Rome: sunrises, spaces and shutters

Letter 68

Observations from my first day on my second visit to Rome.

At 4:30 this morning I left my top floor Edinburgh flat to head to Rome. By 12:30 this afternoon I had witnessed a stunning sunrise over Scotland, had a blissful sleep thanks to my travel pillow and stepped out of Rome’s monumental Termini Station in the beautiful sunshine and 15° heat.

Sunrise from the plane

We dropped our bags off at the hostel (specifically in its garden), and went for food. Thanks to a great recommendation from a lady who works at the hostel, we went to eat right across the road. The food was absolutely divine and the price was great! Around 7€ for a main – and we had 10% off with our hostel. Our hostel is called Freedom Traveller and here is their page on The restaurant, directly across the street, is called La Famiglia and we really love it. Here is their tripadvisor page. It’s mostly Italians who eat here as there’s no one outside calling tourists in, the staff are very friendly and the food is good and well priced. Can’t go wrong – and it’s right by the Termini.

Food at La Famiglia

We then checked into our hostel, thus retrieving our bags from their garden, and set out to do some exploring. Both myself and my travel buddy, a friend also studying architecture, have been to Rome before so we just went out to wander. We headed for the Piazza della Republica and on the way came across some ruins, which is rather common in Rome. When we arrived at the piazza we were struck by it’s scale and grandeur. The white colonnaded facades sweep around the piazza opposite the red brick tumbling concave facade of the Santa Maria degli Angeli e dei Martiri. From the outside this church is unimpressive, but something drew me inside. I’m glad it did. It was completely breathtaking and one of the most beautiful churches I have ever been in.

Piazza della Republica
Santa Maria Degli Angeli e dei Martiri

Taking the exit between the white arms of the piazza we walked towards Piazza di Trevi. After passing through some peaceful gardens and spotting St Andrew’s Church of Scotland we arrived at another piazza. It caught our attention not only for it’s size and emptiness or it’s elaborate architecture, but mainly for it’s view all the way across Rome to St Peters Basilica. This space is called the Piazza del Quirinale and is a must visit!

Piazza del Quirinale
St Peter’s and rooftops
Build up of Rome

We finally made it to the Trevi Fountain, a monument I failed to visit when I was last in Rome. It did not disappoint. Despite the crowds it was incredible to see the fountain and watch as the carvings pour water into the blue pool below. It truly is a work of genius. We decided to head over to the Pantheon because as architecture students, you cannot ever pass up an opportunity to spend time in this building. It was just as spellbinding as I remembered. It’s sheer volume and technical architectural elements inside make it a sight to behold. I really enjoy being in the piazza in general, which is a lovely space full of people and voices and beautiful buildings.

Trevi Fountain
The Pantheon’s Piazza
The Pantheon

Our last stop of the day was to be the Spanish steps, another landmark I had missed on my previous trip. However, hunger loomed once again and food became the priority. In our desperate search for the perfect nibble we found some quaint streets, unique shops and interesting architecture. Rome can always surprise you.

Winding Alleys
Blue Shutters
Ageing Architecture
Alas, the Spanish Steps

To finish our long day, which you may remember began at 4:30am, we had a tutorial on the steps. 100-odd architecture students and 10 slightly tipsy tutors amongst countless tourists was a fun mix. A few of us went to grab some food, again at La Famiglia, and then I collapsed on my bed from a mix of tiredness, foot ache and a rather large food baby.

Can’t wait for another day.

From Lou

About Me

PS. You can read what I’ve written on Rome from my previous trip: Remembering Rome.

If you’re really keen you can read all about this trip in Italy: Upcoming Italian Adventure (now ‘current Italian adventure’).

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