A Taste of Italy: Part 3 – Roma Day 1

Posted: 10 June 2015 in Travel
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Piazza del Popolo and view of Rome

Day 6

Fontana delle Naiadi

Fontana delle Naiadi

Rome. And so my trip came full circle. As much as I enjoyed seeing Firenza, Pisa, and Siena, I was ecstatic to be back in Roma. We arrived early in the day to get as much seen as possible. As John had already been there for a week prior to my arrival, I let him lead me.

After we dropped our stuff off at the Yellow Hostel, we headed towards Fontana di Trevi. On the way, we passed the gorgeous Fontana delle Naiadi. As I’ve stated many times, I love fountains. So there was no way I could walk by without admiring it. It is located in the middle of a roundabout in Piazza della Repubblica and is considered by many to be one of the most beautiful fountains in all of Roma. I must say I would have to agree with them.

Fontana di Trevi

Fontana di Trevi

From there we continued west to Via Barberini, then Via del Tritone (which has another lovely little fountain where the two streets connect). I’m glad John was there leading me. There was so much to see that I may have never made it to any of the places he took me on this day.

Fontana de Trevi is located down a small alley called Via Della Stamperia. The crowd around the fountain was massive. And it is no surprise. The Trevi Fountain in incredible! Legend has is that the source of the fountain was found when an unknown virgin woman met some Roman soldiers and led them to it to recover. The fountain has been around for over two centuries, although the current one was only constructed in the 17th-century. It’s crazy to think that such an amazing piece of art as this is located in such an obscure location. We worked our way down to the water’s edge and marvelled.

Colonna di Marco Aurelio

Colonna di Marco Aurelio

From there we continued west towards the Pantheon. And again I was distracted by the many amazing sights. I kind of felt like my little sister. She loves taking like a million pictures of everything (check her out here and/or here). One cool thing was the Colonna di Marco Aurelio. What makes this column so cool is not only the awesome design work, but the fact that is has been standing in the same spot for over 1800 years! From what I’ve seen, that isn’t normal. So cool.

Right around the corner from the column is the Piazza di Montecitorio, which has an obelisk. I’m surprised at how many obelisks I see as I travel through Europe. Well, Egyptian items. I’ve seen an obelisk in Paris and a temple in Madrid. This one came from Heliopolis. It was erected in the 6th-century and brought to Roma in the 10th. Naturally, it was brought to be used as a gnomon (the part of a sundial that casts a shadow) for the giant sundial Horologium divi Augusti. Of course the sundial is not longer there, but at least the obelisk is.

The Pantheon

The Pantheon

I was somewhat shocked when we arrived at the Pantheon. I don’t know why. Suddenly, there it was in front of me. Such an impressive building. It was originally built as a temple nearly 1900 years ago, it was later used as a church when it was given to the pope at the beginning of the 7th-century. Like the Baptistry in Firenza, the building is circular. One big difference is that there isn’t a row of windows at the top letting in light. Rather, there is a large hole in the ceiling. Lets in an impressive amount of light though.

Next, John led me to Piazza Navona. We got there in the middle of the day when the piazza was in full swing. Honestly, it’s like a regular bazaar there. It’s not surprising considering what a big tourist spot it is. But unlike most of the other touristy places where people peddle their trinkets and other worthless novelties, there were many artists and other craftsmen there selling their wares.

Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi and Sant'Agnese in Agone

Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi and Sant’Agnese in Agone

The piazza is also a visual splendour. There is so much there to experience and I sadly didn’t get to do half of it. That’s what happens when you only have a couple days and are trying to hit all the big sites. Anyway. The piazza was constructed in the 15th-century in place of the Domitian’s Stadium, which was built in the 1st-century. Evidently, there are tours to see remnants of the stadium. I would suggest going on them simply because it is something I want to do.

The centre strip of the piazza consists of three beautiful fountains. On the south end is the Fontana del Moro, on the north end is the Fontana del Nettuno, and in the middle is the Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi. The two end fountains were constructed in the 16th-century while most of the statues weren’t added until the 17th. The middle fountain was built in the 17th-century by the same guy who added the statues to the other fountains. And naturally there is another obelisk.

One of the Angel statues on Ponte Sant'Angelo

One of the Angel statues on Ponte Sant’Angelo

Directly next to the Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi is the Sant’Agnese in Agone church. It wasn’t open when we first stopped by, but it was after we had lunch. We ate at the Cuccagna Pub in Via della Cuccagna. We largely ate there because they didn’t charge the silly cover charge most restaurants charge. Thankfully the food was really good.

On our way out of the piazza, we found the Sant’Agnese in Agone open so we checked it out. It was amazing. Sadly we couldn’t take pictures, but it was well worth the visit.

For our last stop of the day, we headed over to Piazza del Popolo. As we were still on the right side of the river and could have just headed north, we opted for the long way and crossed the river via Ponte Sant’Angelo. Come to find, the name comes from a legend where an archangel appeared on top of a mausoleum, now named the Castel Sant’Angelo. I’m one of the many who thought it was because of the angel statues. Nope. They were added centuries later. It is definitely something to check out.

Fontana di Trevi at night

Fontana di Trevi at night

We walked around the grounds of Castel Sant’Angelo and the Procura Generale della Repubblica and eventually wound our way to the Piazza del Popolo. This is by far the youngest sight we saw on this day by probably 1000-years despite the road itself being nearly 1800-years older than the gate, which is the oldest structure in the piazza. Pretty crazy. And naturally, there was an obelisk. It was one of four we saw on this day alone. The fourth one was a short distance away at the Trinità dei Monti at the top of the Spanish Steps. I was feeling a little jealous. I want an obelisk now.

This is where I could say we ended our day. Obviously, we did quite a bit, but we didn’t stop there. After chilling at the hostel for a bit, we decided to search out a place to eat. We wanted to have dinner at somewhere other than an Italian place and were lucky enough to stumble upon the Ristorante Cinese Risorgimento on Via Vicenza. It was very good and not very expensive (also no cover charge).

Once darkness fell, we decided to see some of the sights at nighttime. Everything looks very different at night. We stopped by two places: Monumento Nazionale and Fontana di Trevi. I was surprised to see how many people were still at Trevi Fountain. Most probably had the same idea we had. I really suggest visiting some of the sights at night. With another early day planned, we only saw the two before heading back. Such a cool experience.

  1. Erin says:

    Who doesn’t like to take pictures? Lol. I love hearing about your trips and seeing your photos. They’re beautiful.

    Liked by 1 person

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