What a wonderful city to discover day and night, around every corner ancient Rome lies in waiting, ruins and columns more grandiose than the ones you just passed….but first things first.
Awake early to wander the streets before the Romans and the masses get going. We took our café standing at the bar with a croissant & mini crostada at the famous St Eustachia café. This traditional Roman café is tucked behind a small piazza near the Pantheon and was full of locals doing the school drop off with giggling children heading off to kindergarten. A quick cappacino and we pretty much had the Pantheon to ourselves when it opened at 8.30am.
We traversed the city through Piazza Navone and up and onwards to the Spanish steps, I had been here just a few years earlier and could barely see the steps for all the people…but it pays to get up early in Rome. Keep walking in this direction and you reach the beatufiul Villa Borghese & the Gardens.
Deciding to avoid the major monuments, we passed the picturesque & ivy clad Hotel Raphael enroute to Via del Coronari where we whiled away the afternoon meeting with antique dealers and artisans in workshops including a wonderful art restoration workshop. Ending the day with Aperol Spritz, like every other person seemed to be drinking ‘when in Rome…’
On the other side of of the Tiber River lies the Vatican, as we approached this awe inspiring building we were overwhelmed by the numbers walking away from the Sunday mass with the Pope. We decided to let the crowd disperse whilst we joined plenty of other Roman families having Sunday lunch. Happenstance and love of the tiled terracotta floor drew us into La Zanzara. We got the last table in the front bar area and it was not until I went looking for the ‘gabinetto’ that I saw just how many big tables of Italian families were breaking bread here – well worth looking up when on this side of town.
So many more discoveries were made on this trip ~ including the exiqusite Gallerie Pamphilj ~ what an amazing collection housed in the families own home in the heart of Rome, an easy escape from the crowds on a Sunday afternoon.
Lots more details of great shops, a fab last night dinner and more about the art restoration workshop will follow but i wanted to post this before we head to the UK – i have a plane to catch & i have too much luggage!! Ciao, ciao x