Rome – Day 1 – City of History, Motorbikes & Wine

After our 8 and a half hour flight from Charlotte to Rome we landed in the huge airport that serves Rome, breezed through customs and anxiously awaited our suitcases at baggage claim.  They were among the last to arrive in the baggage area, but arrive they did!  We splurged and took a taxi to our hotel which was a 45-minute ride that cost 50 Euros – which is over $60 – but were glad we did, as we had help with our bags plus got a partial city tour from our cab driver.

Our hotel is down a tiny side street just a block from one of the major upscale shopping streets as well as being conveniently located for walking to all the awesome places we went today.  Here’s a photo of the front following by an inside photo taken inside down  the hallway to our room — lots of marble and black mirrors!

After checking in and sleeping for a couple hours, we headed out for lunch at a vegetarian restaurant a couple blocks from the hotel and had a wonderful buffet lunch as you can see below!

Since I’m having challenges, possibly due to lack of sleep…, uploading photos, I’m typing several sections then uploading several photos at once following them.  Hopefully you’ll be able to follow along!

After lunch we headed out by cab to the Plaza Navona where we saw Bernini’s statue of the four rivers which was used in one scene in a Dan Brown movie.  There were artists, mimes, horse-drawn carriages for rent and sidewalk cafes around the plaza.

We continued our self-directed walking tour by heading to the Pantheon, which for well more than 2,000 years has been a religious site — first for the Roman gods then later for a Christian church.  The building has a beautiful dome with an opening in the top.  Raphael, a famous artist, is one of several people interred here –he has a glass-fronted, lighted niche.  Denny and I stopped at an outdoor cafe to relax for a few minutes after viewing the Pantheon.

Next stop was the Fountain of Trevi which was built at the terminus of an old Roman aquaduct, and local lore says if you throw a coin in the fountain over your shoulder you will be certain to return to Rome.  Denny threw his first coin into the fountain in 1960 then threw another one in today!  I tossed three in today, one after the other, in hopes I’ll return to Rome again!  One photo below is taken from the side of the Fountain looking back towards all the people throwing coins or just viewing the fountain.

Everywhere we walked there were masses of people – it was amazing.  In addition to all the people, their motorbikes were parked in every available space.

From the Fountain we headed to the Spanish Steps and each individually braved the masses of people already on them to take photos.  The steps are so-named because the Spanish embassy to the Vatican is located there.

We headed back to the hotel to relax before dinner then went to one of the hotel’s fine restaurants for a delightful meal.  Currently we’re both crashing, so I’ll end for today.  Tomorr!ow we head to the Forum and the Collesium

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