So this is why people like Italian food!

Rome Travel Blog

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Neptune in Plaza Navona


Today is more great art for me.  Jeff's ankles, back, and interest aren't up for it so I'm heading to the Villa Borghese on my own. It's the art museum most recommended in Rome.

Today, I hardly used the map.  I was all confidence and I didn't get lost.  Rome may be a city of miracles after all.

The Villa is not especially large (at least not after the Prado and the Vatican museum!) but it holds a lot.  Some very famous pieces.  Each room has 2 explanation cards in English -- one of the rooms contents, one explaining the art on the ceiling and walls. 

I can't recount everything I saw. There was so much and I moved through very slowly.

Neptune up close
  Downstairs is "things that sit" (furniture, sculptures, etc.).  Upstairs is paintings.  So many you can't hardly take it all in.

My biggest complaint is that you are strictly limited to 2 hours.  I was in at 9 and we were all quite pointedly told to leave at 11 so they next group could come in.  It's good that they limit the numbers of people in there at any given time.  It keeps you from being run over and you can actually see everything.

But 2 hours is just enough time, not more than enough.  I desperately wanted to stay longer (especially since I had trouble finding the stairs to go to the 2nd floor, so had even less time there). I wanted to rest and close my eyes for 10 minutes to sort of "empty them out" and then go on.

One of several Egyptian obelisks residing in Rome (and wanted back by the Egyptians!)
  I wanted to eavesdrop on some of the people -- people with clear expertise -- explaining the importance of some of the pieces.

I want to pull out my little pad and try to draw one small corner of some of the things I saw.

But, no, at 2 hours you get your butt in and you get your butt out.


My hip was also pretty tired and sore after two hours of strolling so I took the metro home and met Jeff. He had ID'd a restaurant he wanted to try. He also convinced me we wouldn't buy any time by taking metro, so we walked.  It took us about 30 minutes to get there and, boy, was my hip sore then!

But the food made up for it.  Today, lamb ragu that made my tongue dance.  Jeff had some kind of meatball thing, which was good, but I was happier about the lamb ragu.

Another Pl. Navona statue, being repaired.
  It was gentle and the pasta was just toothy enough and I loved it and I'd never be able to make it myself. 

Hence, vacations to Rome!

We were close to the Forum, which Jeff really wanted to see, so we walked over. There's really not a lot to see but ruins but he is intrigued.  Unfortunately, it was also wicked hot that day.  I just couldn't take the heat. Middle-age is reducing is definitely torpedoing my heat tolerance!

We tried to secure a bench in the shade. We sat with a guy on one bench, hoping if we stayed long enough, he'd leave and we could stretch out. But he had the paper and he was reading it page by page, every darned article, so he won.  We got up, wandered over to the metro, and headed home for yet another siesta.

Yet more.

Alfredo had left us a note inviting us over to the restaurant for a beer.  We had our beer, chatted with Alfredo for a while, and then took a taxi to a famous plaza, Plaza Navona.

Ah, what a lovely place.  It's large and pedestrian only.  Three fountains. Lots of people with their art, music, lounging. Great hang-out place. 

While in Valencia, Jeff met two Spanish guys, one of whom was married to an Italian woman from Rome. He'd recommended a restaurant near Plaza Navona and we went in search of it.

Turns out, it was only a few blocks away.  Da Francesco at Plaza Fico. Find it if you're in Rome.  The sidewalk tables were full so we went inside. We got there about 8:30 and by 9, the place was full of Italians.

That's a good sign -- more Italians than Americans!

It was a riot to watch the action in the kitchen.  Guys running in and out, yelling at each other, and the guy responsible for the pizza and bread oven just working his butt off.  Bandana around his neck and head, he didn't toss the dough but worked it on his work surface.  You could hear the wooden rolling pin whack that counter over and over. 

I had fettucini porcini (I ate a lot of mushrooms in Rome!) and it was perfect. Just perfect and not overly priced.  Jeff had spaghetti with a sauce that was so good that I helped him finish his dish when I was done with mine!  That, plus a 1/2 bottle of wine, was all I needed to be happy.

Then a family with a 5-year-old girl sat down next to us and she was just too cute.  She was drawing all over the paper tablecloth while waiting for their food.  When we were done eating, I started drawing on her paper too, giving her our names and our ages and asking for hers.  It was very cute.

We wandered back to Plaza Navona.  The sky was now an inky blue black and the seagulls whirled around, light reflecting off their white undersides, like shooting stars. A band did an amazing job with Dire Straits, so much so that we checked to make sure it wasn't Dire Straits slumming it in Plaza Navone.

At this point, I insisted that it was time I had gelato.  I'd been saving my tastebuds for it. The Lonely Planet guidebook recommended 4 gelato shops, two near Plaza Navone.  We weaved our way out of the plaza and headed off for the gelato shop.

We found it without too much trouble.  They had about 50 flavors and was jammed full of people (mostly Americans).  It was wonderful.  Just wonderful.  Worth waiting for.  I wanted even more but Jeff steered me back to Plaza Navone, hailed a cab, and we went home for a good nights sleep.

That was just about a perfect day in Rome for me -- art, food, history, and more food. 

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Neptune in Plaza Navona
Neptune in Plaza Navona
Neptune up close
Neptune up close
One of several Egyptian obelisks r…
One of several Egyptian obelisks …
Another Pl. Navona statue, being r…
Another Pl. Navona statue, being …
Yet more.
Yet more.
photo by: vulindlela