Leaving on an early train out of Sorrento, we arrived in Rome around noon. After finding a room at a local hostel and dropping off our backpacks, off we went to see our first sight of Rome. We did not intend to go any place specific that day, just wander.
Across the street and about a block from the metro station was this cathedral. Now a catholic church, it was once a Roman bath.
Inside was all pink marble. They say Michaelangelo designed the interior. You never would have guessed this building was once a Roman bath. Much of the building you could not access. In fact, some of the building is now part of the National Museum, showcasing the old Roman baths. Unluckily, we never found time to get back to the museum.
Wandering on we ran across this red carpet, running about 1/2 mile down one of the streets. They were preparing for the celebration of Rome's 140th year as capital of Italy. This was a local celebration, nothing touristy about it. Very few people spoke English. I loved it. The celebration did not start for several hours, so we wandered around, watching them get ready.
These guys were setting up the sound system, but we got to hear them warm up. If you closed your eyes and forgot you were in Italy, you would have sworn you were at the ragtime festival in Sedalia, MO.
The red carpet ran to this building with this chap all dressed up in his uniform. Never did find out what the building was.
Since the festivities did not start for a few hours, we continued our wandering. This is part of the old Roman wall. We were now outside of the original Rome city limits.
The wall continued in part for several miles on this side of town. What I loved was how they incorporated the new with the old, just using the old wall as the back of the newer buildings.
We eventually made it back to the festivities. Down the street they had people dressed for different periods of Italian history. Like this guy.
Or this peasant woman baking bread.
There were puppet shows.
Remember that empty street earlier with the red carpet? It isn't so empty anymore.
These ladies were singing and orating a ballad, but since it was in Italian, I don't know what it was about.
This was at the beginning of the red carpet. There were churches on every corner. Rome's history is over 2000 years old and although not all the buildings are dated to that era, many can be dated back to the 1500s.
On down the road we wandered and came across ancestral residence of the Barbarini family. Now it is a national gallery of famous paintings and sculpture.
Barbarini Plaza is just down the block with this famous sculpture in its center.
It was starting to rain and we noticed this sign. But it wasn't really the Hard Rock Cafe.
But it did provide a place to sit out the rain. We had a drink (you have to buy something to pay for the table), and drooled over the food (we had just eaten).
Once the rain stopped we continued on to the Spanish Steps. All around the area were local artists trying to sell their goods.
These stairs link the Piazza de Spagna to the church of Trinita de Monti. This staircase is the longest and widest in all of Europe. Built in the 1700s it linked the Spanish Bourban Embassy to the Holy See.
Looking down from the steps you can see the Piazza de Spagna and its fountain, as well as the crowded streets of Rome. And this is not a pedestrian only street, cars actually moved through them as well.
Right next to the Spanish Steps was this sign about Keats and Shelley. This was the last home of John Keats and is now a museum celebrating the lives of Keats, Shelley and Lord Byron with their manuscripts, sculpture and paintings.
The Trevi Fountain. This famous fountain has been in many movies. There are several legends about wishes and throwing coins in the fountain. The most popular is if you throw a coin in the fountain, you will return to Rome. The fountain is located on the original site of a junction of three roads where the termination of an aquaduct provided water to the city of Rome. Romans were known for building fountains at the terminus of its aquaducts. The aquaduct was destroyed by Goth beseigers in the 6th century, forcing medieval romans to draw water from wells or the Tiber River, which was also the sewer. It was in the 15th century, during the renaissance, that this fountain was restored.