Even though I was in Rome for a team meetup, we had a free day on the Friday. I took a train to the central station in Rome with one of my colleagues, with the intention to go visit some of the attractions we’d read about on foot.
We were happy to see the various sites from the outside. We didn’t want to spend our day waiting in lines. Our first stop was the Colosseum.
As you can imagine, it’s a pretty popular tourist destination. One of our colleagues mentioned that it isn’t really worthwhile waiting in lines to see the inside so I took some photos of the outside instead.
From there we walked towards the Altare della Patria, via a series of ruins. There was some work being undertaken along the route so the pedestrian walkways were pretty busy. The ruins are pretty spectacular in themselves. I just kept thinking that they’re almost scaled up versions of the smaller ruins we’ve seen here in Israel (yup, the Romans left their mark here too).
The Altare della Patria is a pretty spectacular structure. It’s pretty over-the-top, and apparently locals refer to it as the “Typewriter”.
It’s a little difficult to get a sense of the scale of the building from the photos, but it’s really big.
At that point in the day, it was time for lunch. We walked for a little bit to move out of the overpriced tourist zone, and settled for a small cafe in an alley somewhere nearby. I definitely achieved my goal of eating pizza in Rome, and the pizza I had was pretty good.
As much as I enjoyed the ancient remnants of the Roman Empire, I think the blended modern-ancient architecture of modern Rome appeals to me more. We walked in the rough direction of the Pantheon through narrow streets. I loved walking through those streets, peering down narrower alleys. This stroll was a real highlight of the trip for me.
I was surprised when we arrived at the Piazza Navona. After walking through these narrow roads, this huge square suddenly opened before us.
It’s pretty much what you expect when you think about some European public square, complete with ornate fountains, and cafes along the edges. I really like the space, although I don’t feel like my photos quite do the space justice.
From there, we made our way to our hotel, but not before stopping off at popular Gelato spot called Frigidarium. We were told that this is the place to get Gelato. We weren’t the only ones who heard this.
The Gelato was good, sure, and it was worth the visit. I think I agree with my colleague that the Gelato spot near our hotel was just as good, if not better. Still, if you’re in the area, I can recommend it.
It was a great way to spend the day, and get to know Rome a little better. It’s certainly my favourite way to explore a new city.
You can find more, higher resolution photos from the day here.