Day 2 in Italy had us taking the train back to the collesseo, not to admire the Coliseum again, but for the Roman forum and Palatine Hill. The roman forum can probably be described as a graveyard of roman architecture, there are some buildings and structures still intact, but for the most part the forum is but a vague blueprint of what used to be, scattered with broken pillars and walls. It says a lot then, when the area still manages to impress, with bits of buildings and segments of columns still being fascinating to look at, the detail the romans put into building is really on another level.
After walking through the Roman Forum, we found ourselves at the ‘Altare della Patria’, a crazy huge building with statues and pillars all over the damn place, we were only passing by, so we just took some pictures then moved on (I think it’s a museum inside).
We were on our way to the famous Trevi Fountain, we stopped at a church along the way, but eventually made it to our destination. The Trevi fountain is probably featured in just about every rome guide/film/montage ever made, and for good reason, it was absolutely stunning to look at.
A huge white building framing multiple statues, with clear water pouring forth, there were about 4 levels of tourists present, and even fountain police present to blow their whistles at anyone trying anything dodgy.
Lunch was due, we used the tripadvisor app once again to hunt down an Italian restaurant just behind the Trevi fountain road, the ‘Fontana di Venere’, which would be home to the best meal of my holiday so far.
They provided a set menu, which included 2 main courses followed by a dessert and an espresso for 20 euros, I had a Fettuccini Bolognese followed by Veal with lemon, and then Panna Cotta… Oh my god.
The Bolognese was awesome, with just the right amount of seasoning, then the lemon sauce that came with the veal was amazing, and the potatoes that came with it were almost suspiciously tasty. Then the panna cotta came and that again was lovely, soft and creamy, yet somehow solid enough to pick up by stabbing it with a fork.
We were on a roll so far, we headed towards our next destination, the Spanish Steps (which aren’t even in Spain, weird), we got a little bit lost along the way, we wanted to head to some shopping district first because the map said it was close, but we ended up just wandering around seeing nothing particularly special. Eventually though, we found the Spanish steps, or rather, we found the church and statue at the summit of the Spanish Steps, lucky? After admiring the scenery and taking a little rest on the steps themselves, we were off again. Of interesting note, the Spanish steps are so damn busy that they may as well be called the human steps, you can barely even see stairs towards the bottom segment as there are so many tourists crowding the spot.
Some roads, another church, a shopping district (we found it by accident, it was filled with designer shops including a shop selling ties for 75 euro a piece) we boarded a bus hoping it would take us to our final destination of the day, the Pantheon. Unfortunately, it took us in the wrong direction, over a river and outside some other massive building with a statue, not entirely sure what this one was, but it looked important and was very pretty (just like half the large buildings in Rome) so I took some photos before we set off looking for another bus.
Half an hour of walking, and one more church later, we arrived at the Pantheon, which is, as it turns out, yet another ridiculously awesome huge roman construction. I’m not entirely sure why the romans decided they required their buildings to all be so large, perhaps they were preparing to welcome giants into the buildings at some point.
The inside of the Pantheon is actually more impressive than the outside, with its numerous statues and details, though I couldn’t help but shake the feeling I had assassinated someone here once in an alternate universe.
Rome as it turns out, is full of statues and beautiful churches, to the extent where you start to see them and not even bother to take photographs anymore, even though I’ve only been here for less than 2 days I have quickly become almost desensitized to fancy statues, columns and ruins. Something I have yet to be desensitized to yet though are the roads, which are 1 step below ‘cobbles’, filled with loose volcanic rock and the likes, the buses pass over them with all the smoothness of a car with square tires, and I have almost broken my ankle twice just walking around.
After the Pantheon, we started the lengthy journey home via 2 buses, something we’ve noticed is that nobody seems to bother paying for buses here, you can hop any of the 3 entrances for the bus and just sit down and the drivers doesn’t so much as bat an eyelid. Should you want to pay, there are 2 scanner/ticket points inside the bus, but only about 1 in 5 people seem to use them, even us with our Roma pass (unlimited travel for 3 days) have stopped bothering to scan the ticket because it feels so pointless, perhaps this information will help any of you travelling to Rome in the future.
A freshen up and rest later, we were off to hunt for some dinner, we walked around the area local to our hotel for a while without much joy, our hunt for a nice looking place eventually left us all hungry enough until we just decided to go for whatever shows up next, which as fate would have it, would be the ‘Ristorante la Stiva’, the staff here seemed unimpressed with our foreign antics, and was not afraid to express it with his grumpyass face. The food served at the restaurant was a different story however, I ordered the Lobster Spaghetti and it was pretty damn good.
On our way home we stopped off at a gelato place which we spotted the other day which had a massive congregation of people outside it. Experience says any food outlet with a queue or crowd outside has to be good, so we gave it a try. It spoke for itself, 2 Euros for 3 scoops of gelato, a good amount of flavours and a cute girl shovelling it all onto the cone, she topped it off with a wafer and a spray of cream, as if the fistsized ball of ice cream wasn’t enough.