Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Piazza Navona, Pantheon and Spanish Steps

On the second day of Christmas my true love gave to me...

Oh wait, that's not what I was going for...

On the second day of my trip to Rome (but our first day of the itinerary) we went to:

Campo de Foiri

This was a market that had glass, scarves,  jewelry, souvenirs, meats, cheeses, dried fruits, nuts and veggies of all kinds.  One of the women on the trip offered a book or a tote bag as a gift to each one of us.  I got a book, as I brought along my own trusty bag for the trip.  The bags were purchased at this market and I got the book at the Pantheon later in the day.

The veggies were so interesting.  For the most part, they were all recognizable but some were different colors or larger or smaller than I was used to.  The artichokes were an incredible purple.  We were traveling for the rest of the day on the bus, so I didn't buy anything that needed to be refrigerated, but I did buy a bag of nuts (walnuts, almonds and something else...hmmm, I can't remember what the other one was.  Well anyway, they were very good and they lasted me the whole week) and I bought a small link of hard salami. 

Piazza Navona

Piazza Navona is a very popular square in Rome that boasts three beautiful fountains, many open air cafes and artists showing their paintings, drawings and watercolors. 

On the day that we were there a troupe of players showed up to perform on the stage in the plaza.  We had to leave before they had officially begun, but I did get to see the musicians practicing.

My very favorite thing about Piazza Navona was that these four locals were there.  You could just tell that they were regulars to that bench and that they sat there to catch up with each others lives as well as to witness the world go by. 


From Piazza Navona we walked to the Pantheon.  As we gathered to get our instructions, I noticed this incredible looking shadow on the wall.  I was just giddy with excitement, I couldn't believe my luck to get both an interesting shadow and a little picture of a castle!  I waited until Lori finished giving us our instructions before I took some shots of it.  (but it was difficult to wait!)

Ahead is the Pantheon.  Oh my goodness I was so excited to see this place.  I knew it was a beautiful and unique building but when I walked in I was overwhelmed with how incredible it really was in person.  This was one of my favorite buildings when I studied Roman art and architecture in college.

The ceiling of the entry was pitch black, but thanks to a little photoshop I was able to lighten the shadows so that the interesting details could be seen. 

There was a man standing next to this guest book and he motioned for us to sign.  I was so excited that I took a picture of it :)  Funny thing is that just two or three people after I signed in, the man folded up the book, put it away and closed up the little section.  I think only three of us from our group got to sign in. 

The oculus.   The oculus of the Pantheon is open to the elements and the day before, when we had arrived in Rome and it was snowing, it snowed inside the Pantheon.  When I was looking at the light shining on the dome it was perfectly round, but when I took the picture it doesn't look round.    Maybe I was dreaming or blinded by the bright light but I was surprised when the shadows made the beam of light less than round. 

There are some portions of the Pantheon that are just so gorgeous that it looks like it could be a brand new building and other parts, just feet away, that had seen better days (below.)  I do love to see the fancy ornate bits, but I have to admit, the cracked and plundered parts were so very interesting. 

All around the Pantheon there were little altars and statues.  This was one of my favorites.

After the Pantheon we had lunch and then boarded our bus to take us to the ....

Spanish Steps

Before I even got a chance to see the Spanish Steps I had an accident.  I was walking down the sidewalk with everyone else and as I stepped off the sidewalk at one point, I found myself crumpled on the ground with a dozen faces all looking at me asking me if I was OK.  (My travel mates were so kind!)  I honestly had no idea what happened, but fortunately I scraped up only one knee and landed on my butt.  I didn't fall forward, thankfully.  Had that happened I may have broken my camera and banged up both knees and possibly my hands and arms.  I would have sobbed giant huge tears if my camera would have gotten broken!   Somehow my right foot slipped out from underneath me (the roadway in this spot was wet) and I literally just sat down.  It was a pretty icky wound and it was throbbing pretty good, but I hobbled to a Farmacia (Pharmacy) and got a package of large bandages and some antibiotic cream and got myself cleaned up and bandaged.

I sat here for quite a little while - the Spanish Steps.  I'd heard about these steps, but I had no idea that they'd be so crowded!  It was a great place to people watch.  I really did enjoy it.  Because I wanted to make sure that I got the most out of my trip, I did hobble up to the first balcony.  My knee wasn't too terribly painful yet and I knew it would be a great place to take some photos, so I just took my time and walked up there.  I wanted to go all the way to the top, but I didn't want to push my luck.

Via Condotti

 Standing on that balcony on the Spanish Steps I could see Via Condotti.  That's the street between those two buildings.  This is the street where nearly all of my travelmates had gone window shopping.  It was also the location of the leather store where Lori had made purchases before and recommended the shop to us.   I had planned on going with them to see if maybe there was a leather bag just calling my name, but the fall saved me a few hundred dollars :)  I decided to rest on the steps.

So what's the big deal about this street?  This street is where all of the big names have shops.  Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Prada, etc.  These places are so exclusive that you can't just walk in and browse, I understand that the doors are locked and if you look like a buyer you are allowed in. 

One thing that truly fascinated me was the dress of the Europeans. They were, for the most part, dressed in black from head to toe.    You can tell who the tourists are - they are the ones that are wearing color!  Be sure and click on the pictures to enlarge, because it is truly interesting.  On this particular day I was wearing my black jacket and brown pants, so I nearly fit in.  The rest of the trip I tended to wear my red windbreaker  - it might have been just because  of the photo above.  I felt the need to look like a tourist :)

We continued our journey by boarding the bus and seeing several more locations of interest.  Most of those were drive-bys.  We saw so many places that I don't even have photos for all of them.  It's hard to get good shots on the bus and to also pay attention to what you are seeing.

So that was my second day in Rome.

One of the girls, Karen, got this shot of me.  This was later in the week, but it was cute, so I thought I'd post it.  The self portrait didn't turn out, so it was immediately deleted.  I think I got several chins and half of my face.  Definitely not a keeper!

Oh, it just occurred to me that all of these photos are giant. Goodness, I hope they don't take too long to load. I'll edit them during the daylight hours and make them a bit smaller so they don't take up so much memory to load.

I hope you have a terrific day!


Loria said...

oh Kristin, I LOVE LOVE your commentary of day 2. I'm sorry you fell, but I'm glad you weren't hurt too bad. Funny thing about the locals wearing all black - I enlarged the photo from the balcony of the spanish steps and found several romans who you should have brought home LOL.

Just Breathe said...

No they didn't take long to load.
I so much want to see these things in person. Wonderful pictures. I would love to shop in those better stores :) Thank you so much for taking me along on your trip. I can never get a self photo of me for all those same reasons!!!

jennifer said...

I am in AWE of your photos. I know you had plenty of inspiration to work with but WOW they are so good! The shadow pic is my favorite (except for the picture of you - that is just too cute).

Leigh of Bloggeritaville said...

I.Am.Giddy. With reading all ab your trip! LOVE the pictures! GIDDY I tell you!!!!