The Road to Rome - Returning to Rome

A Second Visit to Rome – The Road to Rome 2018

Having Rome so close by it was inevitable that we would end up on another day trip to the Italian capital. We spent a part of our last full day in Italy in Rome. We just didn’t want to miss some of the sights we did not see during our visit a few days earlier.

Back to Rome

Walking up and down the hill to and from our hotel in Frascati started to become the new normal on our fourth day in the town. You eventually learn how much time you need to get to the train station in time to both purchase the tickets as well as getting down to the platform. Well, at least if you would be traveling alone. Once more we took our precautions – you never know if Little A needs something before reaching the station. So we ended up a bit early also this time. It would turn out to be a day at the three different piazzas and a green park.

Piazza Venezia

With only one hour to Rome, we were soon standing at the center of the Roma Termini – the central train station. This time we set off straight towards the Piazza Venezia – an impressive square in front of the Palazzo Venezia, the Basilica di Santa Maria in Ara Coeli and Equestrian statue of Vittorio Emanuele II. How does it compare with the more well-known sights such as the Spanish Steps and the Fontana di Trevi? We were for sure more impressed.

The square might be a bit chaotic with a lot of traffic and even more pedestrians and tourists. It is, however, one of few modern signs of greatness that we found in Rome outside of the Vatican. The kind of monuments you will also find in cities such as Vienna and Budapest.

Due to the number of people, it was not a place we stayed long at. Little A was not so happy with the big crowds and started to get hungry. So we ended up in a small pizza store for an easy lunch. Little A turned out to be a great fan of aubergine lasagna – who would have thought… 

Piazza di Spagna

With a small detour past the Fontana di Trevi we eventually ended up on Piazza di Spagna. Piazza di Spagna and the Spanish Steps also showed the weird results of mass tourism. The steps were filled with people and the rest of the square was almost empty. Are people just there to be able to show a selfie of yourself in front of famous monuments? We and especially Little A was more than happy to have the rest of the square almost for ourselves while admiring the attraction from a distance. And no, there are no selfies.

The steps connect the Spanish Embassy at Piazza di Spagna (the Spanish Square) with the Trinità dei Monti church at the Piazza Trinità dei Monti. It has 174 steps and dates back to the 1720s. 

The sun was starting to heat up Rome at this time and we kept going with the hope of finding some shade. As it turned out, we had to explore more square before we found some trees.

Piazza del Popolo

Not far from the Spanish Steps is the Piazza del Popolo – or the People’s Square. This is probably the largest square we saw in Rome. I’m wondering if the St. Peter’s Square in the Vatican can compete in size. North of the square is the old gate Porta del Popolo. The last major work on the gate was actually carried out in 1655 to welcome the former Queen Christina of Sweden. She moved to Rome following her conversion to Catholicism and by then abdication from the Swedish crown.

The square does, however, have a dark history. This was the place for public executions up until the 1820s. 

Once more the heat forced us to continue to the park of Villa Borghese that is located just next door to Piazza del Popolo.

Villa Borghese

We did not really do any research of Villa Borghese before our visit. It was the map that guided us. We just found a big green dot on the map and decided to head in that direction. We also noted the signs for the zoo that is located in a corner of the park.

After a few hundred meters of insecurity in regards to our decision we eventually ended up in the more well-maintained part of the part. With small ponds and walkways amidst the green trees, it was a different world compared to the city. Nevertheless, it was just as crowded. It didn’t take us long before we sat down at a cafe and tried to enjoy an overpriced coffee. Well, once more a tourist trap as the only option. What else to do when Susann needs her coffee? We had so far been positively surprised with the service mindedness of the people in Rome, this was probably the exception of the rule.

After a short walk through the park we eventually ended up on our way back towards the train station. It was once more a day of walking through Rome – which is probably one of the best ways to really enjoy the city. On the train back to Frascati our plans for a new return to Rome already started to take form. Well, that is a visit that will have to wait – our flight back to Stockholm the next morning prevented any more visits at this time.

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