After our delicious lunch we’d made a plan for our afternoon meanders. First off we would find The Pantheon. This was actually decidedly tricky as it wasn’t on our map. After asking 5 different locals for directions, which got gradually more specific the closer we got, we came across a beautiful little church. It was a still, serene sanctuary amidst the heat and noise.
Just a street along from this we found The Pantheon. It is architecturally stunning.
Just look at the sheer size of it!
We’d been putting some mileage in so it was time for a breather. Giolitti had come up a few times as the best ice cream place in Rome so we made that our next adventure. It was tricky to find as was on the fold of our printed map and the streets had got a bit mushed from re-folding into our bags so we were thrilled to find it tucked away down a side street.
We made our way to Trevi fountain, but it was being redone. There were heaving crowds surrounding the building-work regardless, as you could see it beginning to take shape and it’s going to look incredible once finished.
More so than the other fountains in the area…
Next on our list was the Alter of our Fatherland, a building often described as pompous and too large, especially is it doesn’t quite fit within the surrounding old Roman ruins, but I rather liked it for these reasons. It was fairly quiet too, and not too overrun with tourists, which is always a welcome bonus.
I was really keen on doing the underground tour because it shows you where they kept the animals and fighters beneath the arena, but unfortunately they’d sold out by the time we arrived (3pm). (I think you can book online in advance to avoid disappointment). We didn’t get a guided tour either as we wanted to stay as far away from huge groups of tourists as we could. This did mean we has a LOT of unanswered questions as we walked the laps of the stadium. Must get googling this week!
We were less impressed at the inside, I think partly because it looks so wonderful from the outside but is falling to rack and ruin inside, and partly because we didn’t get a tour so didn’t find out as much info as we should have.
With dwindling energy it was a tough decision between getting the train home, or re-visiting The Vatican with our new sarongs to cover our knees. In the end, not wanting to miss out, we made the return visit, passing along pretty rivers and buildings once again. I love how the old roman buildings rise out of the landscape all across the capital.
Looking the part with our new garments we were allowed to venture into the Basilica.
Having been told on the way in that it was “50 times more beautiful than the most beautiful church you’ve ever seen”, we had high hopes.
But, in truth, we didn’t love it. It was beautiful but far less personal than the little church we’d found by The Pantheon earlier in the day. And perhaps we were too tired to appreciate it. We’d also now missed the Sistine Chapel opening times and if we’d have stayed until it re-opened at 7 we’d not have had enough time to see it before catching our last train home. But hey, it’s good to leave a few bits unseen in case we visit again!
Energised by an hour chilling, we headed out for dinner.
The restaurant we chose didn’t have an English menu so we were excited by the idea of picking random choices from it and seeing what we were surprised with…
Unfortunately Polpette is not mini Polpo (octopus), but meatballs. These ones filled with cheese, making it a bad gamble for Anna’s intolerance!
More from Bracciano tomorrow… Xx