• A return to Rome: Piazza Navona, Pantheon, Trevi Fountain, Spanish Steps (Part 5 of 5)

    7/2/2019 5:10:13 PM Link 0 comments | Add comment

    italy, rome, trafalgar

    Our journey in Tuscany was wonderful! Our professional motor coach driver made an appropriate stop midway through the 4 hour drive back to Rome where we stayed at the same hotel near Borghese Park.  To recap, our first day in Rome was filled with the amazing Vatican City and the Colosseum. The following day, we ventured into Tuscany. Now that we have returned to Rome, our Trafalgar Tour Director arranged for a walking tour to visit other popular sights.

    Piazza Navona is a lively square where people come to hang out. A welcoming sight for me was a Pizzeria with delightful red and white checkered table cloths along the sidewalk. The efficient waiters were outfitted in black pants and black vests with white pressed shirts – very authentic. Some of our group chose to stay and dine here rather than join our sightseeing walk.  The long oval shaped square is very famous of Baroque Rome. The main attraction are the fountains. The center fountain is Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi (Fountain of Four Rivers) which is one of many master pieces by Bernini. For those interested in Geography, the four rivers represented here are the Danube, the Ganges, the Nile and the Rio de la Plata. The backdrop of the fountains and the square is the Church of Sant’Agnese. All of the square covers what used to be a Roman stadium for competitions and sporting events. 

    A short walk from Piazza Navona is the Pantheon.  This magnificent building was such an impressive surprise for me. The Pantheon is one of the most well preserved ancient Roman monuments. It was originally a temple and then it became a church. The front porch has gigantic columns. It was free to enter. This is a must see for history and architecture enthusiasts as the inside has such a gigantic rotunda. The rotunda is exactly as tall as it is wide. At the top of the dome is a circular oculos (circular opening) which I learned is the symbol of the solar disk. It is the structure’s only light source. This was worth a visit.

    We walked from the Pantheon to Fontana di Trevi (Trevi Fountain). I had visited here thirty years ago with family and I was thrilled to revisit. I knew I had to have gelato (Italian ice cream) while people watching. But first, the challenge was to politely move through the crowd, have my back to the fountain and toss a coin over my left shoulder.  It is said that tossing a coin in this manner guarantees a return trip to Rome. This fountain is massive with many sculptures and in the center is Neptune who guides a chariot drawn by two sea horses known as the spirited horse and the placid horse. It certainly shows off the abundance of Rome.  I enjoyed a large gelato cone while observing people from all parts of the globe gather here. A true treat!

    Our group had become a family and we enjoyed a unique dining experience on Isola Tiberina (Tiber Island) in the heart of Rome. It was a terrific finale to a fabulous trip! I had one more day on my own … to visit the Spanish Steps.

    The hotel front desk attendant kindly offered walking directions to the Spanish Steps. It was about a twenty minute walk through the busy neighborhood streets lined with small vehicles, hotels, shops, businesses and deli’s. The Spanish Steps begin in Piazza di Spagna and rise to Piazza di Trinita dei Monti. People gather to rest or linger on the steps. Many enjoy the view of the city from up high. The church of Trinita dei Monti dates back to the early 1500’s and it includes some impressive frescos. The steps are lined with azaleas that offer a magnificent floral display throughout the summer months. At the Piazza di Spagna level there is a fountain and very close by are the designer stores of Prada, Dior, and Valentino to name a few. I should mention that there were no vehicles here. It was enjoyable just to walk around this energetic area of the city.  

    The end of this 10 day Italian journey was approaching. The Spanish Steps offered me a wonderful place to reflect on all that was experienced. I had such a feeling of satisfaction that I had seen and experienced as much as possible during the trip. I absolutely recommend a Trafalgar Tour. I enjoyed not having to think much about the logistics of the trip as we were guided. It is a trustworthy travel company that gives back to the local farm house and winery family businesses. These local locations are what many travelers want – to experience the region with people who enjoy sharing their kitchen, their cooking and their stories. Italy is full of history, art, science and passionate people! I invite you to contact me and my colleagues at CTC Travel to help you plan your next trip on land or at sea!

    A reminder that you can see my photo posts on CTC Travel’s facebook page from April 2019.  Enjoy

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