Thursday, September 17, 2009

Roma day 1

Long post from my Milan experiences below, you will need to be IRON to get through them all, I warn ye.

Anyway, here I am in Rome. Journey was fine, even walked to and from the train stations in Rome and Florence with all my bags, getting used to it I think. And my hostel has a lift! Me likey! I'm on the 4th floor sharing with a Spanish girl who speaks hardly a word of English, quite refreshing!

Anyway, after the train today I went a-wandering, in the wrong direction at first - trust me - so after about half an hour doubling back on myself, managed to go about 5 minutes' worth of the right direction... Anyway, walked down to Trajan's Forum, complete with column, past the old Roman forum (very ruin-y), past the Colosseum (couldn't be bothered going in), and then to San Clemente church, which is a 12th century church (with Massolino frescoes, no less) on top of a 4th century church, which is on top of a Temple of Mithras and an old Roman house. It's quite awe-inspiring working your way down through the layers. Cyril, of Cyril and Methodius fame (also known as the converter of the Slavs and inventor of the Cyrillic alphabet) is buried here, which I didn't know, and there are lots of old 11th and even 8th century frescoes down there. Many parts of it are dark and silent (on a good day, I suppose), except for the sound of running water which pervades the place. I later traced it to its source (intrepid explorer that I am...) there is a spring through the walls and running under the old Roman house. I can't really express it, but this ingenuity and insight into peoople's lifestyles so long ago really touched me. You can still see their old herringbone floors, the arched doorways a little bit higher than my height, and that spring, which they must have drank and washed and cooked from. It really felt like you were getting a glimpse into someone's life, even if it was literally buried by the detritus of centuries.

Later on, I walked through a park past the Domus Aureus (again, not much to see) and up to Santa Maria Maggiore, which, from what I can tell, is the burial place of a lot of Popes. And if not their burial place, there are at least a lot of memorials to them, and the usual fancy frescoes and altars and crucifixes and all the rest.

Had a fancy dinner tonight - Lonely Planet needs to be informed that the restaurant they guided me to does *not* feature mains from 5 euros, more like double that at the cheapest, but at least it felt like quality food in an upmarket wine bar, not overpriced tourist tat. Had a nice glass of rose and a juniper duck breast, which was nicely flavoured but a bit raw for me in about half of it, so I left a lot. The stuffed zucchini flower it came with, though, was absolutely delicious! This is apparently a traditional Roman dish, and I suppose the stuffing varies, but whatever this was gets top marks.

Tomorrow I'm up bright and early and off to the Vatican for a full day I suspect!

1 comment:

  1. Lovely descriptions, thanks.

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