Thursday, September 26, 2013

Rome - first 8 hours

It's  wonderful, it's dirty, it's old, it's ancient, it's new.  Sorrento was 99.9% European and North American.  Rome is so multicultural.  Italians in their smart suits, Pakistanis with Italian accents on every street corner trying to sell something.  

Rome is divided into neighbourhoods. We are staying in the Republica neighbourhood, lots of hotels, restaurants and locals.  

Truth be told it was a little scary when we started walking around yesterday.  Jim thought everyone was a gypsy.  The cars and vespas were everywhere, even up on the sidewalks, and then we went in our first church, Santa Maria degli Angeli.  Part of this church was built by Michelangelo and there is a beautiful Bernini sculpture in it called "The Ecstasy of Saint Teresa".  Wrong church it is actually in Santa Maria Della Vittorio.  
Right across the road is the Piazza dei republica, built in 1870.  It has a gigantic fountain in the middle and 2 very high class hotels surrounding it.  It is always filled with cars, buses and vespas whipping from one lane to the next, lol I don't think they actually have lanes in Italy.  Btw vespas seem to have only one rule they all wear helmets, they don't follow lanes and they don't stop for red lights.

Our next stop was at the Monument of Vittorio Emanuel II, built in the early 1900s, this was a source of great national pride at the time and includes the eternal flame to the WWI unknown soldier, which has 2 sentinels guarding it everyday.  Present day romans dont like it because of the amount of ancient ruins he had to remove to build it.  It reminds me a little of Caesars Palace in Las Vegas.  Right beside this was the Foro di Traiano, a huge imperial forum, a city unto itself built by Trajan.  

We walked back to our hotel. Art Deco pronounced "ar tecco". Changed and went for dinner.  Our concierge recommended the Trastevere area, which was full of small cafes and literally 1000s of people wandering around.  Lots of little alleys with little shops all over.  tourists, locals, hawkers all mixed together wandering around with little vespas keeping you on your toes.  Another wonderful meal.  We are shocked at how reasonable it is to eat in Italy. We haven't spent more than 100 euros for dinner including tip.  Most have averaged around 70 euros, including the wine.  

The Tiber river with one of the many bridges in the distance

For some strange reason we decided to walk back to the hotel, we figure we walked about 20 Kms today.  

Ed at 

One of the beautiful tunnels joining up neighbourhoods.


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