In the Frankfurt Airport, on the flight layover, we booked our required reservations by computer for a visit to Villa Borghese. Villa Borghese is one of Rome’s most noted museums and we were set for a visit on Wednesday. With Wednesday arriving, we headed out from our room around midday to visit the museum. Taking the Metro to the Spagna station, we were able to stop at the Spanish steps to take some wedding photos along the way to the Museum.
Villa Borghese has one floor of sculptures and one floor of paintings. As visitors, you are allowed to view both floors for two hours before you are asked to move on. On the sculpture floor, the most notable sculptures were the ones by Bernini, including Apollo and Daphne. Bernini’s works are amazingly detailed and beautiful. They are worth the trip to Villa Borghese on their own. Some of the details on the sculptures, like the leaves on the branches on Apollo and Daphne, were so intricately carved that it was difficult to see how the work could have been done by hand. We weren’t allowed to take pictures in the museum so you will have to look at the Wikipedia link at the end of this entry to see what they look like. The picture gallery on the upper floor was interesting also, but, for me, the paintings were overshadowed by the amazing sculptures.
From the museum, we headed across the park grounds to the Flaminio Metro stop. Using our transit pass, we boarded the subway and headed to the Barberini Station near the Trevi Fountain. With the TomTom guiding the way, we walked to the fountain arriving there to see a throng of people crowded around the fountain’s pool. Trevi Fountain is amazing, but I was pretty sure that Jerry Garcia was about to appear on stage with the tight packed, elbow to elbow crowd surrounding the fountain. Nevertheless, Becky and I managed to squeeze our way in and
tossed our requisite coins in the fountain, assuring our return to Rome. Becky even managed a shout or two of “Jerry” before she was overwhelmed by the crowd surge. I don’t usually go for these things, but hey, I tossed a coin in the fountain on my last visit to Rome and it worked! I returned. It’s pretty likely to work this time, too, as our return flights pass through Rome.
Why I’m on the subject of the Trevi Fountain, I have a few questions on how this thing is supposed to work. You know, what are the rules? Does one coin in the fountain mean that you will always return, like a homing pigeon to Rome, no matter how many times you leave? It seems like that could have some downsides, though, it is Rome, after all, so it can’t be that bad. If one coin assures one return, do multiple coins assure multiple returns to Rome? Putting multiple coins in could come in handy if your return flight, like ours, connects through the Rome airport. And what constitutes Rome. Does the airport count? It’s quite some distance from the fountain. Further, if the multiple coin strategy works, what happens if you don’t have change? Does a two euro coin assure only one return, just like a one cent coin? Are foreign coins acceptable, or do they need to be exchanged for euros first to assure a return. These mysteries remain to be clarified. In any event, we took our chances and each tossed a coin in to the fountain. We minimized our risk and tossed euros in. No sense taking chances with our American coins. It would be good to return to Rome.
Continuing our Hun style tour, we headed to the Pantheon with its perfect dome; another must see Roman sight and another marvel of Roman civil engineering. Around the Pantheon, we spotted the 116 bus that loops through, seemingly, all of the major sights of old Rome. On this bus line, the buses are small, seating around 8 people, and are battery powered. The 116 bus is perfect for a sightseeing tour of Rome as it fits down narrow streets and travels by many of the sights in a convoluted loop. With our Roma Pass, we just hopped on the bus and went for a ride.
As the bus wound its way through the city, we spotted Castel Sant’Angelo and decided to visit the old fort/castle that sits right on the river, protecting the Vatican. Our Roma Pass got us in for free. With its rings of protective walls and moats, the castle looks pretty
much impregnable, at least as long as the invaders didn’t have a Roma Pass. We climbed up the rings of stairs and ramps through the inner chambers until we reached the top. On the top deck, we had a panoramic view of Rome as the sun was setting over the Vatican.
Out of the castle and back onto the bus, we continued back to Campo de’ Fiori to try to find a restaurant recommended by one of Becky’s friends. With minimal detailed information about the restaurant location (like the address), our search was in vain despite some amusing stabs at Italian at a local butcher shop. Eventually, we decided to choose a restaurant in the area and found one that seemed to be reasonably full, possibly because others chose restaurants with people in them also. We had another good, reasonably priced meal accompanied by a bottle of vino rosso.
After some gelato near Campo de’ Fiori, we found the 71 bus that took us back to apartment, stopping almost immediately in front of the door to the building. It was another tiring full day of seeing the sights of Rome and we were ready to rest.
No pictures were possible at Villa Borghese, but you can find a picture of Apollo and Daphne on Wikipedia (follow the link for more on Bernini):