Italian Photo Explosion 3

Days five and six of my trip to Rome. Day five was a Monday, when everything is closed, so we took a train 45 minutes northeast to a little beach town called Santa Marinella. It was SUCH a good idea. (Props to Michelle.) Perhaps I haven’t explained before that I love, love, love the beach. We got off the train and I just kept taking deep breaths because the air smelled so good. Jessica told me I visibly relaxed. So, it’s official — I belong near the water.

The Italian countryside from the train window.

The first spot we found was a rocky alcove near some private homes.

I love this picture of Michelle and Jessica enjoying the view.

Then we walked around to the public beach. The sand is coarser than the TX beach. And the seaweed looks like strips of tissue paper rather than clumps of weeds.

That water was cold! If I’d brought a suit or a change of clothes, I totally would have jumped in.

Only a few people were out. The little beach bar at the end of the walkway was open, and we enjoyed some gelato before we left.

Sailboat beyond the water break.

We went back to Rome, cleaned up and were in the mood for seafood for dinner, which was delicious. Walking back to the metro, we stumbled across a proper Italian grocery store, which was a comfort to me because whenever I go anywhere I picture myself living in that place and my first priority is finding the grocery store. 🙂 Then we got a little turned around looking for a Sicilian bakery that Michelle wanted to find, but she found it the next morning before Jessica and I woke up:

Cannoli for breakfast!

Statue of Giordano Bruno in Campo di Fiori at the spot where he was burned at the stake for being a heretic. (Earth revolving around the sun? BURN HIM!) The piazza has a farmer’s market in the mornings and is a hopping place to eat and hang out in the evenings.

The market. I really liked this part of Rome, which was also near Piazza Navona and the Pantheon.

Largo di Torre Argentina, with the ruins of four Republican Roman temples and the Theatre of Pompey, where Julius Caesar was killed.

Largo Argentina is also home to a cat sanctuary, and as we ate lunch in the little seating area next to these ruins, we saw several “gatti di Roma” roaming in and around the area. You can even buy “Gatti di Roma” calendars as souvenirs. (I did not.)

This is what almost all the roads and walkways look like. A bunch of people, including us, are eating lunch bought from the grocery store next door.

Despar’s (the grocery store) delivery truck, parked in front of the store’s entrance. Also a general example of Roman parking.

Our last stop of the trip: Galleria Borghese, former estate of Cardinal Borghese nestled in a beautiful garden and home to Bernini sculptures that blew my mind. Unfortunately, no cameras were allowed inside.

The villa faces the park, which was full of tourists and evening joggers.

Villa Borghese is just outside the ancient city walls.

When I go back to Rome (and I will, I will!), I’ll stay in either the Campo di Fiori/Piazza Navona/Pantheon or Borghese/Piazza Barberini/Spanish Steps areas. They are the most beautiful by far. Then I’ll make a reservation to see Galleria Borghese again. Then I’ll want to see all the things I missed on this trip: The Appian Way, catacombs, Trastevere, mausoleums, more of the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill… and I’ll want to do that night walk again. That was lovely. I’d also really love to see Florence, Venice, Verona and just Tuscany in general one day. Italy, I’m nowhere near over you!

Oh yeah, check out my souvenirs:

Venetian glass earrings.

Ceramic wall clock.

This trip was absolutely a dream come true. Once I finish paying for it, I’ll be ready to start planning the next.

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