- Fizzy Thoughts: Italy Trip: Day Eight

Italy Trip: Day Eight

Thursday, October 04, 2007

9/5/07

Today was all about wandering the city on foot. We started by heading back to the Pantheon. We were able to grab a seat inside and take it all in while listening to an iPod audio guide (this one was really good). The Pantheon was originally built by Marcus Agrippa and rebuilt by Hadrian. It was later given to the popes, who made it into a church, thereby saving it from destruction. It is also the burial place for Raphael, Vittorio Emanuele II and his son Umberto I (and his wife Margherite). The dome is amazing, the floor is the original marble, the niches once held statues of the gods of the planets.
After ogling the Pantheon, we walked in a circle looking for Piazza della Minerva to find the poor little elephant holding up on of the 13 obelisks the Romans brought back when they conquered Egypt.

Poor guy looks a little put out, doesn’t he? There is also a pretty spectacular church in this square.

From there we ended up at Piazza Sant’ Ignazio to stare at the big church. We didn’t go inside due to what looked like a convention of nuns. So we wandered through more narrow streets until we came to the Trevi Fountain. What a zoo! And those gladiators sure do get around – there were three at the fountain. I had gotten used to seeing them at the Colosseum, but they seem a little out of place at the Trevi Fountain. We took a few pictures, threw in our coins, peeked into a boring church, and fled the scene.
Next it was off to find the Spanish Steps, which also turned out to be a mob scene. The obelisk at the top is also covered up. Another disappointment, but certainly not uncommon. We climbed up the steps, then walked towards the Borghese Gardens, stopping to look out over the rooftops. We skirted the edge of the gardens, and briefly ventured inside, but the place is huge. Instead, we walked down the hill to Piazza del Popolo, where it looked like they were setting up for a big concert. (We found Saturday morning, as we were leaving Rome, that Saturday night was notte bianca.) We looked at the twin churches, and even went into one, but it was dark and small inside. We started down Via del Corso, which is a major shopping street. We cut over to get off the busy street and found ourselves at Piazza di San Lorenzo in Lucina, where we had lunch at Non Solo, a wine bar. Our waiter was Italian, but looked very American, with his red hair and ponytail, his chains and tattoos. Following lunch it was back to the Spanish Steps so mom could buy a purse she had seen for Lolo (my niece). Then we walked down the hoity-toity shopping street and looked at the windows of Fendi and Gucci and Ferragamo and other really expensive shops. We eventually found ourselves back over by the Tiber looking at the round, overgrown Mausoleum of Augustus, which has been a tomb, a fortress, a bullring and a concert hall. A multi-use facility. Mussolini had grandiose dreams of being buried there, but that didn’t quite work out for him. More meanderings around little streets eventually led us back to Piazza Navona and the apartment.

We actually had an early dinner at La Taverna del Ghetto, in the Jewish Ghetto, which pretty much sucked. Our pasta with peppers had no peppers. Bland, bland, bland. We did see American nuns eating French fries at a nearby table, which all seemed a little weird. Since dinner was so disappointing, on the way home we stopped at Il Fornaio to stock up/fill up on pastries. The ricotta tart with chocolate chips was the best.

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In a real sense, people who have read good literature have lived more than people who cannot or will not read. It is not true that we have only one life to live; if we can read, we can live as many more lives and as many kinds of lives as we wish. ~S.I. Hayakawa

The World is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.
~St. Augustine

Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness.
~Mark Twain

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