Europe Day 8 – Fountains and Squares

Fontana di Trevi

The second full day in Rome once again started with us heading to the Roma Termini on the bus. Rather than taking the metro like we did on the first day we walked across town photographing sights as we went. Our first stop for the day was the Fontana di Trevi (the Trevi fountain) which was designed by Nicola Salvi. It was once tradition for an aqueduct to end with a fountain and the tradition held true when they built the Trevi fountain as it is fed by the Acqua Vergine aqueduct. There have been a number of stories associated with this fountain, made in part by movies. One such story says that if you throw a coin with your right hand over your left shoulder into the fountain with your back to it that you guarantee your return to Rome. I don’t think the full extent of the story is commonly known however as you often see people only throwing coins in without following that specific criteria. Whilst there we also looked in a church called “Santi Vincenzo e Anastasio a Trevi” which translates to Saints Vincent and Anastasius at Trevi.

The Pantheon

The next stop was the Roman Pantheon, a large domed building which was once used for Pagan worship. Inside the Pantheon you can see it’s domed structure actually has a hole in the middle where rays of light shine through to illuminate the interior. Inside the pantheon is the tomb of Raffaello Sanzio (more commonly known as Raphael) though due to low light conditions and not having my tripod with me at the time it proved quite difficult to photograph due to camera shake.

The Pantheon’s roof

The next stop was the Piazza Navona where there are three fountains, the grandest of them being the Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi which has four figures representing four major rivers from different continents: the Nile, Ganges, Danube and Rio della Plata; all seated around an obelisk. This is one of the many examples of Bernini’s work in Rome and one of two which can be seen in the square, the other being the Fontana del Moro (Moor fountain). The third fountain is the fountain of Neptune (Fontana di Nettuno) which features the God Neptune with a trident – the trident being a later addition.

Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi

From here we cut through the Piazza del Parlamento reach Piazza del Popolo – a large square which was once a place for public executions and has the church of Santa Maria del Popolo. This being a large open square with no shade and the sun continuing to beat down on us at the heat wave continued we didn’t stay long and swiftly moved on to Piazza di Spagna, the site of the famous Spanish Steps. We then travelled back to the Piazza del Popolo and took the road behind it which leads up a hill to a good viewing point where you can look down on the city of Rome. From there it was possible to see a good portion of the city and to see the contrasting styles as new meets old.

After we’d made it back to the hotel via a bus from the Termini it was getting late and time for an evening meal. We tried a ristorante not far from the hotel which was almost empty – something which can be a little worrying as it makes you wonder why no one is eating there. I ordered the lamb dish and a can of Fanta, but they had neither so I ended up with a beef steak and Coca Cola. Now normally when I order a steak, or indeed a meal, I prefer a little more evidence that the cow is dead other than the fact it isn’t moving. This steak was rare enough to wonder if someone had decided to “cook” (and I mean that in the loosest sense of the word) it over a lit match. I know there are people who like to eat their steaks like this but usually the waiter would actually ask how you want your steak – if they don’t ask then it is a fair assumption that they will cook it “medium”. It was a disappointing meal but we ate it anyway and returned to the hotel, and watched “The Davinci Code” in Italian (with me providing English commentary to my friend who could not remember the film) to finish the day.

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