As much of a whirlwind Day 2 threw me into, even more adventure was in store for the next day.
I had a walking tour scheduled for later in the afternoon, and, unlike the day before, I wanted to make sure that I had plenty of time to get there. One great way I stay active when traveling is by walking anywhere I possibly can. By skipping the bus or taxi, I can burn calories, as well as stay at the top of the competition with my FitBit opponents. With these motivating factors in mind, it was a breeze walking the 30 minutes through throngs of tourists and the bustling Roman metropolis to arrive at my meeting point with time to spare.
After arriving and putting on our headsets, our group set out towards our first destination of many for the day, the Colloseum. I was quite interested in the history of this massive structure, learning such things as the various types of imported animals brought in to fight, as well as which seating was for the working class versus the Roman elite. I'll let the photos speak for the rest of this experience.
Next, we set out for the Roman Forum. The tour guide rattled off hundreds of facts as I immersed myself in the ruins of what used to be a hub of government buildings and a sprawling marketplace. Like the other tours I'd been on during my trip, I often lost my group while eyeing snapshots of these marvelous pieces of architecture. But I didn't care. Gaining access to a site whose existence I was only vaguely familiar with beforehand took all of my attention as my camera snapped away.
After leaving the forum, our group was led through the historic center streets, where we eventually arrived at the Trevi Fountain. The legend is that if you throw a coin with your right hand over your left shoulder with your back turned to the fountain, you're guaranteed another visit to Rome. It was a chaotic space, with people squeezing in and around others to get the perfect spot in front of the fountain to toss their coins and snag a perfect photo. In addition to this commotion, capturing the sheer majesty of the Trevi Fountain was overwhelming. The gleaming white limestone was sculpted so intricately that I could have been brought to tears (if I weren't being rushed out by other ambitious travelers.)
We then set out for the Pantheon. I'd already had the chance to visit this building during my second day, so imagine my amazement as I found even more angles to capture of the church than I had the day before.
We then walked a few meters over to the Piazza Navona. Some notable pieces in this piazza include:
- The Fountain of Four Rivers,
- La Fontana del Moro (a personal favorite), and
- The Church Sant'Agnese in Agone
After sharing the history of each of these sites, our tour guide bid us farewell. I'd easily worked up an appetite and decided to patronize a restaurant in the Pantheon square at Ritorno al Passato.
I then explored as much of Rome and the Trastevere streets as I could since this would be my last day of wandering around Rome.
Dinner time soon came and I decided that, despite the many whole pizzas I'd consumed in my Italian travels, I'd visit a popular pizzeria nearby, Ai Marmi. After waiting to be seated for several minutes, a waiter asked me if I'd be willing to sit at the same table as two other men looking to get a slice. And I'm so glad to have been asked this! After sitting down, we quickly grew from strangers asking the typical probing questions, to good friends. One man, from Southern Italy, the other from the Netherlands, gave me tons of traveling, work, and relationship advice in our few hours together. I ended my night with a plethora of travel tips -- proof that traveling can bring about more unexpected encounters than planned. Did I mention they paid for my food and drinks?! Always a plus in my book.
Satisfied, I bid my new friends adieu and went home for the night, full and exhausted from yet another busy day. It was time for some relaxation. I'll get around to that during Day 4.