Friday, September 09, 2011

Rome Vacation – Part 1

Here is my tale of Rome. I got in around 10am (all-night flight) but my hotel room wasn't ready yet so I left my luggage at the hotel and wandered around. The hotel was near the Trevi Fountain so that was my first stop.

The Fountain is a really nice place to just sit and relax, when you can finally find a seat. It's always crowded with tourists but I still found myself coming here many times over the course of my trip to chill out and eat the occasional gelato.

I wandered around for a couple more hours, first to the Pantheon

It’s an old Roman temple that was converted to a church, then during the Renaissance also used as a tomb for important artists and citizens. It contains the tombs of some of the Italian royal family, such as Victor Emmanuel II (the first king of a united Italy).

Then I went to a nearby French cathedral, San Luigi dei Francesi,

This is the first church I went into in Rome and as you can see it looks amazing. Little did I realize that all churches in Rome look like this, covered floor to ceiling with murals and paintings and statuary. Absolutely mind blowing. In this particular church there is one chapel that had a series of paintings of Saint Matthew by the Baroque master Caravaggio.

From there I went past the Piazza Navona

to a nearby café for a bit of lunch.

I then returned to my hotel, checked in, and slept for a couple hours. After an all-night flight I need to get a couple of hours sleep during the day to be functional and I figured sleeping through the heat of the afternoon would make it easier for walking around in the evening.

After I got up I spent the rest of the day wandering around the streets looking at various buildings and piazzas. Finally stopped at a restaurant in Piazza Colonna for dinner. It was packed and looked like a lot of locals were eating there so I figured the food would be authentic and good. I was right.

I had a very nice carpaccio followed by pasta. As you can see pasta portions are more reasonable than what you would get in North America. In Rome, pasta is generally considered just one course of a nice dinner (appetizer, pasta, entrée, dessert), not the entire meal, so you don't get a heaving plate of spaghetti when you order pasta.

Then I meandered back through the streets to the Trevi Fountain and relaxed for a while.

While I was there a young man proposed to his girlfriend. She was clearly surprised by the proposal (but with joy, she said yes), and everyone cheered, clapped, and yelled congratulations as the couple left. If you are going to find somewhere romantic to propose marriage the Trevi Fountain is certainly a cool option.

Stay tuned for Part 2.

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