– Do you think they are indifferent to all the ruins that surround people here? Just as we often take nature in Norway for granted? I ask, after three days on foot in the Eternal City. This year’s trip with Mom was to Rome.
Hurry, the Pope is speaking now! The man who turns to us is one of the many selling guided tours in the Vatican Museums, among other things. Around him there are also people selling fake designer bags, who run away as fast as they can when the police appear. He points eagerly in the direction of Peter’s Basilica. – Sure, we smile and stroll towards the museum and our plans there. We don’t quite believe him. We’re early, no big queues here yet. Within the museum’s walls, we bend our necks while admiring the ceiling, stop at the statues and paintings, and sit down to enjoy the Sistine Chapel. There is so much here – so overwhelming…
Full of impressions we go down to St. Peter’s Basilica, finding the guide was right – the Pope is there! We see him on the big screen as he shakes hands with a number of people. When we look extra closely, we glimpse something white in between the others up there on the podium. St. Peter’s Square is closed to anyone, we will certainly not enter. Its okay, I’m not so excited about the Pope anyway. But Peter’s Church should be seen, we decide to come back another day.
Rome feels … delicious! It is walking distance to most things we would like to see, and walking is what we do. A lot! But we did take the metro to Ottaviano to rest our legs for the museum. Good idea we agree later as we toast with chilled white wine, while sitting down in a small restaurant in one of the streets around Piazza Navona. The legs are tired now.
I love the narrow little streets with interesting details everywhere. I really get my fill here, Rome is full of them. There is something about walking around and getting surprised at what lurks around the next corner. A fountain, an interesting detail in the architecture, a shop … Since we are in Rome the surprise here often means an old church or an obelisk as well. Besides, I love that the city is full of little fountains from which you can fill your water bottle.
The day before we were in the small streets of the Monti neighborhood. At the lovely Ai Tre Scalini we ate lasagna. This place was recommended by Giacomo, owner of the B&B where we live (I’ll tell you more about this accommodation in another article). I was famished after the flight and was uncomfortably full. Not Ai Tre Scalini’s fault, I ate way too fast.
I was still full when we walked around the Coliseum. Gave thumbs up for the impressive architecture and ambiance. It is strange. I have always thought that I would go to Rome one day and of course see the Coliseum, but I never thought that I would actually go inside. Do not ask me why. I therefore had no expectations other than what I’ve seen in movies. It is a stunning building, in terms of how it is built and what went on here. I’m glad I went inside.
Outside the Coliseum several men were selling umbrellas. Small rain showers came and went. We turned down the offer to buy an umbrella and sought shelter under one of the many balconies instead. So nice to just stand there and squint at the beauty around us. We were in no hurry anyway.
Again and again, we seem to end up around the Navona area, for a coffee or a delicious ice cream. According to Giacomo you get the best ice cream here, at San Crispino. It is tasty, and apparently without additives as well. A pure, tasty delight. Another day we are sniffing around the market in Piazza Campo de Fiore, and for a moment I regret that I did not bring a large suitcase to fill with spices, oils, pasta and sun dried tomatoes! Two different spices do come home with me. The pasta I pick up somewhere else.
Not far from where we live, is Panella. Here we pay 12 euros each, and receive one voucher for food and one for drink. Then we sit down at some high tables in the middle of the store with as much food we want from the buffet, and each with a glass of decent wine. The food consists of, among other things, various bruschetta, pizza, pasta, couscous, a type of potato salad and quiche. It comes in small handfuls, and you can sit here for a long time. So you get to carefully study the products available in the store as well. This is where I find tagliatelle with 5% Barolo, which I bring home. For a while I stand there with a few packages of pasta with ruccola as well, but find that I would rather cook pasta with fresh ruccola. I do my best to ignore all the sweets they sell in the bakery section. One can eat oneself to death in this place!
Top left: Delicious ice cream from San Crispino. Top right: sun-dried tomatoes at the market Pza. Campo de Fiore. Bottom left: Panella – a true paradise! Bottom right: Sweet tomatoes and mozzarella – perfect on a hot day.
Popular Trastervere also has many narrow streets, cozy, and is almost a cliché of a narrow alley in Rome… Of course we sit down here also with a glass of wine and eat good food. I smack my lips as I dip bread in olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Loving the heat from the sun. It is a warm day and winter melts out of my body. Church bells call a little further up the street. It is all peaceful.
There is a reason why Elizabeth Gilbert’s first part of the book “Eat, Pray, Love” was dedicated to food. In Rome you eat! We eat ice cream, pasta, pizza, bruchetta in many different places. Then there is the Salami al chioccolata (chocolate cake with biscuits – looking like a salami sausage) at Ai Tre Scalini! Delicious!
Right: Before I went to Rome, I found a website that focused on France’s answer to the street artist Banksy. Christian Guewy, also called C215, has produced several pieces of art around the city. One on a mailbox, in Pza. Trilussa in Trastervere. I accidentally find this.
Left: In Monti I find a signature I do not know. According to Google it is the work of the Serbian artist Sashka, or TKV as she signs with.
The last day we are outside the basilica again. Pope is gone and the doors are open to tourists again. The long, long queue is moving pretty fast and soon we are inside the overwhelmingly huge church, guarded by the Swiss Army with their funny looking uniforms. It is a somewhat clammy experience. There are a lot of people in here and we could certainly have made more out of our visit to the church. We could have climbed the stairs up into the dome, or gone down in the crypt where popes are buried. After browsing for a little while in the church we go out into the sun again instead.
Later, we stand in the middle of the impressive Pantheon – A temple of all gods. Looking up through the circular opening in the ceiling, I see straight up into the sky. It is cool in here. Pleasant. I take my eyes away and for a little while look out at the pillars that greet the visitors outside. Corinthian style, I have learned, with the feather-like decoration at the top.
So much history, so much interesting architecture and decoration. Can you ever walk around the streets here and be blind to this? Take it for granted? The eyes are wide admiring everything that surrounds us. From pretentious fountains to small details in a building.
We give the ceiling of the Pantheon one last look before we leave the old building and trudge out into the streets of Rome. It is hot out there now, and somewhere a cold glass of white wine is waiting for us. Some more food as well perhaps?
Fontana di Trevi and the Spanish Steps. Of course, one must see them. The challenge is… so does everyone else! 🙂
We flew Ryan Air from Oslo Rygge to Rome-Ciampino: NOK 1830,- return for 2 people
Bus from Ciampino airport to the Stazione Termini in Rome; Terravision – 4 Euros per person.
Can also be booked online.
I booked our accommodation through Hostelworld and the choice fell on the lovely Asian Delight B&B (will do a separate article on this place) 304 Euros for 2 people for 4 nights.
Tickets for the Vatican Museum was booked here, to avoid long queues. We were there early anyway, so it was no problem with queues. 19 Euros per person.
Our return flight to Oslo Rygge was very early in the morning, so I had to book an airport shuttle (cheaper than taxi). It was booked through Hostelworld / City Discovery. 16 Euros per person.