After a bit of rest and a snack we decided to take a roundabout route to dinner via Trevi Fountain, designed by Nicola Salvi and built between 1732 and 1762 it remains one of Rome’s most iconic must-see landmarks.
Well, the trip there was interesting mainly in that it took us through a much more crowded and far more touristy neighborhood, making us appreciate our choice of apartments even more. The fountain was impressive, not what we expected (side of a building instead of a round thing in a square,) and mobbed beyond belief. Our driver had warned us to be there before 8AM and he was right – hundreds and hundreds of people playing with their phones and eating gelato while taking up every square inch on both the upper and lower viewing levels. I took a requisite few photos and we high-tailed it out of there.
Our route there and back followed one of the walking tours in our Frommer’s book so we were able to literally stumble on the Piazza of Montecitorio, site of the Bernini designed lower house of parliament and the 2600-year-old obelisk in the open space out front. It once served as the gnomon in a giant sundial commissioned by the emperor Augustus. We also passed the 100’ tall Column of Marcus Aurelius, depicting his victories against the German tribes. Lastly, an impressive line of columns that once formed the north wall of the 2nd century Temple of Hadrian.
Heading back towards home we popped one more time into the Pantheon. Much less crowded than our first visit, it was much easier to stand at the edge and take the photos I failed to get when we visited a couple of days ago. Tonight, the Oculus was the brilliant blue of the dusk sky instead of its normal bright midday white.
We doubled back and had a nice dinner at a place just off the Pantheon’s square. MLW had a penne and salmon dish, I finally managed to try Caccio y Pepe, a pasta dish made with parmesan, olive oil and a ton of black pepper.
Highlight of the night – a vending machine for bags of coffee beans. Italian culture at its finest!