Thursday, 9 May 2013

Wandering, Part 1 of N+1

With the afternoon to kill and not much on the agenda, we opted to test our bus riding skills and go explore a bit of town. We hopped a local cattle car city bus...
A few humans more than the capacity of the bus
...and took the 15 min ride into the Centro Storico, and more precisely, the Campo del Fiori area. Of course, being new to this bus thing, I blew it and ended up one stop too far, at the Area Sacra dell' Argentina, where Julius Cesar was murdered on 15 March 44 B.C. (the Ides of March).
Four temples found in 1920, called (conveniently) A, B, C & D
Of course, facing the temples is a theatre. Built in 1732, it's where Rossini's "Barber of Seville" debuted. They hated it. They chased Rossini through the city. Shame they didn't just show the Bugs Bunny version of it first.
The facade
So we high tailed it back to the Campo Del Fiori, yet another market.
Il mercato
They have more stuff than my local market, including...
Fruits and vegetables
Coffee makers
More coffee makers
...and other stuff. We picnicked in Piazza Farnese, sitting in front of the French embassy...
Partially designed by Michelangelo
...watching women in 5" heels float across the cobblestones.
I couldn't do that
We followed a walking tour of the quarter that's in one of our guidebooks, mostly sticking to Via Giulia, and saw:
Pocket churches
Street fakers. Literally. An old magic trick.
Cobblestone repair dudes
Funky churches
Churches commemorating death 
A close up
Bridges designed by Michelangelo
Cool graffiti. Yes, the black dude was painted on the sign
Imposing churches
There was a palace with a very cool bit of architecture. The owner commissioned Borromini in 1550 to create a gallery of false perspective that looks 4 times bigger than it is.
Looks good, but...
It's only about 25 feet deep, though it looks over 100' long. The "squares" on the floor aren't squares. The columns get closer together as you go down the corridor. The shrubs at the end are set and trimmed carefully. The sculpture at the end is only 2' tall. Nice piece of work. Love the Renaissance and the use of perspective.

Our walking tour ended across the Tiber from the Vatican, so we had to wander over to St. Peter's.
Ponte Saint Angelo, leading to Castel Saint'Angelo.
The Castel over Ponte Vittorio Emanuel II
St. Peter's
Up close
The dudes up top
Alas, tired feet meant the bus home, a painless experience.

Tomorrow, Ostia Antica.

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