roaming the streets of Rome

Posted from Rome, Lazio, Italy.

Throughout Rome there are courtyards of the past preserved between the streets.

Throughout Rome there are courtyards of the past preserved between the streets.

The streets of Rome in the morning are spectacular. The cobblestoned passageways are virtually empty, void of the people from the previous evening, though the party favours litter the streets. The sun creeps over the high buildings, conjuring fantasies of bygone eras, and characters my imagination insists once existed. All but for the trickle of early-risers on their way to work, Rome romances me each step across Ponte Sista and on, as the city slowly comes to life.

The busiest places are the coffee shops or pasticcerias. Coffee in Rome is quite cheap when compared to NZ. A single shot of espresso can often be found for just 1€. After my day yesterday, I needed some coffee.

The Pantheon wasn't very popular that morning.

The Pantheon wasn’t very popular that morning.

I was on my way to the Borghese Galleria. I tried to plan my walk there to pass the Trevi Fountain and the Pantheon. But the streets of Rome bend and curve, which often led me somewhere other than where that shortcut was meant to take me. Luckily I found myself at the Trevi Fountain by absolute accident. Seeing it in the morning is the best. There were possibly a dozen people there, compared to the nearly 200 I encountered later in the afternoon. I threw in a coin in the fountain because I had read somewhere that this was the thing to do. I later read that I did it wrong.

The best time to visit the Trevi fountain is in the morning.

The best time to visit the Trevi fountain is in the morning.

According to my map the Pantheon wasn’t too far away, so I made my way in its direction. While it was not yet open, I felt my private viewing of it was a bit of a gift from Rome for making her feel so loved early in the morning. My stay was brief, though, as time was ticking and I had to find my way to the Galleria in time for my reservation.

The Galleria and surrounding lands were originally owned by the Borghese family for hundreds of years, and sold to the Italian government in 1902. To say the priceless collection and casina are magnificent would be inaccurate. They’re so much more. I’m not a massive art lover, but I love history, and sometimes the only connection we can find to the past is through the eyes of others. In this case it was the pieces Senor Borghese and his family chose through the centuries, the decisions I imagined that were behind them, the events of the past that led to the retention of these pieces, and even the events that led to certain pieces to be acquired by other entities, like the Louvre or Vatican.

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After a little more than an hour, I took my leave and somehow found my way to the Spanish Steps – which were under construction. Pity. I had really wanted to get that iconic photo of eating a baguette or some other Italian delicacy while sitting on the steps, but it was not to be. But there i was, amongst hundreds of tourists, on the famous shopping street.

The streets of Rome come alive with people.

The streets of Rome come alive with people.

I decided I would do what I always do when I travel. I would walk through Rome. I wound my way through her streets, turning when I wished, and finding some sites along the way. There was Fontana del Tritone, San Carlo Quatro Fontane, Quirinae, and the Imperial Palace. I passed the Pantheon and the Trevi Fountain again, only to see them consumed by tourists. Even Piazza Navona was a different place. I got glimpses of the colosseum, and the Roman Forum – tomorrow’s adventure, and even climbed the steps to Ara Coeli.

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My Vivofit was telling me again that I had traipsed more than 20,000 steps so I decided to head home and rest my feet, but it had to be a scenic route. I wound my way along the Tiber River, romanticising the past by picturing sunny summer days some 2,000 years ago along her shores. How I love to walk through Rome.

Pizza at Dar Poeta. And, of course, wine.

Pizza at Dar Poeta. And, of course, wine.

The apartment was above a famous pizza shop called Dar Poeta, so I decided to give it a try before the evening rush kicked in. After I finished the entire pizza, and a few glasses of wine, I went upstairs and had a nap. For dinner I found a place and had spaghetti amatriciana, a typical Roman dish. I don’t usually eat pasta, so this was a big event for me.

Tomorrow I had a tour booked to see the basement and the third level of the colosseum, so sleep was imperative. Plus, I had walked like a legend the past two days, and tomorrow would be no different, so off I went to bed to dream of bygone times and ancient civilisations.

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