Sunday, 16 February 2014

Italy: Rome

Gladiatorial splendour, the Colosseum
Monday 22 July 2013: Casa Santa Sofia is a quiet B&B overlooking a lively little fountain piazza not far from the Colosseum, ideal. I'm in Rome partly because it's my chum Robin's birthday and Debbie, his partner, has set him up, he thinks that they are there alone. So, I knock on their hotel-room door with a bottle of vino and a glass in-hand.
"Where's the party mate?"
I don't think I've seen anyone so surprised (Rob thinks I'm in Japan).
Tuesday 23: After a boozy night, the great gladiatorial amphitheatre is our first port of call. Unlike Greek theatres, built into hillsides, the Colosseum is entirely free-standing making it one of the great wonders of the modern world and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Inside you can just imagine fierce gladiators, starving lions and timid Christians crouched in the underground labyrinth below, awaiting their fate. Nearby we explore Palatine Hill, the birthplace of Rome, and the Roman Forum.
It's Rob's 50th today so we dine in the rooftop restaurant of their five-star hotel, great meal.
Thursday 25: The guys are shopping so I head to the Galleria Boghese where there's more cherubs and religious art than I care for. More to my taste is the Galleria Nazionale d'Arte Moderna with a reasonable range of modern western art from the usual culprits.
Friday 26: The Panthenon temple, originally dedicated to the gods of ancient Rome, stands behind the great granite Corinthian columns of it's portico. The rotunda's domed roof has a central hole open to the sky for light and air; rain is dealt with by drainage channels in the floor. Continuing on to splendid Piazza Campidoglio I stop for lunch, it's a blisteringly hot day.
Saturday 27: I've walked past the Trevi Fountain previously but today I dally for a while, if only you could jump in, it's still hot here. Heading up to the famous Spanish Steps where there's really not much to write home about I continue to Castle Saint Angelo which sits above the river Tiber and call it a day. The food and service at our evening meal is awful, less said the better.
Slideshow of Rome.

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