August 12

On August 12, we checked out of our hotel early because we preferred to kill time at the airport. The hotel was very bad. We had a bumpy flight and then arrived at the Hotel Tirreno. The hotel manager there is a very nice man, Alberto. On arrival, he gave us Sicilian orange juice which is bloodred and very tasty. Arancina rossa. He also gave us a bottle of Italian champagne since we were on our honeymoon. He was helpful with information and directions. The room and bathroom were decent and the room had great aircon which was a nice change.

Although we did not plan to, the first day we did quite a bit of walking. We walked by the Colosseum (our hotel was about a 10 minute walk away) and to the Campo dei Fiori and to the Piazza Navona and to the Pantheon, a favorite for both of us. We finally ate at a little café—indoors unfortunately since it was so wonderful outside. But we were tired and hungry and all the places outside were taken. The area our hotel is in is Via Cavour. It is a great location and we’re pleased with the hotel.

Yet another damn hot day on our trip. The Coliseum is still an inspiring spot, even though we’d both been before.
Eating at the Campo Dei Fiori, a favorite spot for us. It’s just a lot of restaurants around a historic square, but it has character and the early-evening weather is fantastic. Salad and pizzas, please.

We started the day of the 15th by going to Piazza Vittorio to see about going to an open air night movie. There wasn’t anything in English, which was too bad since it seems like a wonderful thing to do. We took the metro to Barberini to catch up on some email and checked another indoor movie theater. No luck. We walked back and had lunch at a little snack café by the Trevi Fountain. We went back to the Pantheon and it was open this time so we went in. Incredible architecture. An amazing dome with a shaft of light in the center. We felt bad because there was a confused, trapped sea gull. The tomb of Raphael is in the Pantheon. And also Vittorio (whom we have decided is a big ass!). The Pantheon has been Catholicized but it must have been incredible as a temple to all the Roman gods. Even though it is now a church to one god, it is still called the Pantheon. It reminded Dmitri of religious conflicts (occupation/reoccupation) at Angkor.

Me and a big hand. This is inside the Capitoline Museum, one of many good ones in Rome.
We both love the Pantheon. It’s a beautiful structure and has a wonderful square outside of it. Oh, and there’s a great gelatto joint right there as well . .

The next day we spent at the Forum and Capitoline Hill walking around. We had a lovely siesta and then had dinner at a café sort of near the Spanish Steps. Another big day of walking.

On the 14th of August we went back to the Colosseum and walked around inside. There was an exhibit, Blood and Sand (Sangue et Arena), about gladiators and the history of the Colosseum. It was very hot. A hot day. We checked out Termini to figure out our way to the airport a few days later and also got books and fruit. We had a cheap pizza lunch and then went for a siesta.

This is the poster for the “Blood and Sand” exhibit at the Coliseum. Lots of devices to kill people. No Kirk Douglas.

That night we had dinner at the Campo dei Fiori and met up with Dana, a tour guide we had hired for the evening. We walked around for a couple of hours from the Campo dei Fiori to the Piazza Navona to the Pantheon to the Trevi Fountain to the Vittorio Emanuela II Monument to the Capitoline Museums. Lots of information. We now love Rome even more than before. At Dana’s suggestion, we ended the tour by getting gelato at Cremeria which is next to the Parthenon. Heaven! Very yummy. Dana is an American who has been living in Rome for many years. She told us all about living there and renting places. Hmm. Good to know for the future. She filled us in on a lot of historical details, but didn’t ovewhelm us with information.

It still stuns me that the Forum is all just sitting out there and tourists can walk all over it. Colleen MacCullough buffs get an extra cheap thrill, gratis.

We had gelato when Tre Scalini was closed. We decided that we would have to go back there to get tartufo. We went to the Capitoline Museums and arrived hot, tired, and cranky. We went for the view, but that area was closed off. It is probably a very good museum (the oldest in the world—500 years old) but nothing was labeled so we didn’t know what anything was. After a siesta we took the metro to the Circo Massimo and made our way from there to the Mouth of Truth and then across the river to Trastevere. Dana had told us about a wonderful little pizza place in Trastevere called Dar Poeta. We wandered over there and it was a very difficult place to find. We kept winding around in circles. But while we were wandering around, we found an orange juice place on the piazza with the Santa Maria church.

Even the tickets look good.
All around the world we accumulated cards and tickets like this to check email and for Cindy to send out updates. It’s amazing how ubiquitos these access points are now. I think Cambodia was the only tough spot. Shocker.
Proof of tartufo.

We finally got the yummy tartufo at Tre Scalini. We ended up having a meal on the Piazza Navona but the service was terrible and the food pretty average.