Gary and I are back from Roma. I apologize for not blogging. We were just so busy I didn't have time! More pics to upload after I get caught up with things. Ciao!
Saturday, March 10, 2012
Tuesday, March 6, 2012
After an uneventful flight Gary and I arrived in Roma about 8 am. It was raining just a little, which is typical for early spring. We caught a cab into town and arrived in good time at our apartment, the same one where I have stayed before. The place was ready for us, and all we had to do was sign the papterwork and get our keys.
We unpacked, got settled, rested a little, and did some quick shopping for coffee and weekly passes for ATAC, the public transportation service. An ATAC pass is good for unlimited rides on all Rome buses, trams, local trains, and the Metro. We caught the #8 tram from Trastevere to Largo Argentina, and in a few minutes were in the heart of Roma.
I have written before about the Area Sacra di Torre di Largo Argentina. This spot in central Roma is the site of four temples from the Roman Republic. Under the streets and shops on the Largo are the ruins of the Theater of Pompey, where Julius Caesar was assassinated in 44 BC. The Largo Argentina also houses the Roman cat sanctuary, and the ruins are always filled with cats playing and napping among the columns, steps and altars of the temples. Despite the drizzle we saw several cats there.
From Largo Argentina we walked up to the Pantheon, the great temple built by the emperor Hadrian. The immense dome, made in a single casting of concrete, was the largest dome ever built until the AstroDome in the 1960's. The Pantheon is also the site of the tombs of several famous Italians, notably the kings of Italy from the late 19th and early 20th century, the painter Raphael, and the composer Arcangelo Corelli. We left the Pantheon and walked a few blocks to Piazza Navona, one of the most beautiful and lively squares in Roma. The centerpiece of the piazza is the Fountain of the Four Rivers by Bernini, direclty in front of the church of Sant'Agnese in Agone, designded by Bernini's rival Borromini. Gary and I went in the church, famous for its sumptous marble interior. We admired the art inside Sant'Agnese, then left Piazza Navona and wandered through some of the narrow, winding medieval streets of the centro storico of Roma.
After walking a while, Gary and I came back to the south end of Piazza Navona. On a small street off the piazza is a leather shop, La Sella, where we have often purchased wallets and other leather goods. At La Sella we saw a great leather bag, just the size and style I have been looking for. Gary bought it for me as a birthday present! I'll post pictures of it when I upload photos.
The rain had mostly let up by now, and we returned to Trastevere to get ready for dinner. For our first night, we ate of course at Tony's on Vicolo del Cinque, where I have been eating for years. Tony is a friend of mine, and he greeted me as always with an Italian double hug and cheek kiss. We told him that we were in Roma for my birthday, and he said to come for noon dinner on Sunday and have "una gran festa per il tuo compleanno" (have a big party for my birthday). We ordered antipasti misti (mixed antipasti of grilled vegetables, cheese, prosciutto, salami, beans and olives), Gary had spaghetti alla carbonara with eggs, cheese and pancetta, and I had lamb grilled over oak. The food at Tony's is always great! We even split a dessert since it was our first night in Roma: a chocolate torta filled with mascarpone cheese and cream. Molto bene!
After dinner the rain was mostly over, so Gary and I walked around Trastevere a little, and went into the Basilica di Santa Maria in Trastevere, right aound the corner from our apartment. A service was going on, so we didn't stay in Santa Maria. We then headed back to our aparment for the night.
After a fairly eventful and pleasant trip, Gary and I have arrived at in Roma. More later!