Sunday, May 9, 2010

Through the Antiquities of Rome

Our hotel is close to the center of Rome with the antiquities in easy walking distance. We had breakfast out on our balcony served by the staff, very nice.

So today we walked over to the see what they call the antiquities, the places where the Caesars and the Roman Senate conducted their business. It is hard to convey the sense of wonder when walking on the same stones paths that Julius Caesar walked, to be in the Forum where Caesar was assassinated. You are right there - where it happened! We are so used to recreations on TV or Disneyland type reproductions of the events - but to really be there makes all the difference. The photos are rather ordinary but the "being there" is not, that's the part about being in Rome that's hard to convey.

The antiquities area requires an entry fee that's good for 24 hours and you can also get a headset for audio information. There's a massive amount of information available but for the most part we just wandered around which we found interesting enough. We sure made up for all the rest we got on our cruise, lots of walking for exercise.

We found a typical street side restaurant for lunch and we had, surprise, a pizza! Then it was on to see the place where Three Coins in the Fountain was filmed, The Trevi Fountain. It's not far from our hotel. When we arrived that place was mobbed! We had expected a round fountain that you could walk around and see from all angles. However, it's situated against the side of a building and has several rows of seating in front of the fountain for people to sit and admire the waters. Even with the mob on a Sunday afternoon, the visit was memorable, the fountain is more beautiful than in the photos. To see a video of a couple tossing the traditional two coins in the fountain, click here.

A few notes on getting around in Rome. The most frequent sight in Rome are tourists standing on street corners with a map (or maps) open, trying to figure out where they are at. The street signs are mostly a mystery and sparsely distributed at random around buildings. Add into the mix that the streets go in every direction and are rarely straight and with many streets intersecting at all angles at plazas. It takes awhile to even have any idea of how to proceed. When all else fails, we get out the iQue and plot a route.