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Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Up early and Vespa tour

On our last full day in Rome, we decide to get up early and see a few places without the crowds.

Piazza Navona


There is three fountains in this beautiful square.


The four rivers fountain designed  by Gian Lorenzo Bernini in 1651 for Pope Innocent X. Pope innocents family palazzo faced on to this square and the church of Sant 'Agnese of which he was a Sponsor. The story goes that in later years Bernini travelling through the square in a carriage pulled the curtains shut and commented " oh why did I create that eyesore"


The piazza Navona is built on the site of the stadium of Domitian which was built in the 1st century AD. By midday the sides of this piazza are lined with tables and the traders are selling paintings, etchings and the performers are playing their instruments it's an amazing place to be.


The Pantheon with not a tourist in Sights.
Still makes me go WOW




The Trevi fountain, not so quiet as the Pantheon , but I managed to throw my coin in and we got quite a few photos, I even had time to play with shutter speeds to get different effects.



We finished our early morning walk at Piazza Barberini. As we sat having breakfast we looked out across the square to the sculpture. I said to Gadget I wonder who created that sculpture, he chuckled and said probably Bernini . . .
We googled it and yep this is Bernini's Triton fountain.
So we had breakfast with Bernini.

Vespa Tour

We decided when in Rome, do what the Romans do and ride a Vespa. It was so much fun. We rode down through the narrow streets weaving in and out of traffic. Past the Victor Emmanuel monument, the coliseum, the circus maximus and up to the Caracalla bath house


This bath house was built in 212AD and was the second largest in the city. As I described earlier the bath houses were not just about bathing, they also had walking areas, this one had an Olympic size swimming pool, gymnasiums, libraries and social areas.  Our guide Michalle told us about the how everyone , rich or poor could use these baths, the poor or slaves did not have to pay, others only a token amount. Each Roman who entered was provided with a clean white robe. Under the bath house was a laundry to clean the white robes, 50 fire rooms to provide heat for the baths and saunas and a 
network of tunnels for chariots and horse and carts to use to provide the wood for the fires. Absolutely amazing. Apparently this building were incredibly colourful.

We then rode onto the Appian way, the Appian way is a 3rd century BC road that connected Rome to  the south. It's was a very important road, so important it was named the queen of roads. You can only drive a short way on the road, then it's is blocked off to protect its heritage.


The remains of an aqueduct ,over the Appian way.


3rd century BC road, as it was in those days, well maybe they had a bit more gravel to level it, you could actually see groves in the pumice stone, where the carts and chariots had worn it down. Pretty amazing. 

Monte Testaccio 



Is the garbage dump of ancient Rome. The story with this hill is that, way way back the best olive oil came from Spain. It arrived in terracotta pots called amphorae and on arrival was decanted into different containers. They beleive that these pots are a particular type that were difficult to repurpose / recycle so the ancient Romans used to smash the pots and they were dumped here. The hill has a circumference  of nearly one kilometre and stands 35 metres tall. They have estimated that approx 53 million amphorae (terracotta vessels ) were smashed and left here.  Over the years plant life gas grown over this small hill. Nowadays clever restauranters have excavated into the hill and placed glass roofs so that diners can see the broken pots above.

We stopped off at many other places, Sainte Sabina church and the orange grove, for another beautiful view of Rome and stopped off for coffee and a delicious pastry (OMG it was amazing) but for our final experience we were taken up to 

Janiculum hill

For the most wonderful view Rome.



Janiculum hill is not part of the seven hills of Rome, as officially it is outside the ancient city walls. Today it is also know as the hill of the busts as it has 84 busts of famous and prominent Italians. It is also the site of a monument to Garibaldi. And just a few years ago they created a wall monument to celebrate the 150 year anniversary of the unification of Italy.


gadget and I on our little yellow Vespa.

Ciao 

Googy Girl

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