Tuesday was Randy’s birthday. I don’t know how we’ll ever top that in the future! We started the day in Campo di Fiori where I ogled all the food options and the beautiful flowers. Then we did another tour from the book which took us to the Jewish Ghetto area, which is now a thriving business community and then bam! Old stuff. Ruins from 1,500 years ago were right in the middle of what otherwise could have been a major intersection.
Next, we did the Coliseum tour, which struck me the same as the Sistine Chapel – amazing, but my expectations were too high. Later in the day, we did the rest of the ruins. That blew me out of the water. It just kept going and going! It took us two and a half hours to go through everything (let’s be honest…find our way out…we got lost once or twice) and that was even at Maggie speed.
Lunch that day was at a neighborhood place recommended to me by an Italian friend, called Luzzi’s. Amazing. We sat next to (almost on top of) two Italian businessmen, so it was lunch and a show. I loved it.
After much more walking, we stopped for a glass of wine and ended up chatting with a lady from San Francisco, who was totally Meghan in 30 years. That made me smile.
Our apartment owner was so kind as to make a dinner reservation for us at her favorite restaurant, Grappano d’Oro. She told them it was Randy’s birthday and that we were on our honeymoon, so they treated us like superstars! In place of birthday cake, Randy had a pistachio semi-freddo. I ordered an espresso the same time as dessert, but it didn’t come out together. When I asked the waitress about this, she said “caffe comes after dessert with “after caffe” after that”. And with a wink, she brought out two shots of lemoncello with anise cookies as her birthday present. What a great ending!
Day three found us in a piazza drinking fresh squeezed orange juice and eating chips while watching British college students offer up free hugs. (FACT: they were much more successful than I think they would have been in Town Square USA.) After breakfast, we took the tram to the Capitol Museum. Three hours later, I thought my head would explode. It was neat stuff (Roman busts, sculpture, paintings and tapestries, plus access to more ruins), but there was so much of it! This was the first place I had to leave Randy to go at our own speed.
After this museum, we took the Metro to the Pyramid to do another walking tour. The train was crazy busy! Randy even thinks he caught someone trying to pickpocket him. He handled it well, but I think we were both glad we didn’t have to ride that again.
The couple walks we did that afternoon took us through quiet residential neighborhoods where we explored parks and churches. I lit a prayer candle in one of the churches because that seemed like something my dad would have done. In another church, we watched the beginning of an evening mass.
We packed up the last morning and thanked Rome for a great visit over pastries and pear juice on the balcony. The city was great. Not too touristy, but we were still able to see so much history. Men were very formal in complete business suits, even on bikes and scooters. Older women were in understated business dress with overstated hair, makeup and jewelry. Younger women mixed in with the European tourists-fashionable, but very casual.
There are no rules followed when it comes to walking, driving or biking. Cars and motorcycles drove in tram lanes (separated from car lanes by cement) and into oncoming traffic. Walkers just dove into traffic when there was a break in the action. The city was pretty void of chains expect from McDonald’s and a gelateria called Blue Ice.
For a full set of pictures from Rome, please see my Facebook page. Next up, Firenze!