Walking out of Rome Termini station, we looked for the white city cabs and took one to Piazza Navona where our hotel was located. The white city taxis running on meter were reasonable and we used them frequently in Rome. The driver dropped us off at the square and said it was nearby – guess he did not want to go into alleyway. Using GPS, we found our way to Navona Gallery & Garden Suites, in an old 16th century building, part of which was being used as a hotel.
Outside the building was a bustling street filled with restaurants and cafés including one that was in the same building facing the street. But once you entered the main giant wood doors, all was quiet on the inside. In fact this place was one of my favorites through the trip. On entering there was a courtyard and beyond that another set of metal gates with key entry leading to another inner courtyard. Our room , named Da Vinci 1, opened into this inner courtyard and it was an oasis of peace from the craziness of Rome. The only noise issue we had here were the sea gulls flying above the courtyard. Staff was available only during the day at this place although cell numbers were given for emergencies. The place was well maintained, the room was spacious and comfortable and the bathroom modern. The location was excellent and walking distance to many sights in Rome.
After settling in, we headed out to see Rome and to the Pantheon – there was a line of people here but the line moved quite fast and we were able to enter soon. Pantheon with its majestic dome now functions as a church. It was built in 125 AD or so and is the best preserved of ancient Rome buildings.
We also visited a beautiful random church that we passed by and while writing this, it was bothering me that I could not remember its name and this is one of the reasons why I am writing this down. But our detective daughter used google maps and our pictures and found the church – “San Marcello al Corso” – this small church probably won’t be in any guide book but we were glad we visited and prayed. Rome has many beautiful churches but sadly not that many true worshippers. I think we are blessed – our daughters are easy travel companions, not fussy and enthusiastic about seeing new places. Our younger daughter was following maps along with my husband while finding places.
We had time to see the Spanish steps and La barcaccia, a fountain shaped like a boat in Piazza di Spagna, just below the Spanish Steps. We wanted to visit Rome’s most famous fountain – the Trevi Fountain. As we walked closer to it, we could hear the sound of water getting louder and when you finally set your eyes on it, it is just awesome. Huge crowds of people were milling all around the fountain and it felt like all the worlds tourists were in Rome. It required some maneuvering and waiting for an opening before we could take some pictures since the crowds were huge. Of course we threw a coin in the fountain so that we can return to Rome some day.
From a distance, we saw the national monument Vittorio Emanuele II which is an enormous white marble monument that dominates Piazza Venezia, built as a tribute to the first king of a united Italy. Between Pompeii and Rome we had walked more than 9 miles that day and we were exhausted. Dinner was enjoyable at Cul De Sac, a restaurant right outside our hotel. It had been a tiring but beautiful introduction to the eternal city.