Travel Journal – Rome, Day Two

Our first full day in Rome!

We slept in before heading out to retrace our route along the river to catch the sights we saw last night, but this time in the sunshine!

Rome - first morning - Justice Palace

The Palace of Justice  in the day.

Rome - First Morning -  Bridge

Rome - Tree Bridge

In the picture above, you can see Castel Sant’Angelo in the distance.

Rome - first morning Carousel

J couldn’t figure out why I was taking a picture of this closed carousel but I was pretty charmed by it. It reminds me of a fair after closing hours, a sort of festive yet forlorn air about it.

It was Sunday and we saw lots of charming Italian families dressed in their Sunday best heading out for a meal after mass. We decided to join them and stopped at a restaurant to have our first round of pizza in Italy while watching waiters hang around in front of their various restaurants, chatting with each other, trying to attract tourists into their restaurants and flirt with all the pretty girls walking by.

We also saw these statues. I feel kind of bad for the one in the middle. He doesn’t have it so good.

Rome - First Morning - Statues

Piazza Navona Fountain

Piazza Navona is a large square featuring fountains, statues and amazing Baroque architecture. It’s another place that’s gotten fairly touristy now so it was also filled with lots of tourists and lined with restaurants and street stalls. Apparently, back in the day, the Romans used to close off the piazza and fill it up with water so they could erect mock naval battles. Crazy cool!

Piazza Navona

Piazza Navona Fountain Statues

From Piazza Navona, it was an easy short walk to our next destination, the Pantheon!

Pantheon Exterior

The Pantheon is such a beautiful, ancient place of worship, it’s hard not to feel awed as we walked inside. Like most of the other tourists, we spent much of our time gazing up at the oculus in the centre. It would have been amazing if we could have spent some time there alone at night below the oculus, I think!

Pantheon - Internal

Pantheon - Oculus

Like probably most people who didn’t take a guided tour in the Pantheon, I Googled how the water drains out of the Pantheon when it rains. If you look at the floor right below the oculus, you will see little holes through which the water runs out into drains below. Nifty engineering!

We moved on next to the Trevi Fountain which is another short walk away. Our hotel had supplied us with little maps of Rome and you can see every other tourist walking around, holding up similar little maps as well! The fountain was incredibly crowded with tourists, though, and we had a hard time taking pictures which gave us a good, clear view of the fountain itself!

Trevi Fountain

Trevi Fountain 1

After we were done taking pictures, we made our way down to the edge of the fountain where we spent some time chilling by the water. It felt so cool and refreshing against the heat of the day, we wished we could have dived in! Some other tourists must have the same idea because every now and then you heard an officer whistling sharply at someone, warning them off from whatever heinous activity they were attempting around the fountain. We couldn’t see, there were way too many tourists.

Our final stop for the day was the Spanish Steps. It was a little hard to figure out where they were though because it was hard to see them – the steps were completely covered with tourists!

Spanish Steps

As there were so many people and the day was getting quite hot, we decided against climbing up the steps. J, who’s been to Rome on a uni trip before, said the steps weren’t so crowded when he was there in the winter. So winter might be a good time to go see Rome if you’re okay with experiencing a chilly vacation rather than a warm one. Or you could wake up extra early to see the steps at a less crowded time – something which never happens with us!

We hailed a taxi near the Spanish Steps and headed back to our hotel for a much needed shower and a siesta!

Later that evening, we took a taxi back along the river to Trastevere, an area recommended to us by J’s Italian workmate for eating and drinking. It’s filled with lots of cobblestone streets and squares lined with restaurants and bars so you can just wander around and take your pick!

We settled on the first bar we saw and began a round of aperitivos! Basically the deal is, you order drinks at the bar and you also get to help yourself to whatever appetizers and little hors d’oeuvres the bar has available as well. Depending on which bar you go to, the appetizers could be really delicious or they could be generic stuff like little cocktail sausages and chips and nuts.

You could easily fill yourself up for the night on aperitivos but J and I were eager to try every kind of pasta we could get our hands on while in Rome so we set off next to find a restaurant.

We settled on a restaurant where we set in their little boxed-off alfresco area right across the cobblestone alleyway from a man who had set up a display of faux butterflies on the alley wall.

Butterflies

Butterflies - Zambrero

It was a really pretty sight. I was taking surreptitious pictures from our table all night long till J teased me about having a crush on the street seller! I also ended up running over to buy a few butterflies from him because he looked pretty bored just standing on the street, waiting for customers!

As usual, the pasta, along with the prerequisite basket of bread, filled us up heaps. We have never been so stuffed as we were throughout our entire trip in Italy!

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