This morning Michael needed to meet his host at the University at 9:30, so we left the apartment about 8:30 to make our way there. We first needed to get to the Barberini metro station and, of course, we managed to walk the wrong direction and ended up adding an extra 1/2 mile to our trip because of it……we have it figured out now….turn LEFT at the intersection and then right and into the station. DO NOT turn right, left, left ,left and then into the station!!!
We decided to purchase a week pass that works for all forms of Rome transport and were happy to be able to figure out the automated ticket window and finally figured out how to insert money….it tells you which bills it wants you to insert…you don’t get to decide!!
When we got to the Metro tunnel, there were two signs each pointing in the same direction, but listing different directions that the train would go, so we chose one and hopped on the train. Fortunately, it was going the correct way!! We changed trains at the Termini station (main Metro and Rail station in Rome) and caught the next train to the Policlinico station. We had trouble pronouncing this station name until we learned that it is at a large medical area (thus…poli (many)…clinics). One funny thing that I noted was that when you are on the escalator, the arm rest moves faster than the stairs so your hand moves slowly away from your body!!!!
We walked about 1/2 a mile and found the Piazza that Maretta was meeting us at. She is a stereotypical middle-aged Italian woman but is full of energy and excitement. She drove us to an electronics store where we purchased a coffee maker and iron. We walked back to her car and I saw a couple of stores that sold some of the other supplies that we had yet to find, so they left me there and I finished my shopping and traveled back to the apartment.
After a few minutes to cool off, I decided to get out and see a bit of Rome. I started by walking toward the Trevi Fountain. I like how Rick Steve’s describes it…..”you hear it long before you see it”. It is in the middle of tall buildings containing churches, shops and businesses. It is a MASS of people, all trying to make their way to the edge so that they can throw a coin into the fountain (coin in right hand and thrown over left shoulder)…..note the woman at the bottom of the photo!!!!!
I walked thru the crowd and found a good vantage point and spent about 20 minutes just watching people. The American’s were the funniest as they tried to get large groups of people together to throw their coins at the same time….and take a photo of this event. People get very creative when taking photos and I saw one girl climb on one of the pillars so that her companion could take a photo of her and the fountain.
The fountain is actually quite beautiful…..
I was also greeted at the fountain by the Statue of Liberty. This man stood here for at least 3 hours (that I saw)….hope he made lots of money…..
I walked around the fountain, intending to just stroll in one direction. The next thing that I knew, this wonderful column appeared. I first thought that it was Trajan’s column, but in looking at a map, have decided that it was simply some column depicting some victory somewhere!!! Having said that, it sure looks a lot like the photos of Trajan’s….guess I will have to walk to the other Piazza and see if there is another one!!!
The Pantheon was originally built as a pagan temple, but has now been turned into a church. However, it doesn’t have the feel of a church. The others that we have visited have been quiet, solemn, you couldn’t take flash photos and I had to cover my shoulder before entering…..not so here. It was loud, busy and NOT reverent!! Also the other churches have a large font that contained the water that people used to cross themselves before entering. Here it was simply a small bowl of water…..
The most interesting part to this building is the hole in the roof which appears to be the only source of light for the building. I would love to be there as the sun is going down to see how the shadows change. I spent a long time watching the shadows that appeared on the walls as the clouds moved in and out. Needless to say, I took a few photos of those as well…..
I was really enamored with the way that the inset squares changed as the light moved.
It was interesting to think that these works of art were basically open to the elements. I did read that the marble floor has a concave center which allows all of the water to move to the center of the floor. There are small holes in the center of the floor that allow the water to drain. It would be sort of fun to be there in the rain!!!!
Just past this area, there was another church…..Santa Maria Sopra Minerva. It was typical of most churches that we have been in. There were magnificent frescos or paintings on the walls, gorgeous stained glass and a crypt containing the Saint’s remains.
I like this altar where people have purchased candles and lit them in prayer. In many of the churches the “candles” are actually electric ones and one lights when you put your money into the slot. These were real candles…..
My favorite part of this church were the kaleidoscopic stained glass windows(they look prettier if you click on them to make them bigger)…..
As I returned to our apartment, I decided to simply follow the signs to the Trevi Fountain rather than following along on the map. As I walked, I discovered that they dont take you along the shortest route, but rather make you walk past a whole series of restaurants and shops…..each with a hawker out front trying to get you to come in. What a great market ploy.
As I got closer, I started noticing numerous signs in the shop windows noting how far it was to the Fountain. I feel sure that these shopkeepers were tired of tourists asking questions!!
Dinner consisted of left-overs from the night before, but with a new salad with Oil and Vinegar dressing.
A wonderful day!!!!!