Day 30 – Roma
- Barb: Atmospheric
- Mike: Tiber
- Jen: Afoot
- Barb: Nighttime Roma
- Mike: Obnoxious vendors
- Jen: Keyhole view
- Bonus: Crap map (Every visitor has one. They’re free, they’re terrible—ads cover important info—but, in the end, they are good enough.)
Three or Four Words
- Barb: Liked the sacred music
- Mike: Rome: day and night
- Jen: Ancient receding-gum roads
- Barb: Easter at St. Peter’s was much less of a madhouse than I was expecting.
- Mike: Easter at the Vatican comes complete with trinket hawkers, hotdog and pizza vendors, and plenty of gawkers (guilty).
- Jen: Rome without all the trash, homeless people, beggars, and pushy peddlers would be better.
Oy. I did not sleep much last night. This place is noisy. There were city noises—all those locals and visitors enjoying Trastevere’s pubs and restaurants; there were neighbor noises—the upstairs neighbors had friends over for a loud time; there were building and apartment noises—I can get used to loud regular sounds, but our heater has a surprising array of different and irregular noises, and who was banging on the wall with a broom handle right by my head? Oh, that’s not what it was? Well, that’s what it sounded like.
And I was cold. The noisy heater and blankets never solved that problem, so I got up and put on some warm layers. Ahhhh, that helped.
Nonetheless, we were up at 6:00 a.m. to enjoy Easter morning in Rome before the masses (pun intended). Well rested or not, this is my favorite time to be out and about.
As on previous days in Rome, our plan was simply to walk hither and yon and see as much of the city and as many sights as we could. Today, our selections from the sightseeing smorgasbord included the following, in this particular order:
- Trastevere, because we’re staying here, because it’s near the Ancient Center.
- Ponte Sublicio, “ponte” means “bridge.”
- Knights of Malta and the Keyhole View, I’m still confused about what, exactly, the Knights of Malta is or are. It’s a group of people. It’s a religious order. It’s a sovereign state. Right? Wrong? Feel free to educate me.
We heard about the Keyhole View from Barb’s friend, Kelly. It wasn’t in our guide books, and we were relying on remembered directions and luck to find it. It was touch and go for a while, but sure enough, we happened upon it.
Don’t you wonder who first noticed this view and how that discovery was then developed into this?
- Circo Massimo, Circus Maximus, where chariot races were held.
- Boca della Verita, the Mouth of Truth at Santa Maria in Cosmedin (as seen in Roman Holiday).
- Ponte Palatino—Isola Tiberina—Ponte Fabricio—Tiber River. The Ponte Fabricio is the oldest Roman bridge, built in 62 BC, still in its original state. Yes, we walked across it, and it didn’t collapse. That’s some quality construction, folks.
- Campo de Fiori, Field of Flowers, where we would have had lunch or dinner if the recommended restaurant had been open, but, of course, it wasn’t. Historically, this was a rough place. Caravaggio killed the opponent who beat him at a game of tennis here; the goldsmith Cellini murdered a business rival here; and philosopher Giordano Bruno was burned at the stake for heresy in 1600 because he suggested the earth moved around the sun. (Oops, their bad.)
- Piazza Navona, surrounded by palaces and cafes, filled with artists hawking their wares, and decorated with three large fountains, including Bernini’s Fontana dei Quattro Fioumi (Four Rivers), considered one of his finest works.
- Ponte St. Angelo to St. Peter’s Square, for a bit of Easter mass on the Square.
The approach to St. Peter’s Square was littered with hotdog, pizza, and gelato vendors; souvenir carts filled with cheesy stuff, including the requisite Superman and Sponge Bob t-shirts (the perfect reminder of your trip to Italy); beggars; street performers (in case mass isn’t entertaining enough); and gawkers. Audio was piped out to the crowd, and the music was particularly nice at that volume, filling the wide, outdoor space. We expected a much bigger crowd than we found, but it was still more than we wanted to contend with for long. Smoke, smoke, smoke everywhere is, as you know, my big complaint; although, I am well medicated this time to minimize the effects, and it’s helping.
- Piazzale e Passeggiata del Gianicolo, a park on Gianicolo Hill with views out over the city and monuments to Giuseppe Garibaldi and his wife, Anita. Every day, a shot fired from a canon here marks 12:00 noon, precisely. I admit I’m skeptical about the precision—not Italy’s strong suit—but we did, indeed, hear it today at what might have been the precise time.
Home for lunch, a long nap, and dinner. And then a wonderful nighttime stroll.
- Ponte Garibaldi
- Teatro Marcello, an unexpected discovery for all of us. This is an ancient ruin in the middle of modern Rome. I think it’s being actively excavated now. Seeing how the old was incorporated into the new fascinates me.
- Campidoglio, to look at the illuminated Forum.
- Colosseum, in night lights.
- Parco di Constantino
- Circo Massimo, again, because it’s on the way home.
Home to bed, ever so grateful for my healthy legs and feet.