I urge you to get up 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 cappuccino and we pretty much had the Pantheon to ourselves when it opened at 8.30am.
We traversed the city heading towards to the Spanish steps, I had been here just a few years earlier and could barely see the steps for all the people…today was a different view – it really does pay to get up early. And if you are photographer, the light is so much better. Street after street had picturesque walls dripping in golden colours of ochre clad with ivy and bougainvillea.
Along the way we stumbled upon the monumental Temple of Hadrion … only eleven impressive columns remain that are now part of the Italian stock exchange.
Like most travel you end up walking alot and sometimes not in the direction you intended! Most of the times they are happy diversions. Like finding 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 was drinking ‘when in Rome…’
We decided to let the crowd disperse whilst we joined plenty of other Roman families having Sunday lunch. Happenstance and a love of tiled terracotta floors 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.
Many more discoveries were made on this trip ~ including the exquisite Gallerie Pamphilj ~ an amazing collection housed in the families own home in the heart of Rome, an easy escape from the crowds on a Sunday afternoon. Where too much is not enough, for interior lovers there is plenty to ogle at. The flocked velvet wallpaper, the marble table with egg and dart brass edging, the perfectly worn floors and the upholstery…the key tassels, sigh.
On our last night we were back at the Pantheon enjoying a gelato with all the other Roman families and tourists enjoying the twilight hour, the cobalt blue sky and the late September temperature…Hopefully I will find time to write up a few more memorable moments that we spent in this eternal city.
Until then, ciao Brooke.