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Rome, Italy, Part 2

ITALY | Thursday, 17 January 2008 | Views [785] | Comments [5]

So I'm getting used to waking up tired even after a good night's sleep, but you have to push on so that's what I did. Fortunately, it wasn't raining but stayed overcast. After grabbing some breakfast at the train station, I caught the Metro down to see the Circo Massimo. With visions of Ben Hur racing his chariot around the arena, I was surprised that there's not much of the original structure left. In fact its more of a green park with the original track being used by people to walk their dogs! Nevermind, I kept walking past the Santa Maria in Cosmedin (had enough of her :) and crossed the Tiber to walk along the river. This took me to the remains of an old bridge and past a Jewish synagogue before I turned up the street and came across Area Sacra di Largo Argentina, a really old ruin (<100BC) which largely remained undiscovered for some time. Its become a sanctuary for stray cats and there were quite a few just milling around.

I walked further and got lost in the small winding cobbled streets, which is the real Roma to me, full of hidden al fresco pizzerias and market stalls. I came out in front of another amazing old building, the Palazzo di Giustizia, but by-passed it to go to the Castel Saint Angelo, which used to hold the ashes of Emporer Hadrian. It has a museum (and cafe) for tourists so I enjoyed walking around getting some more history in my veins then having lunch with a view over St Peter's Cathedral and the Vatican.

I crossed back over the Tiber and went up to the Trinita del Monti, another tourist icon undergoing some sort of renovation (which seems to happen a lot wherever I've been - probably 'cos its off-peak season). But I spotted another Egyptian obelisk down the road so headed for it. Its in a huge piazza called Piazza del Popolo which is bordered by a couple more cathedrals and other glorious Roman buildings.

I was about to turn back from there but spotted an exhibition of Leonardo da Vinci's mechanical gizmos. Now that was interesting :). From old sketches and diagrams, they created working models from wood and iron and rope of many of the mechanical breakthroughs this genius created - even the bicycle which surprised me. With cogs, wheels and pulleys he came up with a huge array of mechanical gems - things like odometers, catapults, flapping wings, ball bearings and the horizontal drill. The display also included a small room of mirrors in an octagonal shape so the artist can see all sides of his subject at the same time, very clever :).

I caught the Metro back close to the hotel, and thought, as I'm getting asked by Italians for directions, I must be looking like one ;), so went for a haircut and beard trim at a small barber shop. Even though the barber looked like Mr Bean he did a good job I reckon, so now I'm looking even more local than before (but I still need my Gucci suit and a Ducati, hehe). I also decided to finally do a big laundry session and clean everything I've been wearing for the last month! Up until now I've been scrubbing clothes in hotel bathrooms :P, so its really convenient that the internet point is at the back of the laundromat!

Anyway, tomorrow I bid farewell to Italy and fly into Valetta, Malta for the next part of the journey. I'm looking forward to it 'cos its my grandpa's home country :) and maybe I'll meet some long lost relatives.  I've enjoyed Rome, its easy to get around, the food is great, and there's always plenty of history and things to see, and the girls are gorgeous :) (So why am I still single, huh?).

Stay tuned ... and arividerci :)

Tags: Sightseeing



sounding interesting matt..you've been seeing some of the wonders of the world..cant wait to see the pics of rome...take care mon...eat well..sleep well...drink vino :)

  Chris Jan 17, 2008 1:52 AM


eech...would u believe its 12 midnight and it's still 31 degrees here...headin for 39 on thursday....bring some snow back with u huh...lol :)

  Chris Jan 17, 2008 2:00 AM


Just read your latest update on Rome. Sounds like i'll have to put that place on my list of things to check out when i finally travel :) Nice to hear that you got at least one day of sunshine mate. Funny how people were asking you for directions. You must really have looked like a like a native of the region. Hope your trip to 'the old country' is fruitful and enriching for you. I'm looking forward to the rundown on it. Take care mate.


  Steve Watson Jan 17, 2008 10:47 AM


Hey Matt, maybe you can catch up on some sleep in Malta as you're there for a few days, store up some energy for Germany and Mexico. Knew you'd like Rome, it's impressive, isn' it? Stay well!! Ciao

  Mum Jan 17, 2008 8:03 PM


hey matt, it must be hard going from the east to the west and i imagine winter isnt too much fun in the med. however did you realise that the santa maria de cosmedia is where the marble bocce de la verite is? the hand of truth which is supposed to close in over your hand if you tell a lie. and the torre cat sanctuary is where the ruins are of where julius casear was murdered ....

  aberline Jan 19, 2008 2:28 PM

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