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Europe » Italy » Lazio » Rome
September 26th 2014
Published: October 22nd 2017
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On our way to Trastavere, we saw what are purportedly some of the oldest ruins in Rome dating back to 300 BC.On our way to Trastavere, we saw what are purportedly some of the oldest ruins in Rome dating back to 300 BC.On our way to Trastavere, we saw what are purportedly some of the oldest ruins in Rome dating back to 300 BC.

On our way to Trastavere, we saw what are purportedly some of the oldest ruins in Rome dating back to 300 BC.
Geo: 41.8955, 12.4823

Thanks to a meeting cancellation, L and I got one more day in Rome. We decided to start with a Rick Steve walking tour of Travestere that I downloaded from iTunes. I wish I had thought to look through those earlier because this one was great-- I'm sure his tour is better than the 5 E audio guide at the Colosseum.

Before we really got started, I darted into the Keats Shelley Museum bookshop to pick up a gift for a friend. While we were there we noticed a map showing famous American and British writers who lived in Rome and where their homes were. Quite an all-star lineup.

During the walk to Travestere, we passed Area Sacra di Largo which contains some of the oldest ruins in the city, dating back to circa 300BC. It is sunken down in the middle of a large commercial square with active traffic. We were able to look down and identify a few bits here and there. Some of the construction was done with concrete and travertine, but they also used some volcanic tufa rock. There appears to be a fairly lively cat population living down there, including one little guy with a bobbed
Presumably after getting married.  We judged the Maid of Honor for letting the veil drag on the streetPresumably after getting married.  We judged the Maid of Honor for letting the veil drag on the streetPresumably after getting married. We judged the Maid of Honor for letting the veil drag on the street

Presumably after getting married. We judged the Maid of Honor for letting the veil drag on the street
tail. We really didn't see that many stray cats while we were in Italy, which surprised me. L said that she read somewhere that some Italians were reduced to eating cats during the extreme impoverishment of WWII and they've felt collectively guilty about it ever since, hence few cats without homes.

We started our tour at Ponte Fabricio which was originally built in 62 BC to join the left bank of the Tiber with a little island that was/is used for a hospital. This was particularly convenient in times of plague when isolating patients was important. The bridge has been refurbished a couple times since it was built, but it is still holding up like a champ.

One of the things that I really liked about the walking tour is that it drew our attention to details that we would have missed otherwise. For instance, on one street Rick pointed out a 1,000-year-old synagogue that is now a restaurant. This was in an area where there were once many Jews before the pope kicked them all out and consigned them to the Jewish Ghetto. While we were looking at that, we happened to notice that there were little brass plaques set into
If you look, you will see these set into the pavement in front of homes all over the city.  Very sad and a small, powerful reminder of war atrocities old and newIf you look, you will see these set into the pavement in front of homes all over the city.  Very sad and a small, powerful reminder of war atrocities old and newIf you look, you will see these set into the pavement in front of homes all over the city. Very sad and a small, powerful reminder of war atrocities old and new

If you look, you will see these set into the pavement in front of homes all over the city. Very sad and a small, powerful reminder of war atrocities old and new
the street that were stand-ins for tombstones for Jewish Holocaust victims. Once we found them the first time, we started noticing them other places around town. They were very haunting. The youngest victim we saw was a little girl who was deported to Germany to be killed at a concentration camp even before she turned one. So much of Rome is devoted to ancient history that it's easy to forget about the 20th century's impact on the city.

Our first long stop was at the Piazza and church of St Cecelia, patron saint of musicians. This is not one we would have found without the walking tour. It was a real little gem. We learned about St Cecelia and her husband who were the first husband/wife martyr team that I remember. She left her house to be used as a gathering place for early Christians. After the legalization of Christianity, it became a formal church with all the beautiful bells and whistles. We got there just in time to see the crypt underneath the church. Down there you can see the original holes where grain was stored when it was a house and some of the original floor mosaics and some
And a little Italian flag worked into the metalAnd a little Italian flag worked into the metalAnd a little Italian flag worked into the metal

And a little Italian flag worked into the metal
amphora shards. There also is a completely tricked out chapel down there. When you think of Christians worshiping in secret, you don't usually think of them doing it in such fine style. It is really something to see, if a bit cool and musty. One of my favorite pieces of religious art of the trip was in this church. Christ is depicted as a sheep with his disciples shown as other sheep around him. I picked up some CDs of Gregorian chant for my favorite musician in the gift shop.

I think I mentioned in another post that some churches stay pretty dark, but you can donate 50 cents and get light for a few minutes. L and I usually paid to turn on the lights once each time we entered one of these churches, but were always hoping others would do the same. Some people didn't understand they system and they would make donations in other boxes around the church that didn't do anything in the immediate term. L said she was developing a Pavlovian response to the clink of coins in church boxes: each time she heard one she would look around to see if a light came on.

After we got back to the hotel, we relaxed in the restaurant cafe area. We have really enjoyed staying here. It is a tiny hotel, confined to just one floor of a building. The staff is great. They know who we are and that we like to drink tea. Today they brought us freshly baked macaroons to go with it. I'm not a huge cocoanut person, but how can you not love someone who bakes you cookies? L caught up on some work and I worked on the blog and picked out a place for dinner. Before dinner we went out for one more walk up the Spanish steps and took a quick look at the Medici Palace before continuing up the hill. Up there we had a view of Rome and wandered around a pretty extensive park with lots of marble busts in it. I would have liked to have spent a little more time up there. On the way down, we noticed that persimmons are coming into season on the trees near Spagna.

Our last dinner in Rome was near Piazza De Popolo at Restaurante Porto di Ripetta. L had a very nice fish with arugula. I had gnocchi and some grilled vegetables. I wish I could carry liquids home. The balsamic drizzle on the veggies was quite wonderful.


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Jess, our food tour guide, showed us how to turn any fountain into a drinking fountain.  There is a little hole at the top of each spigot.  If you block the bottom, it shoots out the little hole in an archJess, our food tour guide, showed us how to turn any fountain into a drinking fountain.  There is a little hole at the top of each spigot.  If you block the bottom, it shoots out the little hole in an arch
Jess, our food tour guide, showed us how to turn any fountain into a drinking fountain. There is a little hole at the top of each spigot. If you block the bottom, it shoots out the little hole in an arch

Jess, our food tour guide, showed us how to turn any fountain into a drinking fountain. There is a little hole at the top of each spigot. If you block the bottom, it shoots out the little hole in an arch
These are bits of crypt lids repurposed into large mosaic pieces.  These are bits of crypt lids repurposed into large mosaic pieces.
These are bits of crypt lids repurposed into large mosaic pieces.

These are bits of crypt lids repurposed into large mosaic pieces.
According to legend, the Romans tried to suffocate her in the bath for three days.  When that didn't work, they slit her throat.  The sculptor was present when her tomb was opened and he recreated her as he saw her body before it turned to dustAccording to legend, the Romans tried to suffocate her in the bath for three days.  When that didn't work, they slit her throat.  The sculptor was present when her tomb was opened and he recreated her as he saw her body before it turned to dust
According to legend, the Romans tried to suffocate her in the bath for three days. When that didn't work, they slit her throat. The sculptor was present when her tomb was opened and he recreated her as he saw her body before it turned to dust

According to legend, the Romans tried to suffocate her in the bath for three days. When that didn't work, they slit her throat. The sculptor was present when her tomb was opened and he recreated her as he saw her body before it turned to dust
Old column tops and bottoms were scavenged from older sites, including a few from Egypt which were probably scavenged multiple times before they ended up holding up the ceiling of St Cecelia's church in TravestereOld column tops and bottoms were scavenged from older sites, including a few from Egypt which were probably scavenged multiple times before they ended up holding up the ceiling of St Cecelia's church in Travestere
Old column tops and bottoms were scavenged from older sites, including a few from Egypt which were probably scavenged multiple times before they ended up holding up the ceiling of St Cecelia's church in Travestere

Old column tops and bottoms were scavenged from older sites, including a few from Egypt which were probably scavenged multiple times before they ended up holding up the ceiling of St Cecelia's church in Travestere
If you look closely, under the visualization of Christ as a man you can see Him imagined as a sheep (with halo).  Altar at St CeceliaIf you look closely, under the visualization of Christ as a man you can see Him imagined as a sheep (with halo).  Altar at St Cecelia
If you look closely, under the visualization of Christ as a man you can see Him imagined as a sheep (with halo). Altar at St Cecelia

If you look closely, under the visualization of Christ as a man you can see Him imagined as a sheep (with halo). Altar at St Cecelia
Seriously?!  Look at that ceiling?  This isn't even a major attractionSeriously?!  Look at that ceiling?  This isn't even a major attraction
Seriously?! Look at that ceiling? This isn't even a major attraction

Seriously?! Look at that ceiling? This isn't even a major attraction
Probably would be best at dawnProbably would be best at dawn
Probably would be best at dawn

Probably would be best at dawn
Italians are not tea drinkers; they are coffee and wine people.  When we wanted tea we were invariably better served by going back to the hotel.  There were also free homemade cookies. L and I were almost driven mad by the fact that out hotel always smellItalians are not tea drinkers; they are coffee and wine people.  When we wanted tea we were invariably better served by going back to the hotel.  There were also free homemade cookies. L and I were almost driven mad by the fact that out hotel always smell
Italians are not tea drinkers; they are coffee and wine people. When we wanted tea we were invariably better served by going back to the hotel. There were also free homemade cookies. L and I were almost driven mad by the fact that out hotel always smell

ed like a bakery. It was intoxicating Italians are not tea drinkers; they are coffee and wine people. When we wanted tea we were invariably better served by going back to the hotel. There were also free homemade cookies. L and I were almost driven mad by the fact that out hotel always smelled like a bakery. It was intoxicating
During our pre dinner walk up the Spanish StepsDuring our pre dinner walk up the Spanish Steps
During our pre dinner walk up the Spanish Steps

During our pre dinner walk up the Spanish Steps
Frozen ricotta with red wine something on too.  The white bits are crumbled meringue.Frozen ricotta with red wine something on too.  The white bits are crumbled meringue.
Frozen ricotta with red wine something on too. The white bits are crumbled meringue.

Frozen ricotta with red wine something on too. The white bits are crumbled meringue.
On the official airline of the Belgian Red DevilsOn the official airline of the Belgian Red Devils
On the official airline of the Belgian Red Devils

On the official airline of the Belgian Red Devils


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