Rome - The city of seven hills

Second Part

My wife became fifty this summer. To celebrate we decided to take an autumn trip to Rome - The city of seven hills. All the autumn work at work was over and the contractors that were working in our backyard had finished their job. Therefore we could be completely relaxed and looked forward to our trip. Here is the story of the first part of the trip.
The next day we had a nice morning in the Borghese garden which is a stone's throw north of the Flavia street where our hotel is located. There we sat down and listened to a guitarist playing well-known classical guitar pieces. We thanked the guitarist for the concert and put few coins in his guitar bag. Then we headed southwest onto Terrazza del Pinicio, which is a viewpoint above Popola Square. Popola Square stands between Pinicio Hill and Tiber. From the center of the square to the southwest between the churches Santa Maria di Miracoli and Santa Maria di Montesanto lies the shopping street Via del Corso. To the north there is the church of Santa Maria del Popolo and the gate of Porta Popolo. Porta Popolo was the northernmost point into the city during the Romans era. The gate was connected to the Aurelius wall, which was built between the seven hills to protect the city. I was built between the years 271 - 275 after Christ. The appearance of the area as it is today is based on the design of Valadiers and was completed in the year 1824.
The plants in the Borhese garden showed little signs of autumn, although it was near the end of September.
View of Rome from Terrazza del Pinicio.
Rome 13The Trevi fountain draws a huge crowd of people. Somewhere I read that this used to be a quiet place but the movies La Dolce Vita and Vacation in Rome have increased the attraction.
We were a little tired after all the walks the day before so we went home to the hotel and took a midnight nap. It is not a smart thing in city tours to over do the walking. Being dead tired sucks all the joy and pleasure of experiencing new places. That evening, we intended to go downtown in search of good evening photopraphs.

We started at Trevi fountain or the Three-dircetion fountain. There has been fountain at this place from 19 after Christ. Initially, the fountain was installed as one of the eleven water supply stations for the people of Rome. The first fountain was designed by Leon Battisti Albertini in 1453. In the year 1629, the famous Bernini was given the task of designing a new fountain in this place. That fountain was never built, but hundred and three years later, Nicola Salvi designed the fountain we see today in front of the Poli Palace. Salvi used part of Breninis's previous design so Bernini contributed to the fountain. There were so many people by the fountain that it was hopeless to take proper photos so we walked on to Piazza Navona Square. The square was at the beginning an aphitheater which explains it´s oracle architecture. In the fifteenth century the square was paved and for 300 years, the main market in Rome was located in the square. Over the centuries the square has been a lively plas and it still is today. We found ourselves a restaurant in the center of the square in front of Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi, which is one of the three fountains located at the square. Bernini designed it. There we had a relaxing chat Australian couple, Ryan and wife.
The entrance into the Panthenon Temple. Access is free. Behind the entrance is a circular hall and a magnificent dome. In the middle of the dome there is a hole and you can see the sky above.
In this restaurant we had the chat with the Australian couple. They shared what they had seen in the city and thougth worth seeing and so did we. Then there was of course discussion about education.
When the dinner was finished we went back and enjoyed taking photos in the dark. Nothing had changed by the Trevi fountain. People everywhere swinging selfie sticks so you felt you were in danger. At the Panthenon temple there were also a crowd but not as hectic as by the Trevi fountain. Now there was no que in front of the entrance so we gave ourselves time to examine the temple inside. Today it is not right to call the Panthenon building a temple because in the year 609 it was transformed into a church. It is remarkable that the building is still standing. Partly it is because it was converted to church and partly because of how it was built. The house was designed by Roman the emperor Hadrian and a Greek architect Apollodorus from Damascus. They did not agree on the design of the temple so the Greek was killed. This is how disagreement was solved in those days. The dome of the temple is a constructional genius and is still the largest dome in the world which has no extra support. At the center of the dome is a hole you can watch the stars through. This building is one of the more magnificent we have ever seen.

There are plenty of churches in Rome. One of them is San Giovanni Lateral church. We were greatly taken by this church. Its facade is from mid 18. century but the history of the Church is much older. It has been improved many times over the ages. Behind the altar, on either side the are walls covered with paintings and frescoes. Most of the frescoes are golden and the paintings are painted in dark colors without being gloomy. From the San Giovanni church we drove down to the metro after viewing a monument about Constantín, one of the Roman emperors. After shopping for a nail polish and other necessities, along with eating an Italian bread with cheese on the Santa Maria Maggiori square, we set the direction at the Termini train station. Termini Train Station is the center of Rome's transit. It was originally built in 1868 but refurbished in 1942 - 43. It is a busy place like we were expecting. The station is the second largest in Europe. Only Gare du Nord in Paris is bigger.

During the years 70 - 80 after Christ, the Flavian emperor Vespasian let 60 thousands Jewish slaves build the Flavian Amphitheater. There, 50 - 80 thousand audiences could enjoy watching horrid battles of gladiators and animals. During the 390 years in which these spectacles took place in the Colosseum, 500 thousand slaves and million animals were slayed. Later, the stadium received the name Colosseum and is today one of the main attractions in Rome. This magnificent place was the next stop in our trip. The stadium, of course, shows that it was not built yesterday. Time has broken the stones, but the biggest damage is from earthquakes in the ninth and thirteenth centuries. It is really amazing that a building which is almost 2000 years old is still standing. In Iceland, it would at best be a pile of stones due to frost and constant changes in the weather.
Although democracy was limited in Rome, attitude of the general public toward the government mattered. The shows at the Amphitheater were an attempt by the government to buy good faith of the public. The attendance to the shows were free.
View of the Roman Forum. In the middle in the distance there is the Colosseum and on the right side is the Paladium Hill.
Although the Colosseum is a fabulous place, Palatine Hill and the Roman Forum fascinated us more. We found it magnificent to walk around the hill and the valley and imagine life in these places in the past. The Palatine Hill is the best known of the seven hills in Rome. There Romulus and Remus were fostered by the wolf, there the first Romans had their homes, and there lived the emperors Augustus, Titus and Dometian. Palatine Hill was an ideal place to live in for a variety of reasons. From the hill was the best view of the city, there you were centrally located and there was the best climate. In the valley below the hill was The Roman Forum or the center of Rome's administration when the Romans were at their best.

Just a short distance from Trevibunninn is a neat pasta shop where we bought a lot of pasta. Looking forward to cook it when we get home. We sat down on the Via Delle Muratte street and enjoyed olives, biscuits and beer watching the flow of weary tourists go by. We noticed that some of them looked with envy at our table and heard one saying, "I want this." Our next destination was the city museum and memorial of the first king of Italy, Vittori Emanuell II. The monument is certainly magnificent, but I agree with those Italians who think this is a bit over the top. The house was built in 1925. We still saw a reason to come back in the evening to take photographs in the dark.
Beer, olives and biscuits at Via Della Murattte.
The monument of the first king of united Italy is a huge building.
The following day we visited Travestere, the neighborhood on the western bank of Tiber south of the Vatican. We had heard that this was an interesting neigborhood, but we were not impressed. Perhaps we were not in the right mood or we were not in the right places. One positive thing can said though. My wife got a good pasta and I lasagna I liked. We then walked across Tiber. Bought a watercolor picture from some street artist and as the day got older we were totally lost. Intended to walk in the direction of the hotel but for some reasons we found ourselves by Tiber again. The sun would settle after about an hour or so. We walked down the steps by one of the bridges and waited. From there the view of the Sistine Chapel as it was framed by the bridge was magnificent. We thought that this might make a good photo. My wife pointed out that this spot was clearly someones home. Unfortunately, we neither had the tripod nor the SLR camera with us but decided to attempt to take the photograph with our GXXNUMX Canon camera. After about an hour of waiting we see where a ragged man in strangely good shoes comes down the stairs. The homeowner was coming home. He did not pay us any attention but went under the bridge and started to prepare dinner. There he worked for a while but suddenly he walked towards us an I expected that he wanted to drive us away. But no. He stabbed his hand into a pile of leaves that was at our feet and drew a two-liter beverage bottle. We must have been standing by his refrigerator. When the sun was about to settle and I'm starting to take photographs the man comes back. This time he talks loudly and swings his arms. At first we thought he was driving us away but because of the gestures he made we realized that he was giving us advice about the photography. He felt that we were badly located. Of course, he did not realize that we were framing the chapel with the bridge and had to use the pillar by the stairs as a tripod. As we expected the photos were not as good as they could have been with the right equipment but it was still a worth time by the Tiber.
Travestere. There are small cozy restaurants in this neighborhood and more relaxed atmosphere than elsewhere in Rome's city center.
On the left side of the photo the homeless man is preparing dinner. On the right side under the bridge is in the Sistine Chapel. At the front on the right side is the pile of leaves or the refrigerator.
There was not much left of our trip to the city of the seven hills. Only the final day left and then the return trip. There are no stories to tell about the closing day. We just walked around and enjoyed the city. The flight home went without troubles except that my suitcase was ruined, yes it´s the same one as got lost. It was a cheap suitcase bought many years ago so it has served us well. She was left by our garbage cans. There it waited for three days or until a young boy knocked at our door and asked if he could have this nice suitcase. We said he was welcome to do so and he walked happily up our street dragging a ruined suitcase behind him.
Roman Forum in the evening. The Colosseum is next to the church tower.
Roman Forum. Here, the camera is directly to the left compared with the image next to it.
Here we are close to the city museum.
The trajan column and behind it is the Ulpia Basilica.
Did Romans succeed in improving my ideas about the Italian people? Yes, they managed. In most places we encountered a good interface, but they did not try their help so much, but the reason for my negative beliefs at the outset was precisely the lack of such. Unfortunately, my ideas about Italian food culture also changed. I have never ever had as bad food in restaurants in any city I have visited. Probably we have just been unlucky and not in the right places.