Thursday, May 05, 2011

Rome, day 5 - Byron's caffè and the Trevi Fountain

The house where Keats died in 1821 is now a museum.

Thought it might be too much for the others, so I didn't whine for a visit; we went to the Caffè Greco instead, which is the oldest caffè in Rome.

And didn't we pay through the nose for it. Two coffees, a mineral water and an orange juice came to almost as much as lunch did, a little later that day! I wouldn’t have minded so much if the coffee had been as good as we had elsewhere, or if the waiters had actually smiled. (And charging extra for the toilet after that kind of pricing is a bit cheeky.) Still. I guess it's not every day you have a coffee where Byron and Goethe used to hang out.

From there we walked down the Via Condotti to the Trevi Fountain, which was gorgeous and much bigger than we expected.

We threw coins over our shoulders like good little tourists.

The fountain lies at the end of Agrippa's Acqua Vergine (built 19 BC and allegedly has Rome's sweetest water). A new fountain was built in 1453 (the money came from a tax on wine); this one was built 1732-62 by Salvi, who won a competition to design it, but died partway through because the damp working conditions affected his lungs.

We stopped for lunch in a nearby caffè - cacio e pepe for me again.

Then we wandered over to the Victor Emmanuel monument, this time actually going up the steps to see the tomb of the unknown soldier. (The guards got very cross and blew their whistles at tourists who ignored the signs and tried to sit down.)

You can't see it in the photograph, but the urns contain lit flames.

From there we walked to San Pietro in Vinculi.

The chains allegedly used to bind St Peter while he was in the Mamertine prison are on display.

The church also contains Michelangelo's brilliant sculpture of Moses. Allegedly, Michelangelo hit the statue's knee and yelled, 'Speak, damn you!' because it's so lifelike.

Back to the hotel - still rather footsore and blistered from Wednesday - for a nap. Dinner out: lamb (abbachio) with gorgeous rosemary potatoes and very garlicky spinach, followed by panna cotta. Scrumptious.


Lacey Devlin said...

Great photos, Kate! I didn't know you that Keats house had been turned into a museum--must visit there. And your cacio e pepe looked so delicious that I'm now having cravings =)

Caroline said...

Great photos and great pasta. Wonder what I'll have for lunch today.... ;) Caroline x