"Even when the rainbow seems to pass right by me....I'm still finding Gold in the clouds....."

29 July 2017

Italy Trip Day 2

So to continue with a photo display and brief summary of each day of our trip to Rome, Italy I begin Day 2 with the weather. Oh my goodness it was still so hot.  I'm not a huge fan of temps between 85-98 degrees.  This day was not humid but it was so hot and the sun was bearing down even at 9 a.m. while walking to the metro.    I didn't mention our hotel at all in the summary for day 1.  We can highly recommend the Hotal Diana right in the heart of Rome....in fact, it is only a mile walk to the Trevi Fountain and Spanish Steps. However, the concierge there (I don't know the word in Italian), was NOT as assertive or helpful as the one in Paris.  They staff did answer any questions we had, but they didn't go out of their way to make us feel special and welcomed as they did in the Paris hotel.  But I found that to be anywhere in Rome.  Definitely a different feel.  The hotel had an "all you can eat" breakfast buffet every morning and you could also order room service (too pricey for us) or reserve dinner on their roof top garden. An Italian breakfast was a bit more than a French one:  a variety of thick artisan breads,croissants (much sweeter than French ones and I didn't care for them as they had powdered sugar on top), granola, milk but no almond or coconut milk so not super vegan friendly, excellent dark coffee or a choice of lattes, espresso or American style coffee.  I chose the regular Italian coffee, black which was excellent and didn't need sweetener.  They also had a hot dish (usually some kind of egg with sausage, ham or bacon...again, nothing for vegans), and plenty of fresh fruit along with tossed salad fixings.  The choice of juices was excellent and all were unsweetened and fresh from the actual fruit.  Most of the patrons ate inside the restaurant but many of us ate breakfast every morning on the rooftop. It was gorgeous.  The bathroom was done in real Italian tile and the bedroom suite was perfect.  Large closets and dressers.  I've always loved that Europe has their sink and shower areas separate from their toilet area.  We chose to stay in a non-American owned hotel (such as Marriot, Sheraton, etc.) because it is a bit more authentic to their culture that way. We also did the same in Paris several years ago.

We took the subway to the third largest park in the northern part of Rome, called Villa Borghese Gardens.  (the Spanish Steps lead to one of the entrances to the park!) The villa was built in 1605 after it had been vast vineyards. Cardinal Borghese owned the vineyards and he was the nephew of Pope Paul V.  The villa (house) is now the Galleria...the art is gorgeous.  Here is a sculpture of Paulina Borghese.

Most of the Galleria features paintings and sculptures by Bernini,Titian,  Raphael, and Caravaggio. There are also other artists featured but lesser known ones.  Of course, like every other museum in Rome, there were many many Madonnas and the Christ child. We actually were getting bored of these. We saw the Madonna (Mary) in so many different forms, colors, and shapes. I guess if we were Catholic we would appreciate them more but my faves were definitely the sculptures and art I am showing here on the blog.

Paulina Borghese in the Galleria Borghese
sculpted by Canova in the neoclassical period

The Gardens in the Villa Borghese Park are the famous English style gardens.  Here are a few of my favorite photos.  I especially liked all the lemon trees!

Villa Borghese Gardens
not open to the public but we had good views around the gates

love this lemon tree!
Gardens behind the Villa
we could walk through these..there were several
The only places in the park where there was grass was around the gardens. All other walkways, and under the trees, was dust/sand/dirt.  My husband thinks it is because there are many pine trees.  The pine trees are cut quite high so the needles are really only at the very tops.  But they totally cover the ground in many places.

another museum in the Villa Borghese Park
This was not open the day we were there.
Note the trees and lack of grass.
Claire really enjoyed the art in the Galleria so we spent about an hour in there exploring all the rooms. 
Claire enjoyed the art in the Galleria Borghese

My favorite painting which was actually a part of a door!
Can you guess why it is my fave?  comment in the comment section
 This was my favorite sculpture at the Galleria Borghese:
David and the slingshot with the stone, about to kill Goliath
Sculptor:  Bernini
This took 7 months to complete from 1623-1624
It has always stood in the Villa Borghese!

After we wandered around the Galleria and saw everything, we walked around the villa to the back gardens and down a trail that led to a street where middle class people live and work.  It was threatening to rain and rain it did!  We made it just in time to a little trattoria for a pizza lunch that also had vegan options for Claire, and while we ate, the rain came down. Lunch in Italy is very laid back and casual and isn't typically eaten until between 1:30-2 pm. By the time we had finished lunch, the sun was back out and it was a little humid.  We headed back to the Park to see the lake area, where we enjoyed a boat ride.  Tourist attractions are a bit less expensive in Rome than in the United States.  We were allowed a 20 min ride.  Dave did the rowing!  It was great fun.

Another fountain and garden just outside the Galleria Borghese

A typical apartment house in Rome
There are really no single family houses in the city as it is too crowded

looking down the street towards the Villa Borghese Park
from the Trattoria, where we had lunch
Part of a walled Gate area just outside the Villa Borghese/Galleria
but still within the Park.  We were not allowed past this gate.
Giardino del Lago
(The Lake Garden)
my absolute fave spot in the Villa Borghese Park

There were fountains on both sides of this temple

Dave...our captain!

lots of beautiful ducks and geese on the Giardino del Lago

Claire really liked the boat ride and watching the wildlife

 Ionic Temple to Aesculapius

After we did the boat ride, we headed to the area of oak trees next to the lake, known as "the plain of oaks".  It is here where we all read the books we had brought with us, enjoying the cool of the shade and the breeze that is constantly present in Rome.  I'm guessing it is because it is near the Mediterranean so they get the sea breeze. Although Dave tells me it is at least an hour or so to the sea.  Who knows?  Sometimes the wind does create havoc with the blowing of the dust, especially near all the archaeological sites.  But it is definitely refreshing.  This turtle amused us for quite a while because he was literally trying to get out of the gate around the lake by trying to squeeze through the slats.  I did manage to get a photo of him doing that, but somehow it and the one I took of the Globe Theater replica in the park disappeared from my phone!
After watching this turtle, another turtle came by and tried the same thing.  The first one just hung out but the 2nd one made it into the lake.

After spending about 2 hours in the park reading and walking around taking photos, we headed out a gate towards the Villa de Medici.  Yes. THAT Medici family!  Here are some photos from that area.

This is the name of the street and what a typical street sign looks like in Roma.

Villa di Medici which is now a restaurant and the French Academy

Towards the late afternoon, we decided to leave the park via the gate that was near the Spanish Steps, so we ventured back towards the Steps and took some photos.  Because it was late afternoon, when many tourists are shopping or having a drink or gelato (there is no open container law in Rome so there are cocktails to go!  We stuck to water bottles except at dinner when we enjoyed the absolutely amazing red wine!), the steps were virtually empty so we got some great shots:

Claire on the world-famous Spanish Steps
29 June 2017

Dave and I on the Spanish Steps

After walking the extra mile back to our hotel, we freshened up, rested for about an hour, changed our clothes to dinner attire and walked a little over 2 miles to a vegan place that Claire had researched.  It was located in a rather "dark" part of the city...but we felt safe as there were many people out and about.  Keep in mind that in Europe, dinner tends to be about 8 pm.  We arrived at the restaurant around 7:30 and were the 2nd family to be seated.  The entire menu was in Italian with NO English translations like other places we had been in so far, so our knowledge of other languages and our smart phones really helped us.  I ordered an amazing bean based veggie burger and roasted potatoes.  Claire had some kind of pasta dish with plankton.  I cannot remember what Dave ordered. We all enjoyed a glass of red wine plus water. Here is a photo of my amazing food.

Faith's veggie burger....much better than any here in the USA!

We walked back to the hotel at a rather quick pace...it was still hot out but had cooled off considerably now that the sun was down.  The streets were not well lit until we got closer to the hotel.  We all fell into bed quickly due to needing to catch a train the next day to Florence!  Thus ended our 2nd full day in Rome.

1 comment:

Dave Horner said...

The gardens were beautiful. Once again, great photos. Thanks for sharing. Dave Horner