I am flabbergasted by how different it feels. There are hordes of tourists, flocking after guides, their little flags held aloft. The narrow pedestrian streets are packed with people, many of them Italians, but many not, with Vespas skillfully weaving their way through the masses. I've been reading in Rick Steves's guidebook about the long lines to visit the biggest sights—the Vatican, the Forum and Colosseum, the Villa Borghese.
I will visit the Vatican, lines or no: to see the Sistine Chapel (and hear the guide yell "Silenzio!") is why I'm here. And I'd like to see the Villa Borghese again: I loved that place last time. (Though one thing I liked was its quiet beauty—even with limited admissions, I'm pretty sure I won't get the same impression this time.) I might visit the Forum simply to gain access to the Palatine Hill, which I remember enjoying.
But otherwise, I may just wander in less trafficked areas that are new to me: Trastevere; the Jewish Ghetto; along the ancient Appian Way. At least, in my imagination they're less trafficked. I guess I'll find out.
The Spanish Steps and walk along the blufftop, however: those were much as I remembered them. (Okay: maybe a few more people lounging on the staircase.) I was hoping to identify the restaurant I ate dinner at my last evening in 2006, at the top of the steps, but failed. Since I was alone, the maitre d' invited a Belgian woman, also dining solo, to share my table. What could I say? But we ended up having a delightful conversation—she was a children's book writer and illustrator, and was researching a book having to do with Rome. I've forgotten her name, but the experience is still a bright spot in that last visit here.
Today I'll post a few photos from the day's wanderings: street scenes, views from the bike/walking path along the river, a few bridges. Not "the sights" per se—but just as interesting (perhaps even more so) in their own way: lived life. (Click on the pictures to view them larger on black.)
|Beautiful seed pods|
|Near Piazza del Popolo|
|Behind the Pantheon (which is on the right)|
|Ancient preserved against modern|
|"Everything has changed . . . I love you|
I wish you a world of good ∞"
|At the top of the steps leading down to the river, near|
the Ponte Reg. Margherita; both sides have full access for
walking and biking and even driving
|Note fisherman on the right|
|A few shells were on the water, practicing—|
mostly singles; this was the only double
|Ponte Vittorio Emanuele II, southern aspect|
|Ponte Vittorio Emanuele II, northern aspect|
|Ponte S. Angelo from the Ponte Vittorio Emanuele II,|
with the Ponte Umberto I in the background:
lots of bridges!