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Italy Trip Report - Second Installment #20005
05/18/2013 10:49 AM
05/18/2013 10:49 AM
Joined: Jul 2006
Posts: 13,438
Peaceful Eastern North Carolin...
GaKaye Offline OP
Traveler
GaKaye  Offline OP
Traveler
Joined: Jul 2006
Posts: 13,438
Peaceful Eastern North Carolin...

Friday was spent walking….and walking….and walking. The little map that the hotel gave us is wonderful, except that the pictures of the buildings all face the same direction, so when you’re at one place and looking for another, you can’t really tell which direction to walk. Does that make any sense at all? Anyway, there are occasionally signs, but usually just one, so you keep walking in that direction until you realize that you must have missed a turn because surely you should have reached your destination by now. I downloaded maps to my phone, but of course I can’t see them in the outdoor light. (How do people use their phones in bright sunlight, or even overcast conditions, for that matter? I see them walking down the road, looking at their phones and tapping away….I think it’s just for show wink )

Anyway, we finally found the Pantheon, wandered around there for a while, inside and out, and took a ton of pictures. What an absolutely amazing piece of architecture! There’s a nice piazza outside (there are piazzas everywhere), and since we had another long walk ahead of us, we sat at a little table and had a class of wine.

Then we walked over to the Vatican,. We had planned on having lunch at a pizzeria I had learned of on Slow Travel, but we couldn’t find it, so ended up at the Universal Bar along the main road that leads to the basilica. There were no available tables outdoors, but indoor seating was pleasant and we could still see out the windows. I had a salad with capricossa, cheese, and olives along with the typical greens, and David had a ham and cheese calzone. And of course, a couple of glasses of wine. Again the service was added to the check; this time only 12%. The meal was good, but not exceptional.

By then it was nearly time to meet our tour guide, so we headed in what we thought was the right direction. Of course, we were in the wrong place, and after asking for directions we made a mad dash to the main entrance of the Vatican Museums (nowhere near the Basilica), and found our guide, David Lown, waiting for us. Our tour group was to be small, no more than six, but it ended up being just us, which was really nice. David, who is an art historian, guided us through the most important parts of the museums pointing out items and relating histories that we would not have otherwise known. For example, did you know that all of the marble statues that you see all over Rome were originally painted? All the costumes, facial features, everything was painted in glorious bright colors which have, of course, worn off over the centuries.

Our tour ended in the Sistine Chapel where we spent a lot of time craning our necks to see Michelangelo’s fabulous works on the ceiling.

By this time it was after six, and we headed towards our hotel, or so we thought. We really were walking in the right direction; just took a couple of detours along the way. One was to wander around what was clearly a part of the Mille Miglia 1000, which is some kind of a classic car road race. David, being the car enthusiast that he is, wanted to stroll around the area. We could tell that whatever event was happening there would not be for several hours, so we continued on to our hotel, taking a few unplanned detours along the way. I believe that the ancient Romans built their roads with the intent of confusing any invaders.

After a quick stop at the hotel, we headed out for dinner. We happened upon a restaurant called Life, that got great reviews on TripAdvisor, and we were lucky to get a table as reservations are highly recommended. We were both pretty full from lunch, so we decided to have a light dinner. I had the veal limone, which was to have been served with fresh artichokes but came with broccoli instead, as the artichokes are not in season now. The veal scaloppini was perfectly cooked and coated with a buttery lemon sauce, and the accompanying broccoli was steamed with spicy peppers. David’s grilled sea bass was presented whole, along with a side of grilled asparagus, and both were absolutely delicious. A small dish of olive oil was served alongside for dressing the fish, but the flavor of the bass was so delicate that sauce wasn’t needed. We shared a bottle of Sauvignon with our entrees. For dessert I had the panna cotta with fresh berries, and David the tiramisu. Both were perfect, and not overly huge portions. After the meal complimentary glasses of limoncello were offered, and of course, we did not refuse.

Before we left, we made a reservation for the following night, determined to come back with larger appetites.

Saturday dawned bright and sunny. After breakfast we headed for the Coliseum, about a twenty minute walk from the hotel. The ticket lines were a couple of hours long, so we joined a tour group to avoid the wait. Our guide was very knowledgeable, and we enjoyed our time there, taking a lot of pictures and learning about the true history of the
Coliseum, as opposed to the movie version. Our tickets also included admission to the Forum, but as we had missed St. Peter’s Basilica the day before, we decided to skip the forum and head back to the Vatican.

On the way, we stopped for lunch at Le Segrete, a tiny restaurant on a side street, that offers a complete menu. We however, opted for just salads as we want to be sure to have room for a big dinner tonight. I had prosciutto with melon, and David had an ensalada Romana. We ordered two glasses of the house white, and when I asked for another, the waitress brought the bottle over and said it was cheaper to buy the bottle than three glasses. Another thing worth noting here is the quality of the olive oil. Every meal is served with bread, and there’s always olive oil and balsamic on the table. Dipping that bread into the fruity green olive oil is heavenly. I keep trying to remember the brand names so that I can try to find it at home, but I sort of doubt I’ll be able to.

A stray shower erupted while we were eating, but was gone before we left. We headed across the river to the Vatican and St. Peters, and before we got close the crowds blocked our way. I guess the Pope has his weekly address or celebrates Mass on Saturdays? There were huge video screens set up everywhere and people were rushing to get near. Since I knew we’d not get into the basilica, we just turned around and headed back to the hotel, where I’m now resting my toes on the rooftop terrace.

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Re: Italy Trip Report - Second Installment [Re: GaKaye] #20006
05/18/2013 11:29 AM
05/18/2013 11:29 AM
Joined: Oct 2003
Posts: 327
swg Offline
Traveler
swg  Offline
Traveler
Joined: Oct 2003
Posts: 327
I'm really enjoying your trip reports.

It seems that we can never go to a European city without disagreeing on which direction we need to walk. Sometimes you find some real gems when you take a "detour."

The food sound heavenly.

Sue

Re: Italy Trip Report - Second Installment [Re: GaKaye] #20007
05/18/2013 11:58 AM
05/18/2013 11:58 AM
Joined: Apr 2008
Posts: 2,990
Connecticut
The_Lurker Offline
Traveler
The_Lurker  Offline
Traveler
Joined: Apr 2008
Posts: 2,990
Connecticut
Love your reports! <img src="http://www.traveltalkonline.com/forums/images/graemlins/Clapping.gif" alt="" />
I wrote about the streets on SOB, so don't think it is only you!!! <img src="http://www.traveltalkonline.com/forums/images/graemlins/Laugh.gif" alt="" />

Re: Italy Trip Report - Second Installment [Re: GaKaye] #20008
05/18/2013 12:01 PM
05/18/2013 12:01 PM
Joined: Apr 2001
Posts: 14,656
Brookfield, CT.
pat Offline
Traveler
pat  Offline
Traveler
Joined: Apr 2001
Posts: 14,656
Brookfield, CT.
Keep 'em comin' Georgia.

This is almost better than being there in the first person since - my feet don't hurt and J and I aren't 'disagreeing' about directions and whose are right and whose are wrong!! <img src="http://www.traveltalkonline.com/forums/images/graemlins/jester.gif" alt="" /> <img src="http://www.traveltalkonline.com/forums/images/graemlins/jester.gif" alt="" /> (Mine are generally incorrect, much as I hate to admit it.....)

Thanks for sharing....


Respectfully,

pat



"Always keep your words soft and sweet, just in case you have to eat
them."
Re: Italy Trip Report - Second Installment [Re: GaKaye] #20009
05/18/2013 02:57 PM
05/18/2013 02:57 PM
Joined: Jan 2002
Posts: 7,457
Yonkers, NY
fabila Offline
Traveler
fabila  Offline
Traveler
Joined: Jan 2002
Posts: 7,457
Yonkers, NY
Another wonderfully descriptive tale of your day. Enjoy day three.

Re: Italy Trip Report - Second Installment [Re: GaKaye] #20010
05/19/2013 02:46 PM
05/19/2013 02:46 PM
Joined: Feb 2004
Posts: 395
Southern tier of New York
ironmanps Offline
Traveler
ironmanps  Offline
Traveler
Joined: Feb 2004
Posts: 395
Southern tier of New York
Great reports, keep 'em coming. We are going to Italy in September, so I am taking notes from your reports. Thanks. <img src="http://www.traveltalkonline.com/forums/images/graemlins/Thumbsup.gif" alt="" /> Phil

Re: Italy Trip Report - Second Installment [Re: ironmanps] #20011
05/19/2013 05:07 PM
05/19/2013 05:07 PM
Joined: Apr 2002
Posts: 3,455
Virginia wishing STJ
TomB Offline
Traveler
TomB  Offline
Traveler
Joined: Apr 2002
Posts: 3,455
Virginia wishing STJ
GaKaye - <img src="http://www.traveltalkonline.com/forums/images/graemlins/Joy.gif" alt="" /> <img src="http://www.traveltalkonline.com/forums/images/graemlins/Joy.gif" alt="" /> <img src="http://www.traveltalkonline.com/forums/images/graemlins/Joy.gif" alt="" /> Keep them coming! I am so ready to return to Italy. Your reports are so enjoyable.

Bistecca alla fiorentina if you make to Firenze is a must. <img src="http://www.traveltalkonline.com/forums/images/graemlins/dine.gif" alt="" />


“Every time I open a bottle of wine, it is an amazing trip somewhere!” José Andrés
Re: Italy Trip Report - Second Installment [Re: GaKaye] #20012
05/20/2013 01:58 AM
05/20/2013 01:58 AM
Joined: Jun 2009
Posts: 4,907
Portland, OR
jazzgal Offline
Traveler
jazzgal  Offline
Traveler
Joined: Jun 2009
Posts: 4,907
Portland, OR
Lovely report - thanks!


[Linked Image]
Re: Italy Trip Report - Second Installment [Re: GaKaye] #20013
05/20/2013 08:44 PM
05/20/2013 08:44 PM
Joined: Apr 2003
Posts: 5,955
NH
SandyandBill Offline
Traveler
SandyandBill  Offline
Traveler
Joined: Apr 2003
Posts: 5,955
NH
Georgia, Thank you for the wonderful travelogue. Look forward to hearing more <img src="http://www.traveltalkonline.com/forums/images/graemlins/dine.gif" alt="" />

Re: Italy Trip Report - Second Installment [Re: GaKaye] #20014
05/24/2013 10:42 PM
05/24/2013 10:42 PM
Joined: Jul 2012
Posts: 289
Edam, Saskatchewan - Canada
P
PrairieGirl Offline
Traveler
PrairieGirl  Offline
Traveler
P
Joined: Jul 2012
Posts: 289
Edam, Saskatchewan - Canada
Georgia,

Thank you so much for sharing your wonderful adventures in Rome! Will you be having a "photo viewing" session this November in Sint Maarten? I'm sure you would attract quite a crowd!

Enjoy the journey,
LeAnn


LeAnn

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