Today is our last day in Rome.. Up at six thirty, packed/checked out and walking before eight. We don’t have a particular goal in mind, but the weather is beautiful so we’ll probably spend most of the morning outside. The only time constraint is our shuttle to the airport at two pm. We walk past Castel Sant’Angelo towards Saint Peter’s square, where the basilica is superbly lighted by the morning sun. No queues this morning, so we decide to visit church, it’s about the only must-see in Rome that we haven’t seen yet. It takes us three minutes to navigate the space reserved for the queue and get through the check point, to enter into the vast church itself. At the moment it is virtually empty, no seating for mass or praying except in some secluded chapels that are not accessible for tourists. The empty floor emphasises the enormity of the space: the nave is really really long and the ceiling really really high. We admire the many fine (and really big) sculptures, in particular the Pieta by Michelango, though nobody is allowed close. The ceiling is beautiful, coffered and gilded in some placed, painted with frescoes in others.
Back outside I take this final opportunity to send a post card via the Vatican mail system, my penpals are going to love this. Just when we’re walking over the Saint Peter’s Square, a bunch of fighter jets paints the Italian vlag over the sky. I assume it’s for the occasion for National Unity and Armed Forces Day.
We decide to explore some bits of town that we haven’t seen yet and make our way to the Campo de Fiori, where we have some yoghurt and fruit on a terrace in the warm sun. In a t-shirt! In November! We have a look at the Palazzo della Cancellaria and its hidden church and then continue on. We spot more roman rocks soon and find a bench to sit down and read the history of the area. Aside from the impressively tall roman remains of the Porticus Octaviae and the Theatre of Marcellus there is also the story of the ancient Jewish ghetto in this area. Onwards – after dozens of pictures – to the top of capitoline hill, where we have a great view of the imperial forums, palatine hill and the colosseum in the distance.
We’re getting hungry and tired so we turn our back to these impressive buildings for the last time and head back in the direction of the hotel. We stop to have a bowl of pasta in one of the many eateries in this shopping district and then take the long way back via Il Tempio di Adriano, the Pantheon church and Piazza Navona. A final stop at La Gianfornaio for a supply of Cantuccini and then to the airport with a hotel shuttle. We’re nice and early, no rush, unfortunately while we’re waiting at the gate the departure time keeps getting postponed. We’re now scheduled to depart around seven pm, but it’s not a sure thing yet..