I can’t believe how time flies sometimes, especially when you’re having fun, but here we were, our last day in Rome, it had come round so quickly, but we had seen a lot in the short time we had been there.
On our last day, we decided to take the metro to Circo Massimo, not just a metro station, but an ancient arena where the Romans used to congregate in their thousands to watch chariot races, athletics, and gladiator games.
As we walked across the, now, green expanse in the shadow of the Imperial palace on the Palatine Hill, I imagined what life would have been like back then. It would have been a thrilling experience to witness the events that took place.
We walked towards the Tiber River and across the Ponte Palatino also known as Ponte Inglese (English Bridge) with views of Isola Tiberina and the remains of Ponte Rotto (Broken Bridge) the oldest stone bridge the city.
Isola Tiberina is a small island in the middle of the Tiber, connected by bridges on either side, and it was once the site of an ancient temple of Asclepius, the Greek god of medicine and healing.
Nowadays, the Fatebenefratelli hospital and the Basilica of St Bartholomew are located on the island.
From there, we walked back over Ponte Fabricio, the oldest bridge in Rome, that still exists in its original state, and went in search of coffee passing by more Roman ruins, this was the Portico of Octavia which dates from around 27 BC.
As we sat on Via del Portico d’ Ottavia drinking coffee, even the stone walls have a story to tell.
We continued our walk, following the map, to Campo de Fiori, another of Rome’s captivating squares. This one had a colourful market full of fresh fruit and vegetables, cheeses, meats, and flowers. it was buzzing with people everywhere.
We walked around it, searching for a restaurant to have lunch in, when we were, pleasantly, accosted by a guy who excitedly told us how the pizzas in his (boss’) restaurant were different to all the others, they had traditional bases rather than the thick crusts of other parts of Italy, and they were the best we’d find here!
Of course he was going to say that! We said the usual statement that comes from these situations, that we were going to look around, but we walked just five paces and decided that we would go back to his restaurant, if only for his enthusiasm for his work! But, we were glad we did! He wasn’t lying about the pizzas, the thin-crusted Margheritas, washed down with a bottle of white wine, were really delicious. In fact, we enjoyed them so much, we had a second round of both pizza and wine. Actually, one of the reasons we decided to have two rounds was because our waiter was both funny and charming, and he made us feel really welcome and glad we had chosen Campo De Fiori Ristorante. If you’re ever in the vicinity, I really recommend this place.
After our scrummy lunch, we took our leave and walked through the cobbled streets of the city until we arrived at the Pantheon, Rome’s best preserved building from Roman times.
It’s circular with a portico of eight, huge Corinthian columns at the front and two groups of four at the sides. The Pantheon’s dome has a central opening, called an oculus, and 2,000 years after it was built, it’s still the biggest, unsupported dome in the world.
We sat on the steps of the Fontana del Pantheon, in the middle of Piazza della Rotonda, and watched the people milling around in the sunshine, in the shadow of this grand edifice.
Inscribed at the top of the portico are the letters: M-AGRIPPA-L-F-COS-TERTIVM-FECIT which translates as Marcus Agrippa, son of Lucius made (this building) when consul for the third time. Fascinating stuff when you think about it, but it happens that this building was built by emperor Hadrian in 126 AD who kept the original inscription after Agrippa’s Pantheon was completely destroyed, and despite excavations it’s still uncertain who can be accredited with the building of it.
I never went inside, like with many of the places I visited while I was in Rome, that’s another reason to go back, but I was just happy to be in the company of my mum and dad.
In fact, I want to thank them for making some very special memories with me. It was time to cherish and I’ll never, ever forget it! Where to next mamma and papa? Grazie!! 🙂 ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥