shops & Diocletian Baths

We have only one goal today: visit some fashion stores and look at Italian fashion and shoes. We set off around eight towards the center of town and have a vague plan to have breakfast on the way. It looks like there is some kind of running competition going on somewhere, parts of the road are blocked for cars, fun for the pedestrians. We aim west and wander through the town, seeing some of the same streets and churches and enjoying the calm sunny morning. Today is a national holiday and it’s pretty quiet at this early hour. We decide to have breakfast at the charming hotel Raphael near Piazza Navona, it’s part of the Relais & Chateaux group and has an extensive buffet and spend almost two hours enjoying the food and chatting. It turns out their food is exclusively organic and they have a vegetarian restaurant on the top floor. We make reservations for Sunday evening.

Walking out, we navigate by choosing the most charming option at each crossroads. We have another look at the Pantheon, discover impressive piazzas and chiesas and stumble by accident on the Colonna di Marco Aurelio, an impressive commemorative pillar from Roman times. We find a seat out of the sun to learn its history from Wikipedia, taking the opportunity to finally figure out what Campus Martius is, which we’ve seen pop-up in several articles.

the recently renovated by Belgian architect Vincent Van Duysen Rinascente store

In the 14.000 square meter Rinascente department store, we browse through the many fashion brands, acquire beautiful shoes and underwear (with a 20% discount, we have no idea why) and have a delicious organic meal in the food court.

Here we take some time to plan out the rest of the afternoon, we find out there is some impressive modern architecture around – might visit tomorrow – find the location of the other famous roman pillar and make a plan for the rest of the afternoon. Fortunately our purchases fit neatly into one easy to carry bag, so we continue our trip on foot. We do another pass by the Trevi Fountain (still very pretty, still very busy) and make our way to the Piazza Venezia. We’re in awe of the Trajan Forum and the view towards the Roman Forum and Colosseum, I’ve seen some impressive roman buildings before but these are just so much bigger!

From here we go up and down the hills to reach the main station. There is a suspicious amount of police and army on the road, turns out there is a demonstration going on. Loud, but looks pretty peaceful, so we make our way through the protesters to find the entrance to the Baths of Diocletian, an oasis of rest in the busy area around the station. Almost no tourists here, so weird, the whole thing is hugely impressive. The museum doesn’t actually access the interior of the baths themselves, since the structures of the frigidarium and tepidarium were reused by Michelangelo as the basis for a new church. Honestly, the amount of churches per square meter here is astounding.

Subway back to the hotel, dinner (again, I know) at La gianfornaio, then the usual tasks in the hotel room: sorting the pictures (no big camera today, so only cell phone photos), writing this blog and organizing our Sunday.

  • Total steps today: 19891
  • Total km today: 11,8
  • Flights climbed: 6 floors (Rome is hilly)

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