…not all together!
We started yesterday morning by walking to the end of our road, where the Colossuem is. See it there at the bottom?
We picked up some fairly pricey, but tasty, breakfast over the road from the Colossuem and sat marvelling at it’s size. At the bottom of our road, before you cross the road to the Colossuem, is a gladiator training ground. There was an underground passage for the gladiators to go direct from their training ground, to the rooms and corridors under the floor of the Colossuem. The emperor also used this corridor to get into the Colossuem to avoid the crowds in the piazza.
We then pottered over to the Roman Forum area where there were once lots of temples and senate buildings. It's amazing to think, as you wander past the little kiosks with their bunches of fruit and slices of coconut for sale, that thousands of years ago, the men and women who would shape our world were swishing about (swishing? did the Romans 'swish'?) in their robes, discussing points of law and bathing.
The world of two thousand years ago and the world of today coexist surprisingly well in Rome. Sometimes you forget the gravity of what you are seeing, the magnitude of these ruins and their importance, because the local Italians are going about their business as usual. Buses and trams snake around the edge of the Colossuem and life goes on as usual for the policemen hanging out by their cars in the Piazza del Rotondo, which houses the Pantheon.
On our way to the Pantheon, we happened across the Campo Di Fiore, an amazing market, selling everything that you imagine to be quintessentially Italian.
I found a man doing tasters of white truffle butter with crackers and was transported back a few weeks ago to my amazing truffle experience in London. Danda turned up his nose at this heart-stoppingly beautiful truffle butter and located instead some humorous pasta shapes.
Shortly after this, we were in the Piazza Navona, admiring street painters and debating which of the many gelatarias to buy our ice cream from.
We decided on one and asked the guy behind the counter which flavour was the best. He pointed out an illuminous blue one and when I looked closely at the flavour on the label it said Viagra! Viagra flavoured ice cream! Hilarious. Surprisingly, I opted for something else. Pistachio. It was amazing.
The fountain in the Piazza Navona is huge and impressive. In fact, everything in Rome is huge and impressive. They seem to take the original plans of the building before they start it, zoom it by at least 200%, THEN build it.
Every time we came across a huge building front, we’d scramble for the map, to see what it was. It would usually turn out to just be a regular church or something. They’re all like that. If the Romans were trying to intimidate by showing off about how much power they had with the size of their buildings, then it has worked. I am intimidated.
Next we found the Pantheon and went inside for half an hour or so, soaking up the atmosphere.
It is a beautiful building, well preserved as it has been in use the entire time up to the present day. Often, buildings like the Colossuem were abandoned, ransacked, left to the elements, then given new life as a tourist attraction, which means a lot of work needs doing on them. The Pantheon is still pretty much as it was when it was built. I kept running my hands over the huge columns and thinking how thousands of years ago, someone else was probably running their hands over the same spot, admiring their size.
Next, we were on a mission to find coffee. I had read that the Tazza D’Oro did the best coffee in Rome and, as a non-coffee drinker, thought this might be the thing to change my mind. We dawdled about, trying to catch the barista’s eye, feeling a bit awkward and getting ignored. Danda suddenly remembered that you have to go to the till and pay, then get a receipt and bring your receipt to the barista and he makes your coffee. No wonder he was ignoring us, we didn’t have a receipt. Without further ado, we paid and got our coffees.
It was bitter… And strong…. And quite small. And I think it was tasty. I couldn’t say for certain. But I think it was tasty. This was a step in the right direction!
Soon after, we realised our legs were about to give out and we headed back to our apartment on the Gay Street of Rome. On our way, we stopped for dinner in one of the little family run restaurants which has seating on the pavement outside. I ordered a pasta dish with porcini mushrooms and a hint of tartufo. It was delicious. Simple and delicious.
On the way back, we visited the shop which provided us with the tasty wraps the night before and I got a cannolo almost the same size as myself.
With no shame at all, I scoffed it down and wondered aloud if there weren’t another to be found close by. Danda shook his head in disbelief and banned me from going and getting another one…..