Well it’s not getting any cooler in Rome but we found a lovely little oasis in the middle of Rome which reminded much of Central Park. But let me back up. We started the day by walking to the Spanish Steps. They are not near as impressive in person as they are in pictures. The area around them has all the high end fashion shops and while fashion is not my thing it was still cool to check out the store fronts.
I should mention that my friend Amanda who is the group leader believes if we don’t walk/jog everywhere we are going to miss something. Usually I’m dragging the rear by myself but this year I have company, either the kind nun traveling with us or Amanda’s mom who is also along. She and I were particulary slow checking out all the windows, plus all that dumb cobblestone!
We then headed to Santa Maria Popolo but went in some other church first and then found the correct one. It’s in Angels & Demons if anyone is familiar. Once done we had tickets to visit the Villa Borghese which was just on the other side of this park that was next to the church. We entered the park and it was like you left the craziness of Rome behind and were swept into this beautiful oasis of trees, grass and flowers. It was beautiful (and huge, as it turns out the museum was on the other side) but as we wandered we came across a pond with small boats, statutes and a theater. There were people riding those Sequays (or however you spell that!) and these crazy bike things that carried 4 – 6 people and everyone could pedal. They were really interesting.
Finally we got to the museum and it was time for lunch. There was a cart selling food so the kids decided to hang out there and get food. Some of us adults wandered up the road to a cafe and sat out and had a lunch. We walked past a really cool playground and this weird merry-go-round of sorts. It was great to finally slow down and enjoy the day. And it really did remind me of Central Park because just outside the walls was the hub-bub of Rome.
The tickets for Villa Borghese are timed so we went in at 13h (or 1:00 for you Americans). You can only stay in for 2 hours and you must check all of your bags. They make an announcement at 3 to get out. The museum is not huge but it has a number of Bernini statues and was the home to really rich people a long time ago. It had some amazing artwork.
After that we were supposed to head to the Baths of Caracalla but I was exhausted. My sleeping was still a little off, my bad foot ached and I was just hot! I totally was starting to understand the concept of siesta so I headed back while they headed out. I very much enjoyed my first siesta and realized our only flaw in planning thus far was that we did not include a siesta time everyday!
My plan was to meet up with that at St. Maria in Trastevere. Trastevere is an old area of Rome and the church was very old! We were not able to hook up for dinner but I was able to enjoy a little time on the piazza and wait for them.
We then participated in evening prayer at the church with a group known as the Community of Sant Egidio. They are a group that services the poor and sick in the neighborhood. Afterwards he spoke to us about the church. He explained that they knew St. Francis had come to pray at the church while he was in Rome which was interesting to learn given we were leaving for Assisi in a couple of days.
The siesta helped carry me through the later evening and really hit the spot! I’m all for suppporting a mandatory siesta time when I return!