Saturday, August 24, 2013

All roads lead to Rome!

photo by Greenery
Summer is winding down, you say? Well, here the heat has returned in brute force, pushing the thermometer steadily towards the 100's. Students have returned, adding 20,000 + to the population of our city. The streets are crowded with young adults and their inattentive, aggressive driving habits. Ugh! The garden is waning, the outdoor pool is closing, and schools are in session. A good time to head for Italy!

My first stop is Rome, and I've been looking at options for what to do during my three day stay. I often stay with friends, but they'll be out of town this time, so I'm on my own for most of my stay. On the final day, however, I'll be attending a wedding, and will spend the afternoon and evening at that event, visiting with my friends from Modena. Their son, Tiziano, is marrying a Roman woman, and she also happens to be a famous rock singer (in Europe and South America), so it could really be interesting. As for what to do the other days, I have a few options:

Doria Pamphili Gallery, one of the larger and better art galleries in Rome that I've not yet visited.  It has an immense gallery of art from a family collection, and is housed in the palazzo where a member of the family still lives. The ornately decorated rooms are beautifully maintained and many are recently restored.

museo doria pamphili

Castel Sant'Angelo is giving night tours, which could be interesting, and there's an English language tour at 10:30 pm the day I arrive. Though I've spent a lot of time in Rome before, I've rarely been out at night, and never on my own. So this could be an interesting course to follow. And there's a great view from the terrace! The fortress was built as a mausoleum for the Emperor Hadrian (AD130-139), but it has also been a prison and a papal residence. Some Popes even hid there for protection in times of danger. There is a covered passageway which still connects Castel Sant'Angelo to the Vatican, and this would be on the evening tour! Castel Sant'Angelo now houses a museum with a variety of exhibits, including Renaissance paintings and pottery.

Castel Sant'Angelo, 2012
Cinecittà, the famous Italian movie studio, is giving tours of their facilities south of the city, and it'd be fun to see where Fellini and other famous Italian directors made their movies. Many American and British productions have also been filmed there, including Ben Hur and Scorsese's Gangs of New York. Unlike Universal Studios in the U.S., it's NOT a theme park.

Via Appia Antica
I've yet to visit the Baths of Caracalla or Palatino Hill, so they add a few more options. Another trek I'd like to take would be riding a bike on the Appian Way, which I attempted  walking in 2012, but only made it through the first few miles of a 20 mile round-trip journey to the Aqueduct Park outside of Rome. When I have more time and someone to do it with, I'd like spend a day riding the cobbled road. But  this time I may take the metro to the park, and see the other end of the road. Here's more information on this ancient road, which was built in 312 B.C. and originally extended from Rome to Brindisi (on the Adriatic coast), a length of 350 miles.

Via Appia Antica

Aqueduct Park

As always, I'll probably spend time wandering around favorite spots in Rome: the Pantheon, Piazza Navona, Pincio Park, the Spanish Steps and Trastevere. While I was housesitting for several years near Rome, I had the chance to spend many days hanging out in the eternal city, but they were mostly day trips. I'm looking forward to being there in the evenings and at night for a change. Should be an adventure!

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