From Rome, with Love

(The last installment of my Italy trip, and only half a year later!)

Finally, it was to be my last day in Rome. It was a day filled with plazas and the famous fountains and statues that inhabited them.


The early morning had the perfect lighting for all the fountains and statues. The view being marred by the positioning of advertisements.

We started the day at Piazza Navona. The most famous fountain, Quattro Fiumi by Bernini, stands at its center. Two additional fountains lie at either end of the plaza.

Next was Campo de Fiori, a small square with a statue of a philosopher (Giordano Bruno) at the center and inhabited by a market selling fresh flowers, vegetables, jams, pottery, etc. This was another location where public executions used to take place, the aforementioned Bruno being burned alive for heresy in 1600.  

A short walk north-east will take you to Largo di Torre Argentina. This is a depressed square featuring ruins of four temples. The oldest of the temples date back to 101 BC. In fact, these temples were reconstructed in antiquity after a fire in 80 AD. 

Like many ruins in Rome, you start to grasp the true age and history of civilization after the sudden realization that the first restoration works took place in a time unfathomable to us in the distant past. Many current archeological sites in Rome were themselves the subject of archeological explorations and restoration during the Roman Republic, a time we label with the faraway words of "classical antiquity".

Largo di Torres Argentina is also home to a shelter housing a large population of wild cats. All the cats are neutered and a sign noted that adoptions could be made by interested parties.

Next came a few small plazas to see the Fontana delle Tartarughe, and Bernini's Elephant and Obelisk (in Piazza della Minerva).

Nearing noon, it was then off to the famous Pantheon. Built in ancient Roman times, it was converted to a Roman Catholic church in the 7th century.

It was extremely crowded inside and difficult to take a picture of the feat of ancient engineering marvel that is the dome of the Pantheon, or of any of the other tombs and statues about its circumference.

It was, however, much easier to take a picture of a well-dressed horse in the plaza outside. Piazza della Rotonda is also home to another obelisk with some pf the most amusing faces I've seen on sculptures.

Next on this whirlwind tour of famous Roman landmarks was the Column of Marcus Aurelius, located fittingly in Piazza Colonna. Even lame names sound more impressive in Italian.

And then, of course, the uber-famous Trevi fountain. The entire surrounding area and steps down to the fountain were all completely packed with tourists. However with a bit of patience (and some good old Canadian politeness), you can manoeuver down to the fountain's edge, make a wish and throw in a coin over your back.

The next famous Bernini fountain is the Triton Fountain located in Piazza Barberini.

After this point I'm a bit muddled on what happened. All I remember is that we got lost trying to find another plaza and instead stumbled upon a military band performance.

The final destination in Rome, and the conclusion of the trip in Italy, was the Piazza della Repubblica and the Basilica of St. Mary of the Angels and the Martyrs, a beautiful church (on the interior) located by the Terme di Diocleziano and right off the Piazza.

The Basilica is home to a lovely organ, with live performances throughout the day (or at least when I was there.) It is also home to a meridian line and sundial commissioned by Pope Clement XI.

And that concludes my trip to Italy! It was a beautiful place full of history, architecture and delicious food. I would love to return again some day and see all the other myriad of places I wasn't able to visit on this trip.

There's so much world to explore and see. I can hardly wait for my next trip!