Wherever I go the locals I meet believe they’ve met me before. I could be Hungarian, definitely Eastern European, Italian for sure, and northern Italian just because I’m not dark enough to be a southerner. No one ever says Australian and I guess technically they are correct. I’m a first generation Australian because of my birthplace but my parents are Italian therefore I’m Italian. Most people we meet in Italy want to speak English to me I can’t even give my Italian a workout. Good for them but not for me.
Today we have woken up fresh after an exhausting long haul flight and coming in from the cold to a whopping 29 degrees, thunderstorms and high humidity. We are in the Parco degli Aranci in the Aventine. I had to bring Peter here to see the view of St Peter’s Basilica and the stunning panoramic view that is I think, an optical illusion. The river is only just in view below the elevated gardens St Peters straight ahead and the grand white monument in the distance is Piazza Venezia, continuing on the colosseum is just out of the view but we know it’s there.
An Asian bride and her groom are having the wedding photos, very high tech photographer is using just an iPhone. We saw the trio at the Aventine keyhole. You’ve seen it in photos I’m certain, the scene through the keyhole reveals St Peter’s dome through a pine arbour. The real estate belongs to the Priory of the Knights of Malta and formerly to the Knights Templar (my favourite Knights) and according to the blurb on the table next to the door where coincidentally are rosary beads offered for €1. The Aventine technically doesn’t belong to the Italians. Ha! I say, try telling that to the Italians, but let me leave first please!
There are way many people in the garden today, too much noise, children chasing pigeons, smokers lighting up in a crowded spot, a vendor with a table laid out on the elevated lookout hoping for buyers for his sunglasses and hats and a male violinist playing to canned backing in his purple high heels.
I truly love this place but I love the peace and quiet to be found here not the extension of the hub-bub of the piazzas and around the Roman monuments. I will say this though, the orange trees are looking much better than on my previous visit and laden with fruit as well.
We met Kim and Rosie at Termini train station as agreed. Oh God, I think we killed them last night. Peter and I had already walked 20 plus kilometres, we needed to make the most of K&Rs visit to Rome. First port of call a beer at one of our local piazzas, crowded with people taking up every possible spot on the steps around the fountain. 6-7pm is drinking time, chatting, laughing and possibly talking about where they will eat that night. A view of the Colosseum from the piazza is at the end of the street. Always breathtaking!
I guess you could say we frogmarched them around the streets and lanes of Rome for 5 kms with dinner in between. I lost my way and for a split second I felt guilt and responsibility but I can assure you that is was only momentary. If you can’t get lost amongst the monuments, ruins, and charm of Rome then where on earth can you do it? Finally back at Hotel Verona by midnight, no pumpkin carriages, mice footmen or lost glass slippers involved.
We have left the Harris’s waiting for their ‘skip the line’ tour of the Colosseum, Palatine Hill and Forum, Peter and I have wend our way to a little cafe overlooking Piazza Venezia a magnificent monument built by a Venetian Cardinal who later became Pope Paul II (a job only for the wealthy) and was at one time the site of the Venetian Embassy in Rome. It’s also a monument to Vittorio Emanuel II, first King of Italy. During the 1920-40s, Piazza Venezia was the location of public speeches by the Italian Dictator Benito Mussolini to his supporters.
There’s so much to tell you but so little time, I’ll pick up where I left off tomorrow.
Celestina e Pietro, Kim e Rosa