally disappointed to find the fountain under renovation, no water in sight.
So much for the tradition of tossing in my coins to make sure we come back to Rome! As we walked away, Rick noticed a small display in front of the construction barriers--they had set up a small pool and a picture of the fountain, so tourists could toss their coins anyway, despite the renovations! I was excited to partake in the ritual, even if it was sort of silly.
We found a small restaurant near the fountain for lunch, and enjoyed bread and oil (I think Rick could eat that every day, at every meal), bruschetta, and pasta. I had gnocchi, while Rick had a dish with olives, asparagus, and tomatoes.
After lunch, we wandered up near the Villa Medici, and Rome's "Central Park." The park left a lot to be desired--lots of dirt and gravel--but we did happen upon some horsey friends in one shady corner.
The area around the Villa Medici is filled with marble busts of notable men, and lots of little food stands and bicycle rental stations. There was an old wood and plaster building still, and an incredible view overlooking Rome.
We knew there was another notable site nearby, and it turned out to be the Spanish Steps (you may recognize them from Roman Holiday!). They were packed with tourists, and there was a ton of high end shopping right across the street.
We stopped by CamBio Vita for some gelato and a cookie on our way back to the hotel for a foot/internet break. No picture because we ate it too fast, but we tried mixed berry and dark chocolate gelato, and got a chocolate and pistachio cookie.
After our break, we did some more wandering near the river. There is a small artistic neighborhood called the Travestere that we wandered through, stopping in their church. Then, we wandered near the river to see the old circus grounds--another somewhat disappointing green space.
On the banks of the river, there were tents set up over restaurants and shopping stalls. It was fun to wander down there, and I picked up a scarf from one of the vendors.
After wandering back to the Travestere, we stopped for dinner at a busy restaurant on the corner. The prices were cheap, and the food was okay. Not our favorite meal of the trip so far, but a fun experience nonetheless.
On the way back to the hotel, we enjoyed the evening light and winding streets. I even mangaed to pick up another scoop of gelato for dessert :)
Gelato Flavor Inventory:
Another great day in Rome! Shhhh, don't tell Paris and Brussels, but we like Rome better than them :)