Because my travel companion wanted to see where the third act of “Tosca” takes place, headed towards Castel Sant’Angelo. The direct route took us down Corso Vittorio Emanuele II. Sheesh, what a noisy street!
Original plan was to take pictures from outside and be on our way, but decided to go into the castle. Good decision! Great experience – layers of history and a combination of fortifications and beautifully-decorated rooms. Climbed to the roof, where there was a great view of the city. Heading down, we found more beautiful rooms. One, the Sala Paolina, was covered in frescoes that included trompe l’oeil doors. A reviving snack at the bar there restored the tissues, as my sister says. Nice to be able to sit outside at a table in the sun.
Since we were so close to St. Peter’s Square, went there to look around, see about tickets for weekly papal audience (decided against it), and buy tickets for the Vatican Museums the next day. Taking nothing away from the grandeur of the square, but our big thrill was seeing Robin Roberts prepping for filming a news segment!
Threw ourselves into a restaurant 15 minutes before the 3:00 closing – had a lovely lunch. Walked south along the river into the Trastavere neighborhood. Fantastic! Narrow streets of small shops and restaurants – even saw people seated outside a ‘sala da tè’ with pots of tea – unusual in this country of coffee drinkers. Went into Santa Maria della Scala, then into Basilica di Santa Maria in Trastevere. Only word for my reaction is ‘gobsmacked.’ So gorgeous, I was moved almost to tears, especially by the mosaics.
Staggered out into the Piazza di Santa Maria, where a woman was playing the cello. So atmospheric!
On our way back to the hotel, wound up again by “The Pile” where there are few walk/don’t walk lights. Posted on Facebook my tips for crossing a street in those circumstances:
- Wait for a group of Italians – they are experienced and fearless!
- Even better, wait for someone pushing a baby carriage.
- Once you’ve entered the crosswalk, look straight ahead and keep walking. Do not be distracted by the cars whizzing behind you. Do not catch the eye of a driver coming toward you – it may be interpreted as a sign of weakness.