Saturday, July 29, 2017

May 23rd: Why Didn't We Find This Neighborhood Sooner?

We had one more full day in Italy, and since we had already seen all of the main things on our to do list, we weren't exactly sure what to do with our free time at first. No worries, though...Rome is full of things to do!

We started by going up to the rooftop terrace to check out the view right after we woke up.

It was pretty nice.  :)

We grabbed breakfast at the hotel, spent a bit of time repacking, then walked over to the Metro. A short ride later...

...we were at Piramide Cestia: the Pyramid of Cestius. It was built sometime around 12 BC as a tomb, and now sits near one of the metro stops.  

We wandered down one of the side roads near the pyramid. One section ran along a tall wall that stretched on for a while. We made a few twists and turns and wound up back in some more local, non-touristy neighborhoods, and eventually stopped for a delicious (and surprisingly cheap!) cappuccino at a cafe.

We wandered a bit more, then stopped to hang out in the Piazza di Santa Maria Liberatrice. Lots of locals were hanging out on the benches and low walls, some with kids, some with dogs, some by themselves. My personal favorite part of the park was the older guy in the loose fitting tank top (seen on the left side of the picture) who was doing some gardening in one of the flower beds.

After hanging out and people watching, we were starting to get hungry again. We went for a short walk through the neighborhood and wound up at...

...Trapizzino. It was a tiny shop with one counter that served little triangle bread pockets with your choice of filling. I picked a meatball with tomato sauce and it was fantastic.

 After lunch, we wandered across the Tiber River and over to Trastevere, a quieter, more local neighborhood in Rome. We picked our way through the narrow streets and alleys, wandered in a couple stores...

...then came to an abrupt stop when I saw a window full of delicious cookies. Turns out they sold them by weight, and you could also get glasses of wine from little barrels on their counter. 3 Euro and a short, stumbled conversation in Italian later, I was sipping wine from a plastic cup and eating a giant meringue cookie.

This was the little seating area of the cookie/wine shop. I loved how real it felt.  :)

We walked through a number of other local neighborhoods and piazzas. It was really nice to spend some time in quieter neighborhoods after spending the past few days in crowded touristy spots (though those were nice, too). 

While cookies and wine are delicious, they aren't very filling, so we eventually wound up at Cajo and Gajo. We both got espressos, and Mark got pasta while I opted for panna cotta (which was amazing). We hung out for a little while, sipping our espressos, people watching, and wondering how every single thing we had eaten while we were wandering around had been so delicious.

A short walk away was the Basilica di Santa Maria in Trastevere. It was open, so we went inside to check it out.

It was stunning. There were intricate mosaics and paintings everywhere.

The wall on the outside of the basilica was really neat, too; there were fragments of old stone carvings on display. We poked around a little bit more, then started to make our way back across the river and toward the hotel.

It took a little while to walk back, but there was plenty to see along the way.

We made a quick detour to a nearby gelateria along the way. It was delicious.

Our view while we ate our gelato. There were little crates outside the shop, so we sat there and people watched for a little while. There are little drinking fountains like the one pictured all over Rome; it was really cool to be able to walk through the city and always be able to refill your water bottle for free if you wanted to. (There were even fountains kind of like these in Pompeii!)

We eventually made it back to the hotel, got cleaned up, and packed a little more before heading back to the Metro and taking a short ride to dinner. Mark had read that Gregory's Jazz Club also had a decent whisky selection, so we went there for dinner.

I stuck with wine and pizza myself, but Mark did get to try a couple drinks. 

After dinner, we walked by the Spanish Steps. This was at the top of the steps; it was really neat to see everything all lit up for night.

The sun had just set and it was just starting to get dark.

Of course, we weren't the only people with that idea, but it was still nice. We walked down the steps, through some busy neighborhoods full of shops and restaurants...

...and wound up going right past the Trevi Fountain (which was still surrounded by hundreds of people). We grabbed a couple more pictures, then eventually made our way back to the hotel and went to bed. I was sad that we would be leaving the next day, but at least we made good use of our last day in Italy!

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