Ode to Rick Steves
Rick Steves. I love you. Even though you are corny sometimes and basically only write for Americans. But I still love you and thank you for your excellent Heart of Rome Walk and for suggesting to take it at night. It was lovely.
Ok sorry, had to get that out there! The Heart of Rome Walk was one of my most favorite parts of Rome. It took us on a leisurely stroll through the city center and across several major sites. I came across the self guided walking tour in Rick Steves 'Pocket Rome'. I love the little "pocket" size books that he writes. I find them much more efficient than the larger sized ones, especially for short trips. Anyway, he suggested that we start the tour in the evening and that's exactly what we did. After the fiasco earlier in the day, we were ready to just wander around and not use our brains too much. So after cramming our faces full of delicious Roman pizza on the Campo de Fiori, we began our tour. First stop, the statue of Giordano Bruno in the center of Campo de Fiori. Bruno was burned here in the square in 1600 for heresy. Bruno was an astrologer and philosopher and had some far out ideas for his time. But basically, in the end, he was found guilty of denouncing several core Catholic doctrines and was sentenced to death by fire.
So that's a little depressing. Anyway. We then waltzed our way over to the Piazza Navona but not before stopping in for some yummy gelato. Pistachio for me and Oreo for Van. Gelato shops are all along the streets and you don't have to purposefully seek one out. And so began our weekend full of cramming our mouths full of all that is pasta, pizza and gelato! Piazza Navona is magical as the sun sets. With the Four Rivers Fountain and the Fountain of Neptune, it's a nice place to just stop and take in the sights. The musicians come out onto the square and the mix between music, trickling fountains and chatter is just pure magic. We wandered around just taking in the sites and finishing up our gelato. Oh, and stopped by 400 peddlers trying to sell selfie sticks. Annoying much but I guess they gotta make money somehow!
Following the guide, we snaked our way over to the Pantheon. Now this was a sight. Built in 120AD and mathematically perfect, this structure is one of the best preserved Roman structures. I was awestruck to say the least, especially upon entering (and entry is free by the way) and viewing the oculus at the top. The Pantheon was originally a temple to all of the gods. Any god could be worshipped inside. During the Middle Ages, it was converted to a Christian church. Get this, the Pantheon has been in continual use for over 1900 years. Crazy! Oh and the amazing Raphael is buried here. After wandering around the interior, we sat outside on the base of a pillar and took in the square. Pretty cool to just be hanging out at the Pantheon!
|The pillars are from an Egyptian temple and supposedly are single pieces of stone|
The tour then leads you all the way to the Spanish Steps. We were pretty exhausted by this point and the steps were in the complete opposite direction so we headed over to the Vittoriano Museum Complex instead. This structure is just massive. It's said that the mustache on the statue on top of the structure is 5 feet across! Crazy! I was a nice place to take a break and decide what we wanted to do next. It had been a long day so we decided to walk home to Trastevere and take a quick nap before heading out for some yummy pasta. Easy decision!
Most cities in Europe are just simply amazing at night. And if you are in Rome, I wholeheartedly suggest taking the Heart of Rome self guided tour. You hit up some main city points while on a leisurely stroll. What could be better? Thanks Rick Steves!!