Ritorno a Roma II

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Last time I took you to Rione Trastevere and Rione Prati, two beautiful neighbourhoods on the other side of the Tiber River.

Today we start again in Prati because that’s where I’ll be staying for the next few days in an apartment with a view of the Tiber, how lucky am I ? …..😉 Via the beautiful bridge Ponte Sant’Angelo we leave Prati and go on a journey of discoveries through a part of Rome that I didn’t see during my previous visit.

Put on a pair of comfortable shoes and prepare yourself because it is 38ºC and we will be walking for miles!

While wandering through the cosy streets of the old town I often encounter these beautiful vintage vehicles.

They are still very special, those Vespas, Bicycles and Fiat 500s!

Piazza del Popolo

Via ” Via del Corso” 😊, a 1½ km long shopping street that connects Piazza Venezia with Piazza del Popolo, we arrive at Piazza del Popolo. It is a beautiful square with an extraordinary number of interesting sights. 

In the middle, you will see a huge Egyptian Obelisk that was brought to Rome by Emperor Augustus in the year 10 BC. Augustus did this after he defeated Marcus Antonius and Cleopatra in Egypt. Originally this Obelisk was placed in the “Circus Maximus”, a huge chariot-racing stadium but when it fell into disrepair, it was transferred to the Piazza del Popolo. If you are like me and would like to know more about Emperor Augustus, Cleopatra and Marcus Antonius click here

Santa Maria dei Miracoli and Santa Maria in Montesanto

The most remarkable sights on this square are the two beautiful churches that stand on the south side of the square. They seem identical but they are not twins. The bell towers and the domes are slightly different, hardly noticeable at first sight! The first stones were laid in 1662 and both churches are separated by famous streets, Via del Corso in the middle, Via di Ripetta on the right and Via del Babuino on the left.

Fontana dela Dea Roma

Then, of course, there are the beautiful fountains. The Fontana dela Dea Roma and the Fontana del Nettuno. The Fontana dela Dea Roma depicts the goddess of Rome while at her feet are Remus and Romulus (the founders of Rome) suckling a wolf. A super interesting story and, for the fans, here is a link to the whole story. Romulus and Remus .

The goddess is flanked by two statues depicting the rivers of Rome Tiber and Aniene.

Before we go on let’s buy a mini bottle (with emphasis on mini) of cold water for € 1.00 … believe me with a temperature of 38ºC you are more than willing to pay this kind of money and the Indian seller knows that too!

We now climb from the Fontana dela Dea Roma up to the Piazza Napoleone and Villa Borghese from where you can enjoy a magnificent view over the Piazza del Popolo and the city.

Villa Borghese

Villa Borghese is a huge city park with various statues, ponds, fountains and the Galleria Borghese museum. The Galleria Borghese contains one of the largest private art collections in the world including works by Caravaggio, Leonardo da Vinci and Raffaello Sanzio ( yes, there he is again 😉 ) Unfortunately, I can’t go in because the tickets are limited due to the Covid and I was too late! So let this be a lesson ……. tickets can be ordered online at: Galleria Borghese

We now leave Villa Borghese again via the Piazza del Popolo. If you have become very thirsty from our walk through the park you can visit the famous cafes Canova and Rosati. You will find them both on the square, they are serious competitors, each with a regular crowd of celebrities who come to enjoy their daily coffee or aperitif.  It’s definitely not cheap there so you’ve been warned. I’ll stick to my €1.00 water 😉 .

Piazza di Spagna

This square owes its name to the adjoining Spanish Embassy. In the middle of this lively and atmospheric square, you will find the “Fontana della Barcaccia” (1629). This fountain was designed by the famous architect and sculptor Bernini and depicts a sinking boat. It was inspired by the severe floods of the Tiber.

From the Fontana della Barcaccia, the Spanish Steps ( Scalinata della Trinità dei Monti) lead up to the Trinità dei Monti, the French church on the Pincio Hill. Can you still keep it up?  This article is getting too long again…… so I have no other choice than to write a part 3!

But before I leave you at the end of Part 2 we must quickly visit the Monti district close to the Colosseum and end the day at Piazza Campo dei Fiori where I will watch the European Championship match Italy – Spain.  Oh what fun!!

Rione Monti

The name monti means “mountains”. Because in an earlier city division this district was located on 4 hills. It is highly enjoyable to stroll through the narrow and cosy alleys, visit artisan stores or eat in one of the many restaurants. Today, this is also one of the most popular nightlife neighbourhoods in the city. Especially the Via Urbana is a very cosy and lively street.

Piazza Campo dei Fiori

This is perhaps not the most beautiful square of Rome but certainly the cosiest! It’s an intimate square with a medieval character, it immediately feels good. During the day you will find here a super cosy and colourful market with all kinds of herbs, vegetables, fruits and flowers. The market is open from Monday to Saturday from 7:00 to 13:30.

There are many restaurants and bars around the square and especially at night, there is a great atmosphere. While looking for a place to watch the semi-final Italy vs Spain and something to eat, I ended up on this square. To my great disappointment, all the restaurants were already packed but again the luck was with me…….
I was just about to give up and head back to the apartment when I was tapped on the shoulder and asked, in Italian, if I wanted to eat and watch the soccer match. My answer was, of course, a resounding Sì ! “Do you mind sitting alone at that bar table?  We can set you up over there”. I didn’t have to think about that for a second 😊 and 2 minutes later I was sitting high and comfortable at a bar table with the TV screen and a glass of Pinot Grigio in front of me!

I soon discovered that I had ended up in a restaurant with mostly locals and the party soon began…. And a party it was! After a nerve-racking match, Italy won after penalty kicks from Spain.  Congratulazioni agli azzurri 🥂. It was going to be a noisy night!

The next time we go back to Rome we will bake Macaroons with Fortuna (yes… they really come from Italy !) and we will visit a somewhat lugubrious church…..



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