Our first full day in Rome was up to me to program so I set the alarm for 6:30 so we could get out and about before the city was too hot. Even though it only officially has climbed to 32 degrees it feels much hotter when the sun is radiating off buildings and cobblestones.
First stop was a place I’d found on Pinterest in one of those articles that claims to know ‘secret’ things to do. How secret something can be when it’s the first article Pinterest shows me about Rome… well, I have my doubts.
Our Airbnb apartment was in a location that I’m pretty sure locals would call ‘the arse end of Termini’, the main train station. Despite being almost across the road, the station is almost a kilometre long and we have to walk the full length of it to reach the entrance.
The place were we visiting was a 45 minute walk past the north end of Termini and when we got there we found that we, rather happily, had it all to ourselves (apart from and old guy washing his car using water from the fountain), possibly because it was 8am on a Sunday.
It was gob-smacking.
Please note there is a chandelier in the archway.
I really like interesting architecture and Quartiere Coppedèo was an astonishing mix of Art Nouveau, ancient, medieval, Spanish, and baroque elements.
Essentially it is four buildings around an intersection with a fountain in the middle. Each building is distinctly different from its neighbours and each is in excellent condition and contains details, both small and large, that are entrancing.
Delicate frescos, wrought iron gates featuring animals and insects, crowns and swords and Viking ships!
The National Gallery of Modern Art
I felt like seeing a bit of art to break up all the history and architecture.
Once again we pretty much had the place to ourselves. The lion sculptures out the front were lovely.
There were some classics inside, a Klimt, Monet and Chagalls etc. My favourite was this painting.
Such a gaze!
Now have a guess what this artwork is made from.
Acacia thorns! The mind boggles.
Next we walked to the Castel San Angelo, which I had walked past the last two times I’d been to Rome but hadn’t thought to visit until I read surfnslide’s blog .
On the way we stopped for a drink outside a very grand building that I had to google and turned out to be the Supreme Court.
Even for a court this was pretty grand. Apparently locals call or ‘the bad palace’. I’m not sure if it’s a comment on the architecture or the clientele.
The Castel is one of the oldest and most complete buildings in Rome. It was begun as a mausoleum for the emperor Hadrian and his family but became a refuge for popes, who decorated it in the style to which they immediately became accustomed.
We get it, the church has all the money.
Every window seemed to have a view of St Peter’s.
Great views could be had from the roof.
But then there’s great views from everywhere in Rome, really.
Next we walked to the Tavestere district for lunch. I found a little sandwich shop called ‘Donkey Punch’ (I will always be a sucker for a weird name) and I had a salad with pork and Luke had a sandwich with pork. Roast pork is a specialty of the region and the shop also did a great range of pickled and marinated salad ingredients.
What a menu! All their sandwiches were named after rock bands.
By this time our feet were getting a bit tired. We wandered around Travastere a bit and admired the lovely architecture. The peach and salmon buildings reminded me of Bologna.
It was definitely time for a classic Roman afternoon drink – an Aperol Spritz.
We strongly considered taking a taxi home but decided to walk and break up the last few kilometres with bar stops and gelato.
Amazingly, we managed to walk past the gelateria we visited on our tour last time. We’d gone along for a free tour advertised on the Couchsurfing site and the guy took us to Punto Gelato, who do excellent, and unusual, icecream flavours. No beer this time but I did see pine and also salsa! We were more conservative – I had one scoop each of fig and peach sorbets and they were outstanding.
Luke got pineapple and coffee which is a weird combo.
Next stop was an Irish bar and it was nice to not feel apologetic when speaking english to the bar staff. We were also given free daiquiri samples because they made too much.
Apparently it was the world’s best. It was certainly good, but… best?
Who gives out these awards anyhow?
On the last leg we passed this … building. I guess there’s a building under there? Can you imagine this level of growth being acceptable where you live?
We finished our big day out in Rome with a meal at the restaurant closest to our apartment, sitting outside in the warm night air, listening to a guy on the piano accordion.