Thank you for your lovely comments about my Rome trip. It was a fantastic long weekend. Three of us went to visit our friend Alex who now lives in a stone cottage on a hillside outside Rome with her man, their tiny daughter, and the bump that is her second daughter coming along.
I've never been to Rome before and I loved it. I didn't see any men quite as hot as the ones below, and nowhere near as hot as the firemen Alex found for us last time I visited her there. (That's a whole 'nother post, and a photograph that I have to find for your enjoyment.)
We were stunned by the dome of the Pantheon. It's 2000 years old but looks completely modern. It reminded me of Sir Norman Foster's Reichstag dome. Except he built that 10 years ago.
We had breakfast in the square overlooking the Pantheon on the last morning. A very nice view to admire over your cappuccino. And great views of passing Romans in their heavy camel wool coats and furs.
There were so many lush rooftop gardens peeking down at us. They made me think of the scene at the beginning of La Dolce Vita, with the sunbathing beauties on the roof being catcalled by Paparazzo and Marcello.
And of course, the Trevi Fountain. It was hard trying to imagine Sylvia and Marcello splashing around in the fountain with the rain, cold and HORDES of tourists. I dread to think what it is like in summer if it's so busy in January!
There were green parrots in the trees over the Tiber.
And a more traditional view of the river.
The clouded blue skies mirrored the frescoed basilicas.
I loved Circus Maximus. It's where the chariot races took place and is now an eerie, unused space right in the centre of town, the shape of the track still marked out with the pines and cypress trees. We walked along it, with a few lone joggers, imagining the racket of the ancient races.
The Colosseum was a marvel. It was very easy to imagine the games, gladiators and the noise.
Trastavere was a charming district, home to Santa Maria, one of the oldest churches in Rome and winding medieval streets of trattorias, perfumeries, cats on cars and shopkeepers brushing the rain at your feet.
We had some fantastic meals (Saltimbocca alla Romana followed by pistachio gelato with a caramel and grappa sauce anyone?) but my favourite place was Sant'Eustachio Il Caffè, a typical bustling Roman coffee shop that we found. We found it by accident, but it is apparently rated as one of Rome's two best coffee shops. More about that tomorrow.
(Psst: Alice at Quaint Living happened to be in Rome at the same time as me! Check out her blog over the next few days if you'd like to see more photographs of Rome, she is a brilliant photographer.)