Rome Part 1
The thing that struck me instantly about Rome was the beauty of the streetscapes. Dad has always said people never look up, but in Rome you just can’t help it. The rendered facades with their perfect rows of large shuttered windows draw your eyes up. Narrow cobbled streets with buildings on either side create the perfect frame for architectural portraits around every corner. Visually it’s the perfect combination of history, vibrancy, whimsy and charm.
Our Air BnB Room at Fanny's
The street where our Air BnB apartment was located was no exception. Located close to Piazza Navona, our host was the wonderful Fanny. Staying with her was out first Air BnB experience and I have to say it feels like it will be hard to top. We had the most beautiful, big room – decorated simply with lovely antique furniture. We looked out over a small street which from lunchtime was home to two local restaurants – both of which we sampled. You could hear the chatter from below well into the evening – it was a lovely sound to fall asleep to each night.
Each morning Fanny would prepare us a delicious breakfast of cold meats, mozzarella, tomato, yoghurt and sweet pastries (freshly made by Fanny – they were so good). The place really felt like home and on our last day we were very sad to leave.
The day we arrived – bleary eyed after about 24 hours of travel – we spent our afternoon wandering the nearby streets and getting to know the city. We headed to Piazza Navona, which has three beautiful fountains, my favourite of which was Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi (Fountain of the four rivers) built in 1651.
We also visited the Pantheon – with it’s spectacular domed roof, the Trevi Fountain – which is sadly being renovated (waterless and covered in scaffolding) and the Spanish Steps. We managed to cover quite a bit of ground.
Day two in Rome was probably my favourite. We had a tour of the Colosseum booked for the afternoon so decided to spend the morning exploring. First stop was a local food market in a nearby square. It was amazing – full of vibrant colour, the smell of fresh fruit wafting thorugh the air and animated Italian’s gesticulating wildly. I so wish we had something like this in Thornbury. Just walking through was inspiring me to cook (and for those who know me, this is saying something).
Next we headed to the Jewish ghetto. Here we stumbled across an area of ruins. They were not the well kept kind of ruins, but a bit disheveled. There was something charming about them though. I don’t know know why, but I’m always attracted to things that are a bit run down and overgrown. There’s a certain charm to something that is left untouched. When we were in Hue in Vietnam back in 2012, I loved the Hue citadel for that same reason. I think places like that remind me of something out of a Miyazaki film. I think it’s the child in me that still loves the idea there could be faries, gnomes or other fantasy folk living there.
Our next stop for the day was Trastevere, an area across the river from the main part of Rome. It was once where those who wanted to become Roman citizens would wait to be processed and became heavily populated by Jewish and Syrians. We wandered around the area and visited a couple of lovely churches, St Cecilia (which was my favourite of the two) and Santa Maria. While much less visually impressive compared with likes of St Peter’s, there is something I prefer about these quiet, non tourist places. They feel like what a church should be – not some bustling tourist attraction. Even though I’m not religious, I do love the peace of churches.
As we were walking back to Fanny’s for an afternoon nap before our Colosseum tour we were contacted by the tour company who would tell us they’d managed to overbook the tour and we could not come on it. So we had to rearrange our plans. We walked back and grabbed some lunch at a local pizza shop/bakery called Roscioli where you choose the size of your slice and pay by weight. It was simple, fresh and delicious.
After our afternoon nap (which I might add has already become a necessity in our day due to the 35+ degree heat and many Kms of walking) we ducked into an art gallery just around the corner from Fanny’s and saw a brilliant Chagall exhibition. Part of it was this amazing installation where a video was projected onto some of the drawings – making them come alive from out of the page. Check out the images below.
Our afternoon finished up with happy hour Negroni, Pino Grigio and snacks of olives, cherry tomatoes and bruschetta at a great little bar we came across called Mimi e Coco.
To top off the day, we headed out past the Rome city walls to a park for an Angus and Julia Stone concert. Yes. We travelled half way across the world and go and see and Aussie band. We invited Fanny along – it was great to spend a bit of time with her and get to know her better. In true Italian style the concert didn’t kick off until an hour later than it was supposed to. Meaning at the end of the night we found ourselves kicking up our heels to catch the last bus back home. Luckily we made it. Just. It was a great night. We really felt like we got to experience a bit of Rome like a local.
Day 1: 15273 steps, 8.74 Km of walking, 3017 Cal, 18 Floors of stairs
Day 2: 16645 steps, 11.49 Km of walking, 2555 Cal, 12 Floors of stairs