On Thursday, J and I walked through familiar turf to see Piazza del Popolo.
Like the other popular sights, it seethed with chatty, photo-taking tourists. The selfie stick and flower vendors wandered around trying to make a euro. Nearly every Asian tourist had a selfie stick extended, even for taking non-selfies.
Flower truck man makes a sale.
Humanoid paint peel.
Check out those knockers.
The yellow gateway.
Light and shadow.
Life finds a way.
Water access panel designed in Milan.
The boobs and dong of Piazza del Popolo.
Inside the Basilica Parrocchiale Santa Maria del Popolo.
We walked up the hill to Villa Borghese Gardens and enjoyed the view of the piazza. To save some time exploring the rest of the large park, we rented a motor-assisted, covered pedal car. Twelve euros per hour, photo ID for deposit.
Pedaling activated an electric power boost that let us fly over hills, into ditches, over curbs, and go off roading. A real, car and bus filled road split the park in two, so we had to navigate a traffic circle a few times.
Awkward confession booth placement.
Plaza from above.
Old track that we circled.
Man on a ledge.
Where is my mind?
We walked down the hill and went into a fancy, delicious and tourist friendly restaurant called Colline Emiliane.
I was sweating bullets, and we had no reservation, but a friendly waiter sat us between another group of tourists and two stylish Italian business people.
We ordered a plate of prosciutto, bread, Sicilian broccoli with garlic and chili, fresh pasta bolognese, and slow cooked veal with mashed potatoes. J washed it down with mineral water; red beer for me. Total: 55€.
After lunch, we walked to the the Capuchin Crypts: part tourist trap, part history, and part art located beneath the church of Santa Maria della Concezione dei Cappuccini. After paying our 8€ entrance fees, we walked through the museum exhibit featuring historical artifacts from the Capuchin friars.
In the floor below, 7 tiny chapels were decorated with the skeletal remains of 3,700 bodies. No photos were allowed, and the policy was enforced by a very tired and stern looking woman watching from the end of the hall.
I can understand their no photo policy as being respectful for the dead. But I also think it’s a little silly as they have already made the bones of the friars the subject of tourist gawking. I suspect the issue is more about not wanting to enforce flash photos as well as propping up their postcard sales.
A view of one of the crypt chapels. Photo courtesy of the internet.
Our next destination was gelato from a recommended shop in the southward vector. Their neighborhood was less touristed, more littered, and filled with a few more women of the night. The gelato was cheap and tasty, and it gave us the energy to walk by the Colosseum for sunset.
Birdcages and dead vines.
Call me Wall Face.
The apartment of a plant lover.
Gelato: tobacco chocolate, lemon ginger, black rice and rose water.
Vittorio Emmanual Monument.
Back at the apartment, J feel asleep early while I ate bread. She awoke to eat bread as I got ready for bed. We brushed the bread crumbs from our heads and both went to bed. Well, at least that’s what she said.
Distance walked for the day: 11km/7mi
Friday, we slept until 10:30. Our legs needed the rest.
We bought bus tickets from a tobacconist and took the 280 bus north to check out some buildings J wanted to see.
Fiat and dog walker.
The car you can park either way.™
Caps on steps.
Back of MAXXI.
The largest Fiat so far: motorhome size.
Largo Luciano Berio.
Before our long walk back, we stopped for gelato at another new place. I had cream caramel, dark chocolate, and pistachio.
We crossed the river and walked along one of the lower pathways. Young students were kayaking upstream.
The neighborhoods on the western side of the river weren’t nearly as charming as the old center, but we did enjoy sitting on the steps of the supreme court building and watching kids play in the plaza.
Stick it where the sun don’t shine.
Done for the day.
Not sure the parking rules here. Is ten feet close enough to the curb?
Old apartment building.
Man in yellow.
The abandoned boat house.
Trash filtering trees.
J contemplates weird rashes at sunset.
Cliché sunset photo with some bridge and some church in the background.
Back at the apartment, J hung our laundry to dry while I made a dinner of Brussels sprouts, bread with prosciutto and cheese, and miscellaneous chocolates for dessert.
As we dined, we listened to the people in the small office that shares the courtyard finish their day and ciao themselves out the gate.
Distance walked for the day: 19km/12mi
On Saturday, we got up at a decent hour and waited in a line to see St. Peter’s Basilica. The structure was massive and ornate, a scale hard to imagine from pictures. Photos can’t do it justice, so I didn’t try. I’m sure Peter is rolling over in his grave as he watches people taking grainy smartphone photos.
We wandered around the dumpy neighborhood northeast of the Vatican and got a lunch of healthy sandwiches. Then we skipped the massive line to the Vatican Museums by showing our e-ticket.
The Vatican Museums were packed with people and room after room of artwork. The rooms themselves were works of art, many decorated floor to ceiling with mosaics and ornate paintings.
High concept street art.
St. Peter’s Basilica is massive.
Massive and ornate.
Bird on awning.
Adam and Eve.
It’s marble all the way down.
Crazy pants map room ceiling.
Bulbs and coins.
The only place where photos weren’t allowed could have no justice done with photos: The Sistine Chapel.
In person, this room is mind-blowing. It’s a huge, Where’s Waldo dense trompe-l’oeil masterpiece of colorful and beautifully rendered scenes. It seems to come from another reality.
Me, in the Vatican.
Sunday morning, we take the train out of here.
Distance walked for the day: 14.5km/9mi