Our Italian escapade… roaming the streets of Rome…

The first time I visited Rome… which was about 18 years ago… I have to admit that I did not like it very much. At least, not as much as I liked Paris which I visited at the same time during my longest holiday trip abroad (when I spent nearly a month in Europe). I would have stayed longer if my boss had granted me longer leave… but one month was the max that he was willing to let me enjoy myself away from work! Oh well… šŸ™‚

I suppose being young (and maybe a little romantic?)…Ā my expectation of the Eternal City was a little too high. I had enjoyed visiting the Coliseum… but as to the rest of the city (that I got to see during my first trip there)… somehow I remember being a little disappointed by it and not liking it as much as I had thought I would. So I did not set too high an expectation for my second visit to Italy’s capital city. I was only excited about going there… because we were to meet and spend some time with my former colleague and good friend.

But the city surprised me this time. Or maybe it was the travelling with the hubby and this friend of mine which made the difference? šŸ™‚ This time round… I enjoyed my visit to Rome and found myself liking it a lot more than I did the first time… if I exclude one or two minor things that irritated me, that is! And I know that the hubby certainly enjoyed showing me around… because I had never walked as much as I did in this holiday! My heels are still feeling the after effect of too much walking which we did in Rome, Siena and Venice!

But as a history buff… it is nice to know that we managed to visit at least 5 world famous sites that are listed in UNESCO list of world heritage sites in this holiday… the first being the historical centre of Rome.

Now what to see and do in Rome, you might wonder… or rather what did we see and do in Rome? Well… other than gorging ourselves silly on pasta (one of my favourite foods), pizza (one of the hubby’s favourite foods) and enjoying the famous Italian gelato (ice cream)… we managed to cram in some sightseeing time during our short stay in Rome to see the following places… (as usual, feel free to click on the photos to make them bigger and enjoy them more fully ;-))…

The usual tourist haunts like the Spanish Steps (Piazza di Spagna)…

…which was really crowded…

…day or night…

… even at close to midnight!

Then… there was…

Piazza Navona… (in the middle is Bernini’s famous Fontana dei Fiume,Ā Fountain of the Four Rivers, whose four muscular figures represent the Danube, the Nile, the Ganges and the Rio de la Plata, which stand for the four continents, with the church ofĀ Sant’Agnese in Agone in the background)…

… a baroque square popular for its fountains, its ensemble of pastel-coloured buildings espousing the contours of ancient Roman race grounds (Circus Agonalis), its church designed by two rival architects and its general ambience… I remember having a tortufo ice cream when I was here 18 years ago! :-)…

… but which somehow has turned into an artist enclave… not unlike Montmatre in Paris… since the last time I visited it…

… with street performers.

And a visit to Rome is not complete without seeing the…

… iconic Coliseum, of course…Ā Ā although it was the hubby that insisted that we stopped here on our way back from Tivoli … on our second day in Rome šŸ™‚

I didn’t think that I would enjoy visiting the area around the Coliseum again since I had already seen it before and I had even had a look inside the Coliseum… but I did.

And it was also nice to re-visit this Triumphal Arch of Constantine… just beside the Coliseum.

However… it was the ruins of the Roman Forum (the centre of the Ancient World) near the Coliseum that caught my interest more. šŸ™‚

The last time I was here, I was with a group tour… so there was no time to visit the areas near the Coliseum. But this time round… I was quite happy to be able to see some of them… although we could not stay there too long as we had a dinner appointment with my friend.

It was too bad that with the numerous photo takings that we did at Villa d’Este earlier on… the battery of my camera decided that it was time for it to take a good long rest when we reached the Coliseum… darn!!

However, thank God for handphone… although unfortunately the camera function of my new handphone (which I bought second hand… yeah, yeah… I am a cheapskate, I know :-)) was not working as well as it should! But still got some nice photos to keep as memento lah! hehehe…

And then… another site which the hubby insisted that we should go to and see earlier on the same day…

A smaller version of the giant pyramids found in Giza, Egypt… called (for obvious reason) La piramide (di Caio Cestio), Ā near Porta San Paolo.

This pyramid (the only one in Rome) was the tomb ofĀ Caius Cestius, an important Roman magistrate who lived in the 1st century BC. It was incorporated in the Aurelian Walls (271 -275), which probably helped it withstand the passing of centuries. The Protestant Cemetery containing the graves of the famous English poets John Keats andĀ Percy Bysshe Shelley is located behind the pyramid/Aurelian Walls.

Porta San PaoloĀ (Saint Paul’s Gate), whose Roman name wasĀ Porta Ostiensis. This gate Ā marked the beginning of the important via Ostiense, which connected Ancient Rome to the port of Ostia.

And we also went to see this building… twice.

TheĀ Pantheon… originally builtĀ as aĀ templeĀ to all the gods ofĀ Ancient Rome, it was laterĀ converted into a church: Santa Maria della Rotonda. However, this building mostly dates back to the Roman emperor Hadrian (it replaced a temple built by Marcus Agrippa whose name is still visible on the front) and is generally considered to be one of the best preserved monuments of ancient Rome.

The first day when we were there… we came too late and it was already closed by the time we got there. So I was only able to admire the building from the outside. Ā It was really impressive.

We were luckier the second day… in terms of getting into the Pantheon. Unfortunately… as it was the same day that we visited Villa d’Este… by the time we got to the Pantheon in the evening, I had only my handphone camera to rely on… which, as I said earlier, was not exactly reliable!

And that is why… no nice pictures of the inside of the Pantheon and its splendid rotunda (which until 1965 was the world’s largest concrete dome) to share lah!

During our long walks around the historical centre of Rome… we also came across the following…

Santa Maria Maggiore… one of Rome’s oldest churches…which unfortunately weĀ did not visit (it is well known for its beautiful interior and mosaics)…

as well two other interesting looking churches near and around the area.

These are the four fountains located at the busy junction of Via del Quirinale and Via delle Quattro Fontane.

A close-up shot of two of the four fountains – representing the goddesses Diana and Juno. You can see the intricate details of the carvings… very very nice.

I also love these triangular-shaped buildings. The building in the third picture, especially, has a very pointed end!

And… a condominium… of the ancient style. A far cry from what we now consider a condominium, is it not? šŸ™‚

And in case you didn’t know… Rome is built on seven hills… so you can see plenty of roads going up and down. It was really nice to be able to see the far ends of long roads!!

And of course… some of the less significant details which nevertheless caught my attention during our looong walk around the historical city…

I was happy to see all these planters fixed onto the exterior walls of many of the buildings in Rome. A nice idea… although I think it is a little impractical when it comes to watering the plants! While some are left empty or filled with plastic plants… others are filled with real potted plants. Hmmm… I wonder how do they water these plants… using a ladder maybe? But what I consider a gem of a find… for me lah… was to see this particular window filled with plants (the picture on the far right). Now… who says that you must have a proper balcony to grow lots of plants! šŸ™‚

On the left is the ice cream standee… which can be seen at many of the gelateria (ice cream shops) not only in Rome… but also elsewhere in Italy. While on the right is one of several mini buses that ply the narrow and small streets in the historical centre of Rome. Ā We saw the same buses in Siena, too.

So… as you can see… there is a lot of things that you can see and visit, on your own… even if you only have less than 2 days in Rome. We spent the major part of our second day going out of Rome… into the region of Tivoli… at the suggestion of my friend. And I was so glad that we did so… which you will see why… when you see the pictures. šŸ˜‰

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Other entries part of ‘our Italian escapade’:

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4 thoughts on “Our Italian escapade… roaming the streets of Rome…

  1. Pingback: Our Italian Escapade Roaming The Streets Of Rome Just Sharing

  2. Pingback: Why add another blog to the millions already around? « paulzan

  3. Pingback: Why add another blog to the millions already around? « paulzan

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