Ahhh, that breakfast...mmmm. I thought I'd try the hotel's cooked breakfast offering- scrambled eggs, bacon (possibly more like pancetta than bacon) and bruchetta! Absolutely delicious! We'd need a big, filling breakfast for the walking planned for day three of our holiday- there were big plans afoot!
Whilst in the Villa Borghese gardens on the previous day, we noticed that they had a Dotto train!! Huge excitement. A definite revisit was needed for a train tour of the gardens. We drove for twenty minutes at top speed around the garden, through death defying hairpin bends, narrowly avoiding rickshaws, buggies, pedestrians and ice cream stands, it was thrilling!
One part of the garden has a very beautiful lake, which you could hire boats to row around on. It looked like fun but we didn't go for it, instead choosing to wander around and admire from the safety of the pavement.
We stopped a while to watch this very active Terrapin do a very wiggly dance around the sleeping ducks. It was almost like he was putting on a show for the passer's by.
We had lunch in a very pretty little cafe by the lake. I tried my first espresso (by accident- I didn't specify American coffee)- not sure I would want to deliberately order one again!
After lunch we had plans to meet up with a friend who lives in Rome, and hopped on the metro. We were meeting in a favoured gelateria, Lemongrass- and the gelato was to die for!!! I had lemon, chocolate fondant and fig and white chocolate, oh they were luuuurvly.
Our friend had to rush off to work after a while and we were left to our own devices- but we had a plan and walked to Piazza Cavour, which is the site of the Palace of Justice, or Palazzaccio as the Italian's call it- the bad Palace. The Palace is the seat of the Supreme Court which is the highest court of appeal in Italy, and the building itself is gigantic, covered in statues and carvings of the finest quality although it is very new compared to other similar buildings in Rome, only recently completed.
The statue in the centre of Piazza Cavour is dedicated to Camillo Benso, Count of Cavour who was a statesman heavily involved in the movement for Italian unification.
Walking around to the other side of this mahoosive building, you reach the River Tiber, which you can wander along past the markets and buskers, until you reach...
...the Pope's castle!! Castel Sant'Angelo. It started out as the Mausoleum of Hadrian, commissioned by the Emperor himself as a mausoleum for himself and his family. It was then used by the Popes as a fortress and castle, and is now a museum. We didn't go in, just mooched around the outside but it was still pretty impressive- apparently it used to be the tallest building in Rome can you believe?
Leading up to the Castel Sant'Angelo is the Ponte Sant'Angelo, once known as the Aelian Bridge or Pons Aelius- the Bridge of Hadrian. It is well known for the angelic statues lining the sides of the bridge, creating a beautiful entrance to the mausoleum when crossing the Tiber river.
And if we continue further up the hill we reach Vatican City! It is its own State, and is the smallest one in the world in both area and population, ruled by The Pope. The outside of the Vatican itself is amazing, glistening a brilliant white in the sun, curving round in a massive arch of columns and looming statues. To get to The Papal Basilica of St. Peter in the Vatican, or St Peter's Basilica you have to walk through the channel of columns and up the steps, the front of the Basilica seemingly getting higher and higher as you get nearer.
It is one of the largest churches in the world and supposedly is the burial site of St. Peter, one of the Apostles and the first Pope. Inside there are many sections and areas for prayer, confession boxes lining the walls for the pilgrims who travel here especially.
It is very grand, with elaborate and detailed paintings or carvings covering every available space, gold twinkling in the corners. It's amazing to think of how the builders put this together, how they reached those high up places I have no idea- the scaffolding must have been immense!
We left the Basilica just as the sun was starting to set behind the dome, and most of the tourists had started to go home- almost like we had the place to ourselves!
We found a lovely little pizzeria near to our metro stop for some dinner, before catching the train home to Piazza de Spagna and a cheeky late night gelato.
Join me again tomorrow for day four! x