Tuesday, 24 August 2010

Pantheon and the Trevi Fountian

We finished our tour with Daniel, and started our own walking tour of Rome.

We headed for the Pantheon, with a stop for lunch (Bruschetta again for Nicole… are you starting to see a pattern??)

The Pantheon was originally built for all the Roman Gods.  In the 7th century it was converted to a Roman Catholic Church dedicated to St. Mary, which guaranteed its survival. Its dome is about ½ a metre bigger in diameter than St Peters, apparently a planned move by Michaelangelo (when he designed St Peter's dome) to pay homage to the classical Roman style.

The altar.
The Pantheon has for the world's largest unreinforced concrete dome. 
The oculus allows air to circulate inside, and there is a drainage system below the floor for the rain water during storms.

The sunlight gradually moves along the dome during the day.

Raphael is buried in the Pantheon, (1520) 

Our next stop was the Trevi fountain, made famous by the film La Dolci Vita. The place was packed, but we managed to get next to the fountain to throw our coins (guaranteeing a return to Rome, YIPPEE).
It is estimated that 3,000 euros are thrown into the fountain every day.  The money is gathered up each day and supports a supermarket for Rome's needy through a charity called Charity Caritas  

We will all be back!!
Next some delicious Gelati, a cool off under a Roman fountain, and some shopping for Phil (a local football jersey for his collection).

We had heard several times about the ‘Spanish Steps’ – so we thought they must be worth a visit. We trekked across to them, and found… a set of steps. Later on, we read that it was simply a fashionable to meet, also that it is the widest and longest staircase in Europe. There is a rule enforced by local Police that you are not allowed to eat on the stairs, but it is always crowded with people.

We had a nice stroll home, via the four fountains, and the Piazza di Independence. We found a small, inexpensive but fantastic trattoria in the back streets away from the railway station, and enjoyed a lovely last dinner in Rome.

The next day, we had a sleep in and a late breakfast, followed by a short (2 hour) walk. We cruised a big circuit which included the Colosseum, and a shop that sold bags with Vespas on them (Nicole has been looking for this the entire holiday, seeing ass though she can't get herself a real Vespa...yet!!). We caught a coach to the airport and flew back to Berlin…at least for a few nights before our next adventure!!

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