This morning, our first objective was to buy train tickets to Pompeii for Tuesday. We don’t have a bus map, but we succeeded in getting back to the main train station by taking the same bus we took to get to the apartment on Friday, in the opposite direction. This was a great success.
On our way to the bus stop, we came across a display of ruins in the Piazza Argentina, then read the plaque and found out they contained the place Julius Caesar was assasinated. I’ve attached a picture.
At the train station, we got good tickets for Pompeii, and pastries and espresso for breakfast. From there, we took our first excursion on the Rome Metro. We ended up hiking for what felt like a quarter mile underground to pick up the A Line metro, south towards the Via Appia Antica.
Once we got off the metro, we embarked on foot to find the park the Antica runs through. We were walking through a normal, everyday Roman neighborhood, and noticed that while the touristy areas in the city center have “SPQR” on every manhole cover, there is much less of that kind of branding as you get out into the rest of the city.
We stumbled upon a great little park containing some Roman ruins. After looking around, we asked the guy at the park information desk how to get to the Appia Antica, and he explained to me in a mix of Italian and broken English that it was too far to walk, and told us where to catch the correct bus. The bus took us to the middle of the park, where we had two walking tours to chose from: one focusing on tombs going in one direction, and one focusing on crypts in the other. We chose the tombs.
The walk was beautiful. The trees are green, and there are gigantic aloes that look so dramatic, we agreed that if any of them said, ” Feed me, Seymour” we would take off running.
We saw the ruins of many imposing tombs, and also enjoyed a nice walk through the peaceful and relaxing park. There were people out biking, walking, and enjoying the sunshine like we were.
Once at the end of our walk, we found a bus stop, but couldn’t figure out whether the bus ran on Sundays. Just as soon as we had decided that the bus definitely didn’t run on Sundays, it turned the corner and proved us wrong.
We returned to the city center for lunch and cold Italian beer at a little caffeteria. From there, we began our second tour for the day, centered around the sculptures and city architecture of Gian Lorenzo Bernini.
Unfortunately, Santa Maria della Vittoria was closed for lunch, so we didn’t get to see The Ecstasy of St Theresa.
We toured the area around the Piazza Barberini, and saw several fountains built by Bernini and others.
A couple of nights ago, we thought we found the Piazza Trevi, and in it found no crowd to speak of and a nice but not exceptional fountain. This tour took us to the correct Piazza Trevi and the correct fountain. (In fact, the “wrong Trevi Fountain” was a smaller fountain that was not too dissimilar to the back wall of the real Trevi fountain)
The crowd was insane. Yet again, I was wondering what it could possibly be like in the summer.
We finally made it to the Pantheon next. What we probably should have known, but our guidebooks failed to mention was that the Pantheon had been converted to a Catholic church. It’s spectacular inside, and I took a series of pictures all the way around inside that I’m going to try to stitch together into a panorama when I get home.
After the pantheon, we wandered around for a while, but ultimately we hated the crowds and were getting quite tired, so we decided to adjourn to the apartment for some beer and some time off our feet.
Since we had a late lunch, and some gelato in the afternoon, we decided to skip a formal dinner in favor of some sweets and house wine at a trattoria off of the Piazza Navona. The evening was lovely and it was fun to watch the people go by. I’ve attached a picture of the fountain in the Piazza.
For the statistics-lovers among you, today’s pedometer total is 30,136.
Tomorrow, we have 9:30 AM tickets to the Vatican museum and Sistine Chapel. If we have time in the afternoon, we’ve got a handful of sites nearby we’d like to tack on.