Roma(ntics), Rome Part II

[[You can check out Rome Part I here!]]

Is Rome for lovers? Places like the Fontana di Trevi and the Spanish Steps are forever eternalized in popular films and they are definitely romantic spots. While Rome draws in lovers, it also fosters a sense of adventure in the people that visit it. Hence “Rome -Antics” the other way you can read the title of this entry! (Isn’t that clever? haha). This is evident in our Sunday itinerary: Castel Sant’Angelo, Piazza Navona, and the Pantheon. Also with Vincenzo’s suggestion, we attended the interactive tour of the Palazzo Valentini.

After checking out of the hotel around 9am, we took the bus across the street to nearly the last stop where we saw our destination. Castel Sant’Angelo is magnificent inside and out. The angel-lined Ponte S. Angelo (bridge) took us across the majestic Tiber River (Il Fiume Tevere)! The entrace to Hadrian’s Mausoleum starts with a staircase into an underground level, and then a dark spiral tunnel that leads into an open courtyard with an Angel. I already got the sense I had entered into a labyrinth and was ready to explore. From there, we didn’t follow any of the DIY “itinerary” signs and wandered around wherever we felt inclined to. After roaming the castle part, we went to the Marcia Ronda, aka the ramparts, that was to the right of the Mausoleum entrance. with four corner bastions that are named after the Evangelists. It was interesting to see gray stone balls and catapults still filled the bastions.

outside Castel Sant'Angelo Amy going up the tunnel archangelo michele greets us at the square ancient defense system the view from above Ponte Sant'Angelo the many churches & basilicas of Rome angel overlooking the castle

While it was nice and cool inside the castle, the heat caught up to us when we headed to Piazza Navona. Thankfully, the hotel stored the things that weren’t necessary for our daytrip and we traveled lightly! The Piazza is shaped like a long rectangle and was an open stadium site for footgames of the Ancient Romans. The main fountain had a stunning obelisk surrounded by scupltures with water rushing out. A small part of me wish that I could jump in, but there was a gate around it and I’m sure it would have been embarrassing and illegal.

Piazza Navona Sant'Agnese in Agone church Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi closeup of one of the "rivers"

I ate a baguette at a nearby gelatteria where the waitstaff was very friendly. Italians throughout the trip have been nice to us whenever Amy asked for directions in italiano. They were curious as to whether Amy was Korean or Japanese and visibly surprised to find out she’s Chinese. With some guidance, we walked onward to the Pantheon. It was definitely awesome to step inside the dome-like structure and the same awe that came over me at the Colloseum came over me again here. I was awestruck by the gourgous coffered ceiling and the oculus which provides the only source of light for the building’s interior.

Fontana del Pantheon e il Pantheon Il Pantheon the crowd going in At the entrance! interior view La cupola e l'oculo pillars gladiators, of course

We took a short break outside the Pantheon and then shopped a bit along some sidestreets until we hit the Palazzo Valentini. I hadn’t expected or experienced before such an inventive “education tour.” The tour was mostly in the dark and we stood on glass floors that overlooked the artifacts and palace ruins. Lights and videos brought to life how the palace was originally and the excavation. We weren’t allowed to take pictures, but it was really worth going to! After that we went shopping a bit and returned to the hotel for our things and for a quick cup of cappuccino (gratis!) from their vending machine. Our trip ended with a 3 hour bus ride back to Siena, casa dolce casa!


Unfortunately in our two day trip, we didn’t go to Vatican City (I can hear the gasps already!) even though it was just a short walk from Castel Sant’Angelo. It was the first stop on our agenda for Sunday but we were misinformed and misunderstood that the Piazza would be closed on Sundays since the museum and chapel are not open those days. However, 2 days is really not enough to see the everything that Rome has to offer and I’m not too worried. This just gives me a great reason to come back to Rome in the future, and perferably in cooler weather 🙂

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