On the following two days, we ventured onto the other side of the Tiber. On Wednesday we did the northern half, while on Thursday we visited the oldest part of the city. Wednesday started a bit cloudy on the Piazza Venezia, we even had a few drops of rain around the Piazza Navona, but by the time we arrived to the Piazza del Popolo it was already too hot to stay in the Sun. The highlights of the day were the totally crowded Pantheon, the awesome but instanteniously melting ice cream we had at Giolitti, the Ara Pacis Augustae (the ‘Altar of Augustan Peace’, the only thing in Rome I had never heard of before our visit), and the small streets near the Trevi fountain (which was under massive scaffolding, so that we did not see at all).
For the following day, we had a guided tour for the Colosseum and the Forum Romanum booked well in advance, in order to avoid the queues. After a rainy morning spent playing Catan at our apartment, we took off. It turned out that besides us there was only one more couple in our group for the tour, which was a bit of a surprise, but then in the next few hours I got the impression that there are almost as many tour guides in this region as tourists… In any case, the Colosseum was very impressive, especially all the different tunnels and passageways through the structure. Then walking around the Forum really gave us the feeling of walking around in ancient times – with very little imagination necessary. I wish we could have seen the Forum around Augustus (not the month). Before taking the tram home, we still had a quick look at the Forum of Trajan and Augustus, bathing in the orange rays of the sunset. For dinner, we went to the same local pizzeria as on the first evening.
The next day we took the train to Florence, but that is something for the next post…
I am a ‘bit’ behind schedule with the blog, but as always, this only means that we have a busy life, or at least better things to do than writing things here. So let’s jump back a few months! We went on a late summer (based on the temperature, at least) holiday to Italy for 10 days (8-17 of September), starting with 3 full days in the capital. We had a really nice AirBnB apartment in the Trastevere region on the southwestern side of the city, with direct connection towards the centrum by tram, and in walking distance from a train station where the airport trains stop. We also got some great dinner recommendations from our host, so we had the opportunity to eat at really authentic places (where we were more or less the only non locals), and avoid the tourist traps. The pizzas and all the ice cream were always great. The weather was also perfect (maybe a bit too hot for me but not too bad), we had only one half day with rain during the full holidays, which we spent playing The Rivals for Catan (back then, Clio did not kick my ass every time yet, unlike nowadays).
The first day we visited the Vatican, where unlike all the lazy people who preferred standing in line for two hours instead of buying a ticket in advance on-line, we got into the Vatican Museum without one second of queuing. We spend quite some time staring at all the displayed artwork and the frescos of Sistine Chapel and beyond. After a quick lunch, we still went into Saint Peter’s Basilica before leaving the ‘country’. Afterwards we walked around the Castel Sant’Angelo before heading back to the hills of Trastevere. This was a much calmer area with small streets, nice parks, and great views towards both the city and the Vatican. We finished our first day after visiting the Basilica of Our Lady in Trastevere, which is (one of) the oldest catholic churches in Rome. We spent the next two days on the other side of the Tiber, but that is for another post… See a selection of pictures below, and even more on Flickr!