Today we had quite a few things that we wanted to do, we wanted to see the market and the protestant cemetery and we also decided that it would be nice just to wander around Rome city centre. We weren’t far from it (this was shown as we even walked home from the centre). We didn’t plan on seeing any of the ‘main’ attractions that day. Aware that we would most likely be going into churches we decided to dress appropriately and not chance being able to go into them (most churches in the centre of Rome don’t observe a strict dress code but others do, to be on the safe side we made sure our knees and shoulders were covered up).
First thing in the morning we checked out the local food market – we got a large selection of vegetables for making our food. Our plans were to spend the next day out in Ostia and to get food to take with us from the café around the corner – by chance we saw a small cool bag on a stall and snatched it up. Having had a cool bag with us all week I would highly recommend it to any going to Rome. We froze half full bottles of water and then filled them up to take with us – the bag meant that the ice lasted hours and hours it instantly chilled the water from the fountains we filled our bottles with, the ice and the cool bag also worked like a fridge to keep food cold.
The market was bustling – it was only in a small market hall (tiny compared to what we know over here) but what fascinated me was that it was built in a typically roman style. I don’t mean there were columns lining the paths – I mean that, though it was a more modern building it was built as one large square with an open courtyard or atrium in the centre complete with a square basin to collect any rainwater. The fruit and veg stalls were piled high there were mountains of tomatoes and so many different charities to chose from – we didn’t buy any meat we just had veggie meals but they were so yummy our whole shopping was less than €5. The only thing that cost a bit as the cool bag at €7 but we definitely got our money’s worth out of it! One thing I really loved about Italy was being able to get courgette flowers everywhere – I have only seen them a handful of time in the UK and I adore them just so tasty!! Here is a picture of our market haul minus the cool bag as it was in use – check out the size if the peppers!
Once we had done our shopping at the market and put it away we went on the metro into Rome we didn’t take a map with us as we wanted to walk through and see as much of the city as possible without being reliant on watching where we were going. We had the use of our phones any way so we weren’t exactly ever going to be too lost!
The centre of Rome was amazing. Bustling with tourists at the main attractions, the Pantheon is so thick with people your only option is to weave sideways through the throngs. Despite the crowds Rome has a charming quality to it – if you feel brave enough you can enter the maze of narrow streets twisting and turning connecting the piazzas, by doing this you wander through beautiful, paved winding streets that appear to have emerged sleepily out of a picture book complete with flowers cascading down from open shuttered window sills. These streets are quiet and mystical, walking among them you feel transported back in time, the sun stares down from above, it’s a pleasant heat in the shade of the buildings and then suddenly there’s an elaborately carved fountain. It’s not large, but it is as awe inspiring as the Pantheon, its aura is of beauty and age.
One church we went in was Saint Agnes – a fifteenth century baroque church – again we weren’t allowed to take pictures but I hope you’ll believe me when I tell you it was stunning every inch was marbled and painted with such intricate detail – it was all I could do to just sit there in awe taking it all in simply breathtaking and to think that people in ages past have create such beautiful things all by hand it’s mind blowing.
We ate food in the centre of Rome around a market that was happening – needless to say they food was more expensive in the heart of the city but the frozen cocktails we had were strong delicious and icy so they thoroughly made up for it and were a reasonable price of €7 each could have sat and drank even more of them but we decided to brave the heat once more and continue our explorations and also find some gelato.
After a full day of walking around and knowing we would be out for a full day again in the morning we decided to head in earlier than the last day, it was late afternoon when we started walking back home and from the centre it took us only half an hour. Quite by chance the protestant cemetery was right by our apartment and being a literature graduate and a bit of a geek – we decided to have a wander through the grounds there – honestly it was a bit of a pilgrimage for me. The graves of Percy Bysshe Shelley, Edward Trelawny and John Keats are there.
The Romantic era was by far my favourite (so much so that I chose to study it more in depth and devoted my final years to it in university) and these are some of the biggest name in the business (so to speak) even if you haven’t heard of or don’t know what Romanticism is or the Byron-Shelley circle you’ve probably heard of Shelley and Keats. It’s the closest I have ever been to poetic genius and I rather liked it (even if that does sound morbid). I also find it so heartwarming and sweet that they aren’t separated from there best friends and are laid to rest with them – it goes a long way to creating a form of happy ending for them.
The graveyard is also home to a pyramid (yes a pyramid in Rome) a spectacle in itself – no it wasn’t for an emperor but a first magistrate. It’s currently being cleaned and we couldn’t get a closer look but I am awestruck at the scale of what the romans did. It’s not on the same scale as Egyptian pyramids but the fact that it is there is still phenomenal (the pyramid os in the picture above as well).
The next thing on our agenda was to open a bottle of wine (well Prosecco) and start cooking!
We made a tomato and red wine sauce with mixed veggies and pasta. To make it prepare whatever. Veg you want to go in the sauce and chop some garlic, in a pan place onion and garlic and let that fry for a bit to release flavour while you chop some tomatoes (I skinned mine first but you don’t have to) add these to the pan along with a glass of red wine stir and let simmer away, chop some basil and add that to the pan followed by the veg. Add more wine garlic basil and pepper as you go along to your own tastes and when the veg is starting to soften up cook your pasta and they would be done about the same time 🙂 this was a really easy and yummy dish to make we made so much and were expecting left overs but there wasn’t any, we wolfed it all down!
After eating we decided to head out for a drink to one of the places that had been recommended to us during the day I had always been very busy but at night it seemed quiet. We tried it any way, the staff were really attentive and bough there were only a few people there the atmosphere wasn’t an awkward silence as can sometimes happen it was relaxed with a gentle hum of voices in the background.
We sat outside and though you were on a corner by the main road you didn’t notice it, the seating area was surrounded by a bush and little trees which created the feeling of being in a small secluded candlelit garden – it was a really romantic setting given we were the only two outside we drank a few bottles of very good wine and then headed back to bed.