Heading toward the Trevi Fountain I was stoked! My brother had just returned and said it was his favorite part of Rome. Despite the crowd it was fun to toss a coin over my right shoulder in the tradition and legend that if you toss 1 coin you’ll return to Rome, 2 coins you’ll find love, and 3 coins will bring you marriage. I tossed only 1 at the that moment with the intention to come back at night and toss another.
Rome has a warm rich glow to it and you can sense the glory and wealth of old times. One second you are walking in a typical charming Italian neighborhood and BAM! There is the Pantheon! The dome inside the Pantheon is a cool as I had read about in Art History books. It is magical and still impresses even to todays standards. The sun came through like a theater spotlight illuminating the right side and casting it in a bright white glow. It was one of the oldest places I had ever been able to see, feel, touch and smell. The energy of the building was intoxicating.
I spent some time taking pictures outside the Pantheon and refilling my bottle of water out of one of the many fountains that exist periodically throughout the city. It’s pretty neat that this fresh and fairly cool water is just flowing out of these seeming random, incredible art carvings and sculptures. Oh Rome, you are so cool.
Needing a pick-me-up we head to La Casa Del Caffe Tazza d’oro for an iced espresso shot with whipped cream. It was exactly what was needed and was so smooth and creamy that it slid down easy in the summer Roman heat. After our treat we headed towards the cat sanctuary ruins where actual cats are hanging out in these old ruins right in the middle of the city. The aptly named Piazza di Gatti delighted me.
Winding our way through the cobble stone streets we came upon a large set of steps to a church nicknamed the “birthday cake”. This place was incredibly beautiful. Crystal chandeliers lined every archway and the ceiling was plated in gold with ornate etchings of what looked like family crests. I couldn’t count the number of chandeliers but it was close to 100 and they were the size of a small car. It was worth climbing the numerous steps to experience this glorious church.
Exiting through the back I caught my first glimpse of the Colosseum. It’s stacked archways peaked through the trees and I felt my heart flutter a bit. I was actually in Rome! a place everyone knows about but most don’t get the chance to see. I knew then I had to go on a tour.
We were equipped with headsets to hear our gorgeous Roman guide better and headed in to the massive structure. It really impresses with structures made out of marble, stone, and brick. Some of the floor was restored to show what it looked like in its glory days but leaving 3/4 of it open to still view the complex matrix of rooms and halls that lay underneath. I kept picturing the show Spartacus as our guide took us around the oblong arena.
It was hot and I was super hungry so for lunch we went to Pasqualino al Colosseo mostly due to the fact it was close by and had air conditioning. It was beyond disappointing. I ordered the lasagna because it felt like the thing to order while in Rome. I was wrong. Out of sheer hunger I choked down the dry, flavorless, pathetic excuse for Italian cuisine. Overall having food in my stomach vastly improved my mood and I was ready to go explore the Roman Forum.
The Roman Forum is a labyrinth of marble and stone strewn about covered in greenery. Its spanning, sprawling area with some pillars still standing proud next to their crumbled counterparts. I tried to imagine navigating this vast space when it was a magnificent area bustling with gladiators, senators and peasants alike. I could still feel the vibrant slightly terrifying energy. It was certainly worth heading back out into the heat.
After freshening up I met my G Adventures tour group for our last night out. I was in shock that my time with them was running out and I felt a pang of sadness grip me. My group-mate Kristen noticed my expression and gently said “don’t think about that right now and lets go have some fun.” She was right and I eagerly followed the group to Hosteria la vacca m’briaca or “The Drunken Cow” which lived up to its name!
I ordered a glass of Pinot Grigio or at least I thought I had until an entire bottle showed up! I would have shared but the rest of the table had ordered 2 for 1 house wine that came in giant decanters. So it looked like we were going to have a drunken cow of a time! For dinner I ordered the spicy penne and it was delectable and more than made up for the pathetic excuse of lasagna I had for lunch. The Aussies and Canadians of the group wrote a G Adventures Bill of Rights with such gems as “right to death by drop bear” and “freedom of speech except scientology”. The room was filled with laughter, boisterous voices and clinking of glassware as we all embraced the craziness of the trip.
After dinner it turns out our tour leader had a few surprises in store for us to celebrate. This started with late night gelato at Fatamorgana that hand makes all their products. I decided on pistachio and raspberry and both were light and perfectly balanced flavors that danced across my taste buds. I looked around and saw the pure delight on everyones faces and it was the perfect post dinner treat.
We weren’t done yet though as Andrea announced that the first round was on her at the pub. We didn’t need anymore booze… but that is beside the point as it turned out to be a fabulous idea! Kentucky Kristen decided everyone needed to try Jim Beam and ginger ale while reciting the Wildcats chant as they drank to experience her home state. It was hilarious to hear the Aussies thick accent carried through the chant. Somehow shots were distributed and I consumed in succession maybe 3? 4? I lost track…. I was on a mission to see the Trevi at night and facetime my dad from the colosseum as it was Father’s day.
I rallied a few others from our group and we stumbled about the Roman streets to see how wonderful all the ruins and structures are lit with a golden glow. It’s certainly worth seeing the colosseum pop out against the jet black sky which is such a contrast to the bright blue sunny sky of the daytime. It is even more daunting and looming in the dark. I was losing enthusiasm from my followers and they really wanted to head back to the hotel and the Trevi was another 20 minute walk. So I ditched my mission to see the Trevi at night to throw my second coin for love. It’d have to wait until I return again to Rome.