Visit to Rome (2)

Our first full day in Rome was a long walking tour. We were out for eight hours and, in that time, visited six locations and made three refreshment stops.

We started near our hotel with a visit to the huge Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore. This was originally built in the 5th century with Romanesque, Renaissance and Baroque additions over the succeeding centuries. We then made the long walk to the so-called Spanish Steps whose proper name is Scalinata della  Trinita dei Monti. The popular name comes from the nearby Spanish Embassy and the true name is the church at the top of the steps.

It was not far from the steps to the famous Trevi Fountain. This 1732 creation by Nicola Salvi is so large that it virtually occupies the square which is always heaving with tourists. Next stop, not fat away, was the Pantheon. This dates back to AD 118-125 when it was a pagan temple. It was given to the then pope in 608 and today houses the tombs of two Italian kings.

Not far away again is Piazza Navona, one of the largest and loveliest of Rome’s many squares. At the centre of the oblong square is Bernini’s Fountain of the Four Rivers, each representing a different continent. Finally we called into Campo dei Fiori (Field of Flowers). During the Inquisition, executions were held here, but today it houses a thriving open air market which includes many flower stalls.

Rome seems like a safe city with the only danger being the traffic, but at all the sights there were pairs of soldiers armed with machine guns. We walked everywhere, only taking a taxi back to the hotel at the very end of the day. The weather was excellent, reaching a high of 27C, and, in the evening, we even managed to eat our dinner outdoors.


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