Rome Diaries – Pantheon and Trevi Fountain

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You can catch up with the previous two posts Italian Diaries – Sneak peek of Rome and Rome Diaries – Colosseum and Palatine Hill before reading ahead . Continuing on our Roman adventure, we decided to do a self-guided tour of Pantheon, Trevi Fountain and Spanish Steps, all architectural delights.

We got off on the same Piazza Venezia and walked in a different direction than what we took for the Colosseum.

As you walk through the narrow streets and follow the map, you suddenly round the corner and come to a plaza called Piazza della Rotonda. You will have your aha moment as you see the centuries-old Pantheon — impressive, huge and so well maintained even after centuries.

 

Pantheon means a temple to every God in Greek. You can see a large Dome on the top and a set of pillars in the front that lead to an entrance. It has been used as a Church since later. It was completed by 129 AD. It attracts a large number of visitors and hence is very crowded.

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As you enter and look up you see the massive dome with an uncovered opening to the sky. The day we visited, it was bright and sunny. Take in the architecture of this ancient monument which is the world’s oldest unreinforced Dome to date. You can see an altar for prayer.

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There is no entrance fee and you can have a look and come out in minutes.

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As you come out you can see the Fountains of Pantheon where you can sit and relax while you marvel at its marble structure which was later reinforced with a stone base. The water from the fountain is potable so you can refill your water bottles.

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After spending some time watching the Pantheon from some distance and absorbing its beauty, we headed to the Trevi Fountain which is a beauty in marble. People do throw in cents and make wishes here. As a matter of fact, I have found that people throw cents in most water fountains across Rome. 🙂 This is again clogged with tourists. You can drink from the fountains here. This is a site of an aqueduct that supplied water to ancient Rome.

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We then moved on to finding a rest room. There is a McDonald’s close to here which has free toilets. It also has our favourite gelato though the burgers were clearly overpriced. This McD was very close to Spanish Steps which was our last halt on this walking tour. Unfortunately some repair work was ongoing and hence a large part of it was cordoned off. Tired after an afternoon worth of walking, we proceeded to the closeby Metro station to catch a train and a bus back to our Apartment.

At the Metro, a good looking Italian policeman warned us about pick pockets whose favourite targets were tourists. He told us in fluent English to keep all our backpacks hung from the front. Wallets and purses must also be in the front pockets or slung in the front. He also told us that it was kids who most often engaged in pickpocketing on trains and in subway stations. We were grateful for his tips and in the Metro, we spotted 2-3 boys fitting the description he had mentioned. One of them even tried to strike a conversation with us while an Italian lady frantically signalled to my husband not to talk to those boys. Did we have a close shave? We don’t know! It felt like it. But we were very careful for the rest of our trip and were lucky enough not to be robbed.

Take care of your documents as well. For audio guides and in some places, they will ask to see your ID. But for audio guides even our Indian IDs like DL were accepted. It is good to have a Euro currency debit or credit card with you. That is a safer way of carrying money and cheaper as compared to using your Indian CC or Debit card. Keep cash low and use it only where they don’t accept card. Also distribute the cash among all members. That way you reduce your damages in case robbed.

Next post, we visit the Vatican. Hope you are having fun exploring Rome with me.

30 thoughts on “Rome Diaries – Pantheon and Trevi Fountain

  1. Rachna, I have to read your earlier two posts to really see Rome through your eyes but I loved what I read and saw here 🙂 The tip about pick-pockets is very helpful, keeping backpack in front is a must in our metros too.

  2. I have only seen them in movies. Wow it must be quite a moment to admire these structures in real.
    Kids as pickpocket!! One has to be so careful every time.

  3. Son went on a solo Europe tour last year. Your pictures remind me of his tales and experiences. Similar stories about guides and petty crime.
    Looks like you had loads of fun.

  4. I have heard about the pick pockets..It was good to know that the police and even people tried to help..I’m loving your posts..exploring Italy at a comfortable pace through your words and eyes 🙂

  5. Lovely to read about your adventures Rachna. Rome has such a rich history, isn’t it. Lucky you people escaped from pickpockets. I have heard of a joke where somebody told me that ppl go in drives from places like Italy to rob and then come back in the evening 🙂

    • Yes, we were lucky in that sense. They have warnings put up about pick pockets in all travel networks. Yes, apparently there are organized gangs operating. Scary stuff! India feels easy safe in this aspect.

  6. I am reliving the moments of recent Rome visit! Romans certainly got a fair share of leadership in cultural and architectural beauty in last 2000 years old history:)

  7. THAT was one of those things that they warn of while touring in Italy 🙂 Pantheon – maybe THIS is the root of the English word pantheon – as in ‘pantheon of gods’

  8. Good to read more details about the Roman Holiday, must appreciate the maintenance and wonderful condition these hundreds of year old monuments are even today.

  9. Ah, so interesting to read of your adventures in Rome! Such a truly beautiful city, your photos took me back.:) I visited twice with my husband, both times right before Christmas and I feel like there is something so magical about Italy…even the air felt amazing! I am so glad you guys enjoyed your trip! What an awesome experience for your sons as well! What did they enjoy most?

    • Yes, ltaly is magical. And exploring it with the kids when they are slightly older was a treat. I think each monument Colosseum, Pantheon, the Duomo at Florence, Vatican, the Tuscan landscape, the Pompeii ruins and all the fabulous food were all wonderful. Difficult to pick one!

    • That Dome is huge! The entire Pantheon is Big! You have to look up and gape. 😀 Oh yes, Vatican! That book did cross my mind when I visited the place.

  10. Aha! Robbery there too ? Italian thieves! 😀
    Keep them coming, Rach. I’m going to use your posts as a guide when I finally visit Italy.

    • Thanks, Sid. Apparently there are organized gangs. Same in Paris as well. Mostly from Eastern Bloc countries. It was a bit unnerving to be careful at all tourist locations and in public transport. Even in India, we don’t feel so unsafe about our belongings. 😀 But the people seemed nice and helpful. And those Italian men. *drool* 😀

  11. Some nice shots there! Your post made me recall one of my favourite romantic movies – Roman Holiday, with Gregory Peck and Audrey Hepburn. Do watch it if you haven’t already! You will enjoy it, I think 🙂

    By the way, it was the word pantheon that led some western Indologists to wrongly use the word ‘pantheism’ to describe Hinduism! Talk about misunderstanding of differences!

    • Oh yes, I loved that movie. But I watched it a long time ago. Need to see it again. 🙂 We came to know so much about the bloody history of Church in the past. How pagan temples including this one were converted to Christian worship places. It is all quite fascinating.

  12. I absolutely have Europe on my travel list like I told you when we spoke 🙂 Italy sounds magical and yes, I heard of the pickpockets very often from other people too. Isn’t it incredible how much we have in common with them in terms of architecture and temples? I love when they preserve such ancient monuments with abundant care.

    Your holiday was lovely, I can tell 🙂

    • Oh yes, that is what struck me as well. The similarities between the two countries. But the larger cities in Europe do have a problem of pickpockets. Yes, the monuments are really well preserved and places are tourist friendly. Oh yes, a beautiful holiday. 🙂

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