Sunday, October 30, 2011

Rome Day 1: Columns and Steps

Our hotel was a former convent (on the right) next to the Roman Forum (over the wall to the left) next to the cobbled street - a somewhat strange choice for a city centre - which caused the fast moving cars to sound as if they were on miniature railway tracks.

To the east is the Palatine hill with the forum beneath

and further east the Colosseum. To the north is the glaringly white Vittorio Emanuele II memorial - a southern adjunct to the Capitol hill which seems to consist of steps and more steps (and on one of these a pair of newly weds being romantically photographed)

as well as museums arranged around a square designed by Michaelangelo, guarded by a statue of the famous she-wolf (which was surprisingly tiny).

We headed north our first day, passing the Trajan Column with its parade of soldiers marching to the top

then, continuing north along the Via del Corso, passed yet another - a copy-cat version of the first erected by Marcus Aurelius.

We were aiming for the Spanish Steps, the start of Walk 3 in Elizabeth Speller's book. A right turn took us along the Via Borgognona lined with expensive shops,

hotels and cafes. Until, at the Piazza Spagna itself

we noted (as instructed) the English tea house, and the fountain shaped like a boat in the bottom, and then, dodging the sellers of single roses, made our way upwards to admire the view

A long walk took us through parks and eventually a Roman gate, a huge piazza called Popolo, and the city streets again with its stalls

shops, and another, much later, column - this time of the Immaculate Conception.

It was this part of the walk that I liked the most. The quiet streets with their ochre-coloured walls,

each doorway revealing something human-sized and intimate - a rest from the Roman and the Renaissance which all too soon overwhelms, like an overbright light.


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