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