Italy - Day 2 - 4 (Rome)

Thurs, Sept 16 (Day 2 - Continued)

Took taxi to Piazza Navonna, walked around.

Dinner at Da Francesco - best Italian food ever.  Caprese salad, bread, chianti classico, penna all'arrabbiata, pizza margerita.  Amazing.  I think we were the only non-Italians in the restaurant.



Walked around some shops... tried to walk to Campo di Fiori but got turned around and ended back up at Piazza Navonna. 

Finally find Campo di Fiori and it was full of Italian youth drinking beer and being loud, so we just stopped for a gelato and took a taxi home.

Spent 2 hours relaxing and planning tomorrow's itinerary.

To sleep at 2 AM, Rachel up until about 3.

Fri, Sept 17 (Day 3)

Breakfast in hotel at 9:30 AM.

Taxi to Gallery Doria Pampheli, which Rick Steves describes as "an old palace packed with art", which is pretty accurate. The gallery had just opened and we had the whole place almost completely to ourselves.

Quick visit to Church of Santa Maria Minerva.

Visit Pantheon (and listened to Rick Steves' audio podcast with a mini tour).

Walk from Pantheon to the Vatican through street of shops.. mostly antiquey items.

Stop for lunch at streetside restaurant near the Vatican... shared 2 pastas.

Walk through the Vatican museum. (The Map Room was our favorite.)

Sat in the Sistine Chapel for about half an hour and listened to the entire Rick Steves podcast, which was really helpful to help us make sense of all the figures on the ceiling.  We were both pretty blown away by it.

Walked through the Basilica of St. Peter's (part of it was closed off for a mass). 

Took elevator to bottom of dome (inside the church), loved the mosaics on the walls up there.  

From there, Kevin took stairs to the top of the dome (323 steps).  Rachel waited at the bottom and hoped I didn't have a heart attack (I didn't). The walk to the top was pretty difficult - I had to stop a few times on the way up... but it was worth it for the views.

Walked through St Peters Square and got a Gatorade and a taxi home.

Rested in hotel for a while before dinner.

Dissapointing dinner at il Pomodorino near the hotel... Eggplant calzone, fettucini Pomodoro and margarita pizza.  Nothing was  good.  We got there at 8 and it was amazing that by 9 when we left, the restaurant was getting crowded with Italians.  People just kept coming in, one group after another.

So tired... ready for bed!

Sat, Sept 18 (Day 4)

Slept late til 945 am.

Breakfast in hotel 1030 am.

Walk to Piazza Navonna area. Walk around and window shop.  Stop for coffee and water.

Hanging with the big guys.

Walk back to shopping area near Spanish Steps.  Lunch at Hosteria 31.   We asked to sit outside and then the waiter got pissed off when we wanted to move inside when it started raining.  Rachel had ravioli with ricotta and spinach, I had spaghetti bolognese.  All was delicious.  We walked back to the hotel in the rain, up the Spanish Steps.

Showered and changed, took a taxi to the Great Synagogue of Rome in the Jewish Ghetto for Yom Kippur Services.

We found a bar (with wifi!)... I ordered a local beer (Birra Moretti) and a water for Rachel.  We also ordered three kinds of bruschetta - one with tomato, one with artichokes (delicious) and one with salmon (not so good).  After sweating all day, the beer tasted so good!

We walked from there through some interesting neighborhoods and lots of shops until we got back to Da Francesco, where we ate on Thursday night.  On the way, I stopped for a coffee while Rachel went in some shops, and we stopped at a little bar to look at some photos on my laptop.  I had a campari with fresh squeezed orange juice, which was delicious.

Before dinner, we stopped in a small grocery store where we got some fresh baked cookies for Rachel and a bag of small biscotti for me.  It'll probably be for the drive to Montalcino on Monday.

We waited about 40 minutes for a table at Da Francesco... standing outside and watching the Italians walk by.  So many interesting looking people and outfits.  We finally got a table inside and ordered homemade spaghetti with pepper and grated pecorino cheese (incredible), pizza with mushrooms (Rachel loved it) and I got pizza that was half plain and half with prosciutto.  All delicious.  We had a nice conversation with an older Swiss couple next to us - he's a filmmaker - mostly does video for Swiss films and TV.  We ended dinner with limoncello...  since they were served in shotglasses, Rachel attempted to drink it as a shot!  There was a little left in her glass, which she sipped.

We walked a bit, ending up at Piazza Navonna where I got another gelato and we sat and people watched for a bit before taking a taxi back to the hotel.  Another long day!

Tomorrow's plan... Travastere and relaxing at Caffe Greco (coffeeshop).