I have only shared a snippet of the last couple of days in Rome (Secret Haven in Rome) so in this letter I just want to chat about all of the things I’ve done over the weekend. I’ve discovered so many new great places that I want to recommend!
Right next to the Roman Forum and not far from the main sights of the Colosseum and the Pantheon sits this little gem and its accompaniments of ruins and piazzas. This open air theatre was actually built before the Colosseum and uses the classical Roman Theatre architecture which combines structural arches with decorative columns. The area around the theatre is a pleasant place to spend some time in, and being just by the river there are some beautiful views to see. It also feels very open compared to the winding streets and alleys of the central city.
San Nicola in Carcere
This is a small church around the corner from the theatre and is well worth a look. It actually has a really interesting architectural background which you might notice from the seemingly random columns that run along the central nave. There are plain and fluted ones that were gathered from different parts of the world to show the wealth of the church. The ornamentation within the church is also really stunning.
Victims of the Holocaust Remembered
Around the corner from the Teatro Marcello you will come to the Jewish Guetto. This area is really interesting and is lovely to walk around, but I want to tell you about one thing in particular. If you walk down Via della Reginella, look down. Amongst the typical cobbles of Rome you can find a few gold plated ones. These are a subtle memorial to the Roman Jewish victims of the holocaust. I thought this was a lovely tribute and was glad I was told about it, because I never would’ve spotted them. I like how the memorial is woven into everyday life where locals walk every day and tourists know little about it. At the end of the street is the Fontana delle Tartarughe, a lovely renaissance fountain with figures of turtles. It’s a nice place to stop.
This is where we began our walk around Rome with our Scholar. I never even knew this existed but it is a stunning place and very central! It’s just behind and above the big white palace, Alter of the Fatheland, and also looks over the Roman Forum. It’s also only a short walk from the Teatro Marcello. It’s a small square surrounded by beautiful buildings with fantastic views to various parts of Rome. Walking up the hill is worth it.
On Sunday we were lucky enough to be given a tour of some architectural sites in Rome by a Rome Scholar who our tutor had flown out for us. It was such a treat and his immense knowledge on the city was fantastic. I never would have known many of these places existed without him.
South of the River Tiber
This isn’t one particular place or building, but I just really enjoyed walked around this area. The streets are really pretty and there are some lovely piazzas to spend time in that are far less busy that those further north.
Parrocchia Santa Maria in Vallicella
This church is truly magnificent. I feel like I say that about all of them, but I really loved this one. It’s pure grandeur and elegance was captivating, especially how the light falls through the building and dances across the pews. Beautiful – go and see it for yourself!
As we are designing a library, our tutor decided to take us to Biblioteca Angelica, a rare books library within the tiny piazza of St Augustine, right next to his church. It has a beautifully simple and silent interior full of ancient volumes and maps of Italy. It’s a place of study so it’s important tourists are respectful and keep loud photos to a minimum, but I managed to take a few. If you’re passing, it’s a nice building to take a look in.
Unfortunately, I do not have any photos of this lovely getato shop, or the wonderful ice cream that comes from it. But I will tell you about it anyway. I’ve now had this getato twice and I will be returning today – possibly to try the sorbet – and it is amazing. I have tried many gelatos in my time and this is right up there. Especially because it’s such good value. At the cheapest you can get a 2€ cone or cup which is 2 generous scoops of gelato (you can choose 2 flavours or the same one). The portions are very good and I challenge you to find 2€ gelato elsewhere! They also ask you if you want it dipped in chocolate or cream, and I’ve had mine dipped in white chocolate both times and it is amazing. The chocolate freezes immediately and stops drippage of the ice cream! I can’t believe I’ve written so much about ice cream….
This is one of my favourite Piazzas for many reasons. For one, it is very beautiful. It is unique in it’s shape where the buildings curved around the corners. The colours of the typical Roman apartment blocks contrast with the Borromini designed monumental church in the centre. I sat here for lunch yesterday watching the hundreds of tourists walk by. I like people watching and there is no better place than here. It’s strangely peaceful sitting quietly amongst the mayhem of Rome.
Piazza del Quirinale Sunset
After a long day of walking, I rounded off Saturday sitting and reading in this charming Piazza and watching the sun slowly drop behind Rome. St Peter’s stood proudly as the sky darkened around it. Quite a relaxing end to the day.
I hope you have enjoyed this letter and if you visit Rome I hope it’s useful! Last day in this magnificent city today so I will make the most of it!