Day 5 (December 21, 2009)   Squares


   Our last day is going to be dedicated to visit the most relevant squares in Rome and the places we still have pending from the previous days.

   Our itinerary starts at “Flaminio” metro station and ends coming back to the hotel to pick up our baggage and going to the airport to board in our return flight to home at 9:30 PM.

Route for Day 5

   the spots marked in the itinerary on the image are:

 1- Popolo Square
 2- Espagna Square
 3- Fontana di Trevi
 4- Colonna Square
 5- Sant'Ignazio Church
 6- Pantheon
 7- Navona Square
 8- Castel Sant'Angelo
 9- Cavour Square


   We must check out this morning and have no rushes for leaving the hotel so, although we start today at “Flaminio” metro station, just 4 stops from ours, we are there some minutes past 11:30 AM.

   Once out in the street we can see the gate to Villa Borghese, a large park in the city, and Popolo’s Gate takes our attention across the road. It is what remains from the ancient Augustus walls, and we must walk through it to our first square today: Piazza dei Popolo.

Gate to Villa BorguesePopolo's Gate

   The square is a large space bordered by art masterpieces. At North we have the already mentioned Popolo’s Gate and one church, at both sides there is a wall with a white fountain in the middle with statues. Left side is most beautiful, though, due to having a staircase at bottom decorated with the vegetation from the park around.

   In front stand out a couple of twin churches: Santa Maria dei Miracoli and Santa Maria in Montesanto. There is also an Egyptian obelisk in the center of the square known as “Obleisco Flaminio”.

Egyptian obelisk in Popolo's SquareTwin churches in Piazza dei Popolo

   Via del Corso is between the twin churches and is the street we take to walk down and we only leave it for following a sign to Mausoleum of Augustus.

   When we arrive to the monument we can barely see something from it and walk around until being able of taking a picture of it. It’s quite disappointing as it looks great from satellite as can be seen in the image above, at the beginning of this page, making a triangle with numbers 1 and 2.
Mausolueum of AugustusNewsstand in Via Tomacelli

   We leave the place as we’re not here for it but for what is in the opposite side: at the end of a street we can appreciate the famous Piazza di Espagna (Spain’s Square).

   This street is Via dei Condotti and is full of stores with the most famous brands of fashion. I can even take a photo with a formula 1 Ferrari’s car and we also see a Christmas tree from Mercedes.

Via del CondottiPiazza di Espa˝a

   The square Piazza di Espagna appears quite crowded. There are some fences around the fountain for unknown reasons. We can see in front of us the popular staircase up to the Church of Trinita dei Monti. There is a Christmas tree in the middle of the stairs and an obelisk behind. They’ve also set a big nativity scene.

   We climb to it to check its real size: the house can be three meters in its highest point for figures half a meter tall.

   This is an extra for visiting Rome on these dates: streets are decorated for Christmas in a way only the capital city of this worship can do.

Decorated Roman streetMercedes' Christmas tree

   We have in front another walk to the next visit, one we’ve already been at our first day, and we get into the narrow streets of the center of Rome to admire the Fontana di Trevi under a soft rain.
Fontana di Trevi

   Once in this city center the visits are coming following each other, we immediately reach Sant’Ignazio Church, which fašade we already saw that first day, but today we’re going inside to be amazed by its beautiful painted ceilings, Sistine Chapel style.

Fašade of Sant’Ignazio ChurchInterior of Sant’Ignazio Church

   A magnificent interior which cannot be guessed from the fašade integrated in the buildings.

   Some steps from it the short distance between the walls at boths sides of the streets is broken by a huge open space which corresponds to two squares, one besides the other: Piazza Colonna and Piazza di Motecitorio.

   Piazza Colonna (Column’s Square) has the beautiful column raising the statue of Adrianus to the sky and Piazza di Montecitorio has an obelisk in front of Montecitorio Palace, which gives its name to the square.

Adrianus ColumnMontecitorio Square

   Our next short walk through the narrowest streets of this city takes us to the Pantheon.

   The old buildings bordering this square are just the environment for the classic beauty of the Pantheon, a building from Augustus period appearing incredibly complete. It really looks older than the fountain in the square with another more obelisk and even the cobbles making the floor of all this area of Rome.

In front of the PantheonInside the Pantheon

   The interior gets light from a circled hole in the ceiling which is letting fall intermittently the small rain drops keep falling during the whole day. It is beautiful inside, although of a different kind than the churches and basilicas we’ve been visiting along this travel. A more sober kind of it.

   Another walk on these paving streets takes us to Navona Square which, as it is located where the ancient Roman Hippodrome where the chariot races took place, is shaped long and narrow. We can see the fountains and the reiterated obelisk, but now is also occupied by a Christmas market and a festival.

Navona SquareNavona Square

Navona Square

Navona Square

   It’s some minutes to 2 PM and we should be choosing a place for lunching. There are a lot of them in this square but I want to finish with our list of squares with one is just some meters down here where there is always a market: Campo di Fiori.

   There we find the market is closing at this moment and we can then label our list of visits as completed. So we end getting into a restaurant in Piazza Farnese to rest for a while from hours of walk.

Campo di FioriFarnese Square

   With all our energies back we can start the return trip. It takes us North to the river close to the known Castel Sant’Angelo. We reach it by using the bridge one more time.

Castel Sant'AngeloCastel Sant'Angelo

   We enjoy the beauty of this bridge and the views from it and go right of the Castel to Cavour Square, where this walk must end.

   It’s 5 PM and we’re looking for the transfer to the hotel just as the driver explained to us last Friday, but we are finally using our plan B: taking bus 990 from this place to our hotel.

   It’s a long wait, but we are enjoyed the strange behavior of the flocks of birds covering the sky. It looks like if they were in a team dance competition in this place. I had never seen something like this and I record this video as testimony of it:

   When we are in the bus we’re aware this is the end of our Roman adventure as we’re in the first step of our return trip to home. The next is taking our baggage from the hotel, do that long metro trip to Anagnina and, from there, a bus will take us to the airport.

   Everything goes fine so far, but at the other side of the security control we find the chaos: there are several delayed flights, -some over 12 hours of delay - and the place is crowded with people lying at floor. When I see our flight is delayed too I ask to the policemen in the check for my chances of going out to the street for a cigarette. I’m allowed to go out and even to coming back to my boarding gate with any check here.

   Finally we leave with 2 hours of delay and thankful, as some of the flights with more delay time accumulated were finally cancelled.