around Piazza Navona

I haven’t quite figured out yet what the best blog format is for a city trip, I’m thinking that just a list of stuff we’ve visited might get boring, but on the other hand I want to be able to read in ten years time what we’ve done, so I guess there’s no way around it.

Up before six am, after a bad night’s sleep. I’m not sure if it was the stress of missing the alarm or the hard mattress, in any case I must have woken up and checked my clock at least five times. We hopped over the concourse to check in and then hopped back to the hotel to take a bit of breakfast. Departure and flight went smooth and we arrived before ten am to a cloudy but warm day in Rome. The driver of the ten person shuttle bus to the city center immediately proved one of the clichés about Italians: they drive like crazy. I must admit the cars around us seemed to behave pretty normally, but our driver did some extreme and rude maneuvering that got me car sick almost immediately.

Metro to the Prati quarter and check into our hotel room. We don’t need the room (it wasn’t ready anyway), but we do need the lady to help us get into the Colosseum! Martina was not immediately available, so we step out and grab a bit of lunch in Il gianfornaio, that we had already eyeballed on the way to the hotel. After some excellent pizza slices (this is not the same kind of pizza you would get in Belgium, but much better) and a glass of wine we go back to meet up with Martina. She’s very helpful and has us set up with a guided tour to the Colosseo, Foro Romano and Palatino monuments, exactly what we were hoping for. We don’t want to do much today, so we take a map, cell phones and a bottle of water each and start walking.

Using Wikipedia as a resource and Google maps as an occasional navigational aid, we wander through the old town center, sticking to the pedestrian areas. We let ourselves be tempted into having an ice cream (CamBIO Vita, delicious) and get some free advice about what to visit, but today we’ll just try to catch some of the highlights. The mausoleum of Hadrian is impressively big and old, the Piazza Navona is charming, the dome of the Pantheon is impressive, the Trevi fountain is indeed very grand (exceeded our expectations), the Spanish Steps on the contrary were a bit normal (as opposed to exceptional).

We buy extra bottles of water and some grapes and then head back to the hotel. We pass by the mausoleum of Augustine – it looks like it will be impressive once it’s renovating and accessible – and right next to it the Museo dell Ara Pacis, but we’re too tired to visit anything anymore and our feet are starting to hurt.

Back in the hotel before five, I have time to sort and clean up the pictures. Mom is using the big camera and I have some from the fish-eye on my cell phone, together they give a nice impression of the day. Dinner at Il Gianfornaio again – it’s close by, cheap and has decent food – and then early to bed.

  • Total walking distance: 11,4 km
  • Total steps: 17946

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