Roma: 29th September

I started the day by walking around the corner from my hotel (literally, about 30 seconds’ walk) into the Piazza Venzia, where I basically nearly died from general wonderment.

The sqaure is a manic mass of cars, bikes and people, with so much traffic attempting to get through it that there was a dude directing traffic – I snapped a picture ‘cause he looked so elegant doing it, like a dancer:

The most stunning feature of the Piazza Venezia is the monument to Vittorio Emanuele II, who was the first king of unified Italy.

You can see just from the haze in the pictures how hot it was – it was 10 in the morning and already at least 26º – and the sun just bounced off all the marble.

Even from this early on in day I could tell what Roma was going to be like – a chaotic jumble of mismatched buildings from completely different periods of history.

On the right, just behind the monument is the ruins of the Forum – all my pictures of the forum were from a bus and sadly they’re all blurred.

I jumped on a  hop-on-hop-off bus behind the Monument and went for a ride around the place to orient myself.

We drove through the forum and towards the colosseum (or ‘coloseo’)

I didn’t actually end up going into the colosseum, partly ‘cause of the cost and partly ‘cause of the lines (one day I will go. It gives me an excuse to come back).

I’m pretty sure these next ones are of Palatine Hill, but it was a pretty whirlwind sort of a ride, so lots of the details have escaped me.

This is the medieval bell-tower of the Basilica dei Santi Giovanni e Paolo, which according to my wikipedia-ing skills has been around since 1084. That’s relatively new when you consider that the basilica has been around since the 4th century.

This is the Castel Sant’Angelo, which was originally built by Hadrian as a mausoleum and was eventually turned into a fortress.

And this is, of course, the Basilica Sancti Petri, which is the Pope’s main hangout and despite the fact that I was in Rome when I took the picture, was in a whole other state.

Weird.

(See! I wasn’t lying, I was actually there! Getting quite sunburned in fact).

The Pont Sant’Angelo and a pretty damn fine picture when you consider it was taken from a moving bus.

I have no idea what this church is, but it’s PWETTY.

This was taken at the Villa Borghese gardens – I have no idea what those trees are, but they’re awesome and a little creepy for some reason.

After the bus tour I hopped off at Piazza Barberini and got a look at Bernini’s famous Triton Fountain:

and wandered down the Via Veneto, stopping at one of the many restaurants for lunch (OMG you guys, I had lunch on the Via Veneto! EEEEEEE).

After lunch I wandered along to the Trevi Fountain, which was of course absolutely packed at 2-ish in the afternoon.

As you can see it was pretty much standing room only. Most guidebooks say to get there really early in the morning to avoid the crowds, but I actually felt that the crowds added to the experience rather than spoiled it. It was an energetic atmosphere.

I swear that seagull stayed there the whole time. It’s like he knew he was in a thousand holiday pictures.

I got myself a gelato and sat happily in the throng for a while.

After that I still had some energy so I made my way to the Pantheon:

It was so nice and cool to sit in the shade amongst the columns for a bit.

at the top of the dome is a little circle which has no glass or anything, it’s just open. Apparently it’s amazing to be in there when it rains, the water just comes down in a column in the middle of the temple.

After a brief stay in the Pantheon I walked back to the hotel down the Via del Corso.

Despite having had pizza for lunch, I had pizza for dinner as well. Needless to say I was a little pizza-ed out for a while.

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