^^ Those pinks and reds everywhere, I tell ya, we are doing something wrong London/Sydney ^^
On our second full day in Rome, we awoke to Gran feeling a little less exuberant. We thought it best to have a house-call doctor come to the apartment and give us their opinion on what we didn’t know at the time was a fractured rib. Task one for the day was putting my terrible Italian to the test… Somehow I successfully navigated the conversation to arrange him to come over, which he did after a few hours during which time we tidied up, chatted with Gran and picked up some groceries from our local supermarket. The doctor wanted Gran to have some scans done, so the group decision was that Blake would accompany her to a local medical centre to have her checked out. Courtney and I were sent off with everyone’s blessings to continue with the original plans for the day (as we had already booked our four tickets!).
So, we jumped in a taxi and made our way into central Rome to where we thought we were meeting the tour group (the Trevi Fountation) – not so, upon arriving at Trevi we realised it was actually a different fountain… the name of which is of course currently escaping me… but luckily weren’t too far away. It was already scorching hot, and we were definitely happy to stumble upon our fancy, airconditioned tour bus ready to drive us around on a Dark Rome tour of some of Rome’s Catacombs and the Basilica San Clemente. Normally tour groups aren’t really my jam, I much prefer the idea of doing my own thing and having the freedom to wander as we please, but in this instance it was perfect for the day and perfect for us as we could just sit back, relax and learn all about what we were about to see. The tour guides were lovely and total brainiacs when it came to Roman history and general knowledge. At 60 Euros a head it was a little pricier than what we were used to spending on the trip, it really was worth it.
Unfortunately I didn’t take any photos within the catacombs, crypts or basilica because photography is not allowed in sacred places, and I didn’t want to be disrespectful (unlike some people in our tour group who I am still shaking my head at). But let me give you my word that the Catacombs are well worth a visit. Rome is incredible in that it is literally layer upon layer upon layer. The roads are crazy and the public transport is no where near as sophisticated as it could be, purely because it is too difficult to excavate land due to who knows what lying beneath our feet. The Catacombs are a perfect example of this, as you can wander through underground streets and houses of Rome that once saw the light of day, but have literally been buried by other buildings over time. If there ever was a time to use my favourite word that I learnt in year 11 English, it would be whilst in Rome. Palimpsest. Boom.
After finishing up our tour in the incredible Capuchin crypt which really has to be seen to be believed, we met Blake at a nearby cafe to digest both our respective days, and some fresh mozzarella and tomato sandwiches. Did I mention espressos? Because we had plenty of those. Next up we decided to take a wander through central Rome to the Vittoriano monument that Blake had spotted previously.
Sitting at this monument was one of those incredible travelling moments that you just wish you could relive every day after coming back. I’m not even sure what it was about it that drew me in but since returning I’ve thought about these fifteen minutes we spent there daily. The building itself is amazing of course, completely over the top to the point that it’s even a little garish, yet that’s what makes it so completely amazing. The sun was just starting to set and casting an incredible warm red onto everything the light touched. Courtney and I chatted and laughed whilst Blake and I alternated taking a bunch of photos…
^^ I feel like this one captures these two perfectly… 🙂 ^^
Next up called for a general wander in the direction of dinner because it had been almost a full 24 hours since we had last consumed pizza/pasta of any kind and that is just not on.
Upon recommendation from my lovely grandparents, we strategically walked through Piazza Navona at dusk, as people had easels out and were painting out in the square. There was some pretty incredible stuff going on artistically, and it was lovely to stand for a moment and take the place in. There are plenty of restaurants in the area which I’m sure are delicious but are definitely overpriced. In terms of food in Piazza Navona, the key is absolutely to just find a little side alley branching off and walk for a few minutes until you’re out of the tourist hub, where the real deal begins.
Walking through the alleyways surrounding Piazza Navona was like walking through a movie. The cobblestone streets, the higglety pigglety signs, doors and windows lining the buildings and the noise of laughter and chatter as people ate and toasted glasses of wine together. Yet another Awesome Travelling Moment that I’ll look back on fondly.
For dinner we totally struck gold and took the advice of a friend of a friend who had recommended ‘La Focaccia‘ restaurant on Via della Pace. This place was amazing. Your typical badly-lit indoor Italian kitchen but truly amazing food. We shared a carpaccio and ‘fritti’ (a Roman classic) and also had our own separate pasta dishes and I wish we had gone back here because it was really that delicious. It was extremely well-priced, great service, a fantastic atmosphere and I can’t recommend checking it out highly enough. It is not fancy or pretentious by any means, and was described to us as a go-to, which is exactly what it was. Reliable and delicious. This was my second favourite meal in Rome (the best meal was the following day and I CAN’T WAIT TO DISCUSS IT).
Everything was fresh and perfectly cooked. Two interesting food things we noticed on the trip.. Al dente really means al dente. We now cook pasta/spaghetti for a shorter time than we ever did before because the texture was quite different to the texture you’d get at any good restaurant over here. Also, red wine is often served cold! There you go.
And to round off a wonderful, delicious second day in Rome, here’s some pics of our food. Why not.
^^ Carpaccio ^^
^^ I fritti (Fried/crumbed vegetables)… SO GOOD! ^^