Greetings, greetings. Sorry for the long delay between posts, but I have a good excuse. Long weekends in Rome tend to put a stopper to blogging action I’m afraid! However, I can now reward your patience with some lovely photos and a rambling account of my activities in the Italian city. I know this isn’t exactly ‘outdoors’ fare, but I am desperate to share, so I hope you enjoy it.
When we first arrived in the city, we immediately set to exploring it. We arrived about half-way through the day, so we decided to stick to areas that were more or less in our immediate vicinity. Our hotel was located near the Circus Maximus, so we had a lovely stroll around the old arena. Only a few crumbled remains are left of the once enormous chariot-racing arena, but the length of the grassy banks still testifies to its once magnificent size.
After this admittedly brief stroll, we stopped for a restorative gelato. For those of you who have been to Italy before, you will know how wonderful proper homemade Italian icecream is. My mouth is watering at the memory.
Once we were suitably refreshed, we marched onward. We soon stumbled upon the Santa Maria Church, best known for the ‘Mouth of Truth‘. We satisfied ourselves with just a peek at this well-known attraction for the queue to have a photo with it was monstrous. Instead, we did what few tourists seemed to be doing and strolled inside the church. The Santa Maria church is a lovely example of a small Italian church and, like many churches in the area, it possesses its own relic. On the left-hand side of the church we spied the skull of St Valentine. For a small fee, we then ventured down in to the crypt. It was chilly, and a little damp, but very atmospheric.
Across the road, we spotted some other ruins. This turned out to be the Temple of Hercules, and the restoration work on the building allows you to get a good impression of what it was like in its heyday.
We then moved on to the river and started to head across a bridge. From this vantage point we were able to get a good look at the Pons Aemilius, which sits just beside the modern road. The strength of the structure is very impressive, although it is a little sad to see the arch standing on its own, unused, with plants growing through the cracks.
After crossing the river, we meandered onto Tiber Island and took a look inside San Bartolomeo all’Isola. We then progressed down the stairs and had a promenade around the island, which enabled us to admire the height of the Pons Aemilius.
We then continued our venture and came upon the controversial Altare della Patria. Disparagingly known as ‘the wedding cake’ or the ‘type writer’, this arresting building never fails to grab your attention. While some view it as an eyesore, I thought that it was a rather spectacular structure, and I never failed to admire it on the many occasions where we passed it.
Finally, we fitted in a few glimpses of the Fora Romano and the Arch of Septimius Severus . Not bad for the first day!
In my next post I will detail my visit to the Vatican City.