Sunday, July 24, 2011
Long day in the eternal city! We had a day in Rome jam packed with sight-seeing, shopping, eating, and repeating that process many times throughout the day!
Some of the big highlights of our day included the following;
Piazza Navona- located in the historic center of Rome, it used to be a Roman stadium, but now contains lavish fountains, including Bernini's masterpiece, Fountain of the Four Rivers. The statues represent the four rivers known at the time it was built in 1560 - the Nile, the Danube, the Ganges, and the Plate.
The Pantheon - saying this is the oldest building any of us have ever been in is sort of an understatement! The Pantheon was built in A.D. 126 as a temple to the Roman gods. It has the world's largest UN-reinforced concrete dome! It was a really amazing structure, and we spent some time staring around with our mouths hanging open!
Giolitti - not a historical site, but the best gelato place in Rome! We found out that it is possible for one to purchase a liter serving of gelato there!
Piazza Colonna - Rome's political center. It is the place where, as our guide told us, the Italian politicians "supposedly" go to work each day ;-). The center also contains the enormous column of Marcus Aurellius built in A.D. 196.
Via del Corso - street with lots of great shopping - yes, we shopped it!
Via Della Vite - street with the restaurant where we had the best meal of our trip!
Trevi Fountain - Baroque fountain built in 1762 as an homage to the importance of water to the Romans. It also marks the end of an aqueduct. It was common to build fountains over them - this one just happens to be the most spectacular one in existence! People throw coins in and make a wish. Over 3000 Euros are thrown into the fountain each day, which is collected and given to local charities.
Spanish Steps- nothing to do with Spain, but they come off of the square called Piazza di Spagna. The Italians call the steps the Scalinata. It is the widest stone staircase in Europe and yes, we climbed all 136 steps to get a great view of the rooftops of Rome!
Via dei Condotti - more shopping.
Piazza di Poppolo - Huge square - the main importance of it for us was the place where we met our tour director for dinner. Dinner was great - arancini, pasta wrapped in eggplant, more gelato for dessert!
If it sounds like today was full, wait till tomorrow - Vatican, Colosseum, Forum!