Friday, June 11, 2010

We took a morning train to Rome and arrived just after noon.  It was again sweltering but luckily our hostel was very close to the train station.   We dropped our bags off, grabbed some quick food, and started our wanderings.  We first walked to Piazza della Republica and then to the Basilica of Santa Maria degli Angeli.  After that we went to Galoppatoio di Volla Borghese which was a beautiful park that had "Lion King" like trees.  Because we had plans to see the big sites in the next few days we decided to just spend most of this day exploring and it certainly felt that way in the park. Pincio was a garden area that led to a point that over looked the city directly above Piazza del Popolo.  It was fairly quiet in the area that day so it was nice to feel that we had stumbled upon some previously undiscovered part of the city... even if we knew otherwise.   From there we made our way down to Pizza del Popolo and to the Spanish Steps and forced our way through the crowd at the Trevi Fountain which was actually more impressive than I was expecting.
View from Pincio
The Spanish Steps

Trevi Fountain

We had signed up for the free pasta dinner at the hostel so we headed back for that.  We still had a few hours of sunlight after dinner so we headed towards Colle Oppio and Domus Aurea.  On the map this area looks like it is a mass of ruins so the history geek in me was pretty dissapointed when I got there to find that most of the ruins were actually under ground and behind large fences.  While walking around the ruins we just happened to stumble upon the Colosseum.  Although we were planning on seeing it the next day it was amazing to peek through some trees and see the massive walls of the Colosseum rise in front of you.  Because we had essentially been wandering through a neighborhood we again felt as if we had just made an amazing discovery.  This obviously was never actually the case on our trip but the number of times we found things by accident really added a sense of adventure to a trip that for many people is overly structured and planned.
Colloseum through the trees

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