Sunday, June 8, 2008

Rome, Day 12

All right! So we finally made it to Roma!!! To start with we had to find our B&B…wow! Driving in Rome isn’t bad, but parking…oh the parking! Basically, you look for a spot two or three cars deep where you can stop and not be in the flow of traffic (which incidentally means a two-lane one way street, will accommodate cars 4-5 wide). After finding the Vatican Holiday (our B&B near the Vatican), we checked in quickly (since we were double parked) and I headed off to find the rental place to turn in our little car. Actually not too bad, only a mile or so away (walking directly); but with all of the one way streets and flying scooters the drive over took a bit of time.

So, on the way back I picked up some flowers for my lovely wife; and she put them in a lovely vase…see the pics. ;-)

Then we headed down the street, past St. Peter’s Square, and the Castel St Angelo to the Piazza Novona. This is one of the most famous squares in Rome, and houses several fountains as well as the church of Sant’Agnese in Agone. The church is very misleading, as the façade makes it seem very large, but once inside you realize it is actually quite small.

We headed down the winding streets to the Pantheon, which is the best preserved building from Roman times in the city (built most likely between A.D 118-125). It also has a unique feature, a hole in the center of the ceiling which allows light into the large dome—supposedly very cool when it is raining! It also holds the grave of Raphael, among others.

We then left the Pantheon, and started walking towards the Trevi Fountain; which simply appears in front of you as you pop out into the small square in which it is located. The Trevi is very beautiful, and very touristy! For good luck, I flipped a coin over my shoulder into the fountain—and for my effort got hit in the head by someone else’s coin!!! ;-). Trevi is also a great place to find a café near and people watch. If you are there once the stores start closing, you will begin to see the swarms of peddlers selling knock off designer purses; we actually sat outside within earshot of the haggling and therefore found out how low they would go! ;-)

After dinner, which consisted of spaghetti, roast chicken, and potatoes; we headed towards the Piazza Spagna. The Spanish Steps are like many other sites in Rome, sometimes you will simply stumble upon them; even when you are looking for them!
Again, the Spanish Steps (in the Piazza Spagna) are very crowded and touristy, but worth a quick stop just to snap a few pictures!

Once we were through taking our pictures, it was off to the Piazza del Popolo. This is one of the largest squares in Rome, and traffic free (cars are routed around the outside of the square); so you can walk out in the middle and bask in the beauty of it (without worrying about getting run over by a scooter!). On the east side of the square are the Pinchio Gardens, which provide a great view of St Peter’s as well as the rest of Rome. These gardens have definitely seen better days (quite a bit of graffiti), but are still very nice nonetheless. The gardens hold many treasures, including a ton of sculptures—some of which had their noses covered by some environmental group.

We then strolled back to our hotel, to get some rest; and get ready for tomorrow!

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