We arrived in Rome after a second insanely bureaucratic, chaotic and expensive flight on RyanAir. But we arrived in Rome! The City of Eternal Love, historic, highly caloric — where Everything is Big. Our apartment is in the charming neighborhood called Monti, within walking distance of everything we want to see, and full of cafes, churches and shops.
We started our first day at Trevi Fountain, which was once the terminus of the Roman aqueduct and the largest of thousands of Roman water holes in 4th century CE. The weather is in the 90s, so Avery and Bella found a spot in the shade among a throng of tourists and threw their coins into the pool. According to legend, this will assure their return to Rome. I did it in 2007 and it worked! I was interested to learn that every year tourists toss more than $1 million in Trevi fountain, all of which goes to feed the poor.
On our way back to our apartment, we took a wrong turn (something I do frequently but have so far never regretted) and found ourselves at the also-imposing Altare della Patria, built in 1911 to honor united Italy’s first king, Vittorio Emanuele.
In the afternoon, we visited the Colosseum, with a history that reminds us of the Hunger Games. Emperor Vespasian– not Armenian — built it to stage entertainment that featured fights to the death — between animals, between animals and humans, and between humans. The games, which were free, were designed to keep the population distracted while Rome effectively burned. Sounds familiar.
On our second day, we saw “The Ecstasy of St. Theresa,” my favorite Bernini sculpture, at the little church of Santa Maria della Vittorio. The sculpture has raised eyebrows for hundreds of years because of the suggestive expressions on the faces of the saint and the angel.
Tomorrow, we get on the train to Florence!