Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Day 2 in Rome

First order of business on our second day in Rome was heading to the tourist information centre for a map and a Roma pass, and then to the grocery store.  We knew we wouldn't want to eat out all the time, especially for breakfast.  The owner of our rental apartment left a great information package, including map of the area with places of interest marked - including supermarkets, restaurants, "ice creams" and hospitals.  We headed off to the Bila on via Cola di Reinzo.  If I had read the instructions instead of simply glancing at the map, we would have known that there is no entrance to Bila straight off the street.  Instead (as a street vendor kindly told us), one must enter a store called Coin, and then proceed to the basement level, which is - surprise - the Bila!  A grocery store in the basement of what appeared to be a cosmetic store...who'd a thunk.  Rome's strange ways amuse me!  I remembered that we needed to put on plastic gloves before handling produce, but forgot that we had to weigh it and get a price tag before proceeding to the checkout...much to the annoyance of the Italians in line up behind us when I was sent by the cashier back to weigh the produce and obtain said price tag.  We had fun choosing wine.  I am jealous of the wine prices, and that spirits can be bought in the grocery store.  $4 for a very tasty bottle of wine is kind of mind boggling to me...but in a good way!  I will need a detox period when I get home, no doubt! lol

After picking up our groceries - including, let's be honest, 3 bottles of wine...we went for a wander. We strolled somewhat aimlessly around...admiring the buildings in our neighbourhood, near Castel Sant'Angelo...















The walk along the river is really lovely...the trees overhanging the sidewalk offered a shady reprieve from the sun. Although we haven't yet minded the heat...it has been hot, but there always seems to be a nice breeze, or a spot in the shade.


For some reason, this dilapidated looking houseboat fascinated me...I want to live in a houseboat on an Italian river!  How cool would that be??  Ok so the Tiber doesn't actually look like it smells so great when one is up close and personal, but...minor details, am sure it would be an amazing adventure to float around on a houseboat.






After a midday siesta and lunch at Il Baci (non descript pizza joint on via Crescenzio, not recommended for anything other than "we're really hungry and are ok with so-so food" kind of moments!)




Mom wanted to see Piazza Navona again, so over to the historic centre we went.  We stopped into a tiny little church that apparently exists in honour of St. Nicholas.  It was quite lovely, so small and quiet and pretty inside.







Then along to Piazza Navona.  Not sure what the church is that fronts on this piazza, but it was gorgeous with the sun overhead...



Bernini's four rivers fountain...don't ask me what are the four rivers, I can never remember!  But the sculpture is pretty awesome!


We also both wanted to revisit the Pantheon because...well duh, it's the Pantheon!  Such an awesome place to be. 




Once again the acoustics wowed me...that odd echoey hush, although it was much noisier this time than it was a few years ago in off season (March).  There were pews set up for services, so we sat down for a while and let the atmosphere of the ancients wash over us.  I tried to capture the feel of the oculus and dome, but it is too big for my camera phone and this is the best I could do!






After tearing ourselves away from the Pantheon...we wandered along to the Trevi Fountain.  Stopping first in this random courtyard.  I think it was a private residence of apartments, but...hey, the doors were open and nobody stopped us from going in!





Trevi was, as you might expect in July, a mob scene.  An absolute crush of people in every corner, nook and cranny.  Needless to say we did not stick around for long...a longing gaze at the lovely fountain itself and then out of the madding crowd.







There is a nice little church just above Trevi, Chiesa SS Vicenzo e Anastastio...hardly anyone inside, despite the hundreds of people milling about outside.  One of the side chapels held a fresco fragment of a 14th c Virgin of the Graces.  The flashy burst around it doesn't do much for me, but the fresco itself was...well, graceful!






We also viewed what I believe was Marcus Aurelius' victory column (a la Trajan's columnm, which is what we thought it might be at first, but then realized the writing appeared to say Aurelius, not Trajan.)  Had a gelato (yum!!) and eventually made our way back to our apartment.  We stayed in for the evening, and enjoyed a light supper on our little terrace...salad, cheese and bread with balsamic vinegar and olive oil for dipping.  Oh and wine...of course!






PS...this really should be about day 3 but I am a day behind in my blogging...will try to catch up at some point!

6 comments:

JDeQ said...

What a busy day!

That is the store that we shopped in - COIN is a wonderful department store - I still have some of the shirts that I bought there.

You ended the day perfectly - I love having an apartment for that - quiet reflection and relaxation. Not enough people indulge in this on vacation.

sandrac said...

Anne, I'm so enjoying your blog posts -- and wonderful photos. You're really making the most of your time in Rome (and walking off everything you consume!)

Sorry to hear of the supermarket shame. That happened to me in a crowded market in Venice, my first foray into a supermercato and after that experience, I'll never again forget to bag and weigh the produce!

Anne said...

I guess it does sound like a busy day when I reread my post, but it wasn't at all arduous. Mostly just wandering around and enjoying whatever fell along our route. (I cannot get over how many churches there are, must be thousands, and of all shapes and sizes.)

Sandra - Rome is definitely a place where one can walk off all manner of tasty treats! The weighing of the produce was an experience...especially since I totally forgot how to get the price tag to print out and the clerk came looking for me to see if I was having difficulty - am sure the other shoppers were not impressed! lol

Jerry, thanks for clarifying what COIN is, I had seen only the cosmetics counter on our way through to Bila. I must go back and pick up a couple things. Having a rental apartment is sheer bliss, I am hooked on this way of travel - thanks to you and all my other ST friends for introducing me to it!

Trekcapri said...

Hi Anne, Day 2 sounds fun. I love the balance you have of sight seeing, exploring around in inviting courtyards, and relaxation.

I had to smile about the supermarket experience. I guess the grocery line delay effect happens in Italy too. :)

I love seeing all of your photos and reading about your fun day.

Thank you so much for taking the time to blog and allowing us to live vicariously through you and your mom. Keep on having fun....

Annie said...

I love that houseboat too! There's a COIN in Venice too, I bought my favorite socks there.

Have fun!

barb cabot said...

It's wonderful to follow your days. Our apt was right around the corner from Piazza Navona. Reading your posts and seeing your photos takes me back. Thanks so much. Enjoy Anne!

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