We had two days post cruise to enjoy Rome. What should we do? Taking another tour was not an option. The St Regis concierge circled the items on our wish list. We started walking. We spent two days walking Rome by foot.
Day 1- Walking Tour of Rome
Within steps of our hotel, we were greeted by this statue. I ended up taking more than my share of statue and fountain photos.These works of art were everywhere.
We stopped at Piazza Barberini to admire a fountain.
Our first destination was a large green area on the map, a park. Just before we reached the Villa Borghese Gardens, we encountered an impressive wall with arched passageways and windows. On the other side was the park entrance.
We walked and walked. It was a glorious day after a number of rainy days.
Eventually, we started heading toward the boundary. We were searching for a way to reach the Spanish Steps and Piazza Di Spagna. Along the way, we continued to enjoy this aesthetic environment. Until we reached the road, we didn’t realize that we had a birds eye view of the city.
We looked down and saw a plaza with a tall monument. Can anyone identify this area?
We had an excellent view of Rome. Too bad that it was a bit hazy.
We had to walk down several flights of stairs (Spanish Steps) in order to reach the piazza.
When we reached the Piazza Di Spagna, we had three roads to choose from. I cannot remember which one we took. Our next destination was Fontan Di Treva or the Trevi Fountain. We could hear the sound of running water before we came upon the massive crowds that hovered around this romantic site.
Next, we decided to go to the Pantheon. A few people were gathering outside this massive building that dates back to the time of Emperor Hadrian (120 CE). The original structure (27 BCE) was destroyed by fire. This structure was dedicated to all of the gods. People in ancient times could stop at this structure to worship. In the Middle Ages, the building was transformed into a church. In more recent times, statues and tombs of famous people were added.
In the rotunda, natural light showered down from a round skylight in the center of the concrete roof. The impressive dome highlights the brilliance of Roman engineering.It illuminated the amazing craftsmanship that went from the floor to the ceiling.
Walking in a circle, we viewed each portion of the rotunda.
Each nook had sculptures and paintings.
We continued our journey to the Piazza Navona. It was a rectangular area that showcased a variety of art vendors, street musicians, ice cream shops and cafes. This area was originally built as a racetrack in 80 CE.
These fountains designed by Gian Lorenzo Bernini were unusual.
After walking for hours, we found our way back to the hotel.
Day 2- Walking Tour of Rome
The next day, we made our way to some of the ancient sites. We passed by the ruins of Fori Imperiali and Fori Triaiano.
We also walked past the 2000 year old Colosseum (Colosseo) and the Forum. We had taken tours of these historic sites during a previous trip. We walked by the Arch of Constantine that is located between the Colosseum and the Forum. This structure represents Constantine’s acceptance of Christianity, a pivotal point in history.
We stopped at the Arch of Titus. Titus captured Jerusalem in 70 CE and destroyed the Second Temple. A couple years later the Jewish revolt was ended after the fall of Masada. To commemorate this victory, the Arch of Titus was dedicated in 85 CE. This arch and the Colosseum were built by Jewish slaves.
Inside the arch are two panels. One illustrates the spoils taken from the Second Temple in Jerusalem – the seven-branched candelabrum or Menorah, the silver trumpets and the Table of the Shewbread. The second is of Titus in a chariot accompanied by the goddess Victoria and the goddess Roma.The ceiling which was built after Titus’ death depicts the emperor riding an eagle to heaven where he is thought to become one of the gods.
This structure symbolizes a turning point in Jewish history. The Temple ceased to be the focal point of Judaism and Jews were dispersed throughout the world. Jews would need to modify their religious practices and learn to adapt to living in the Diaspora. Until the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948, Jews would long for their homeland. While the mighty Roman Empire is no more, Jewish life continues to flourish in Israel as well as around the world.
Pizza in Rome
We couldn’t leave Italy without having pizza.The hotel concierge recommended San Marco. We wanted an early dinner, a rarity in European culture. San Marco was one of the few options that we had within walking distance of our hotel. It was delightful. However, we felt that the pizza we ordered through room service at the Rome Cavalieri, Waldorf Astoria Hotel before the cruise was a tad better.
Having the time to travel independently was a welcomed relief after being herded like cattle on shore excursions. Certain cities are easier to navigate than other places. If you have the stamina, Rome is definitely a place that can be managed and enjoyed on your own by foot.