Rome is a truly exciting place. It is also a place of style. Everywhere we went people were well dressed and all the women were wearing boots. All manner of boots, heals, buckles, moccasin-like, suede, you name it, but boots were all around us. The shops along the Via Nazionale were filled with boots as well. I wanted a pair in the worst way. Of course I could wear them all the time, not with all the walking we were doing before I got use to them, but still I had to have a pair. So on Friday, the day before we left Rome we went boot shopping with great success. Now I’m one with them!
Walking is what we’ve been doing since we got here. Each day we started with a Taxi ride to our first destination and then walked to the next and back to the hotel. The Borghese Gallery was the first stop and then we walked across the park to the Modern Art Museum. The Borghese was wonderful, we went on a guided tour with a young Italian man who was an art historian. He was also a big fan of Bernini, which made his tour all the better. He believed that Bernini and not Michaelangelo was the greatest sculptor, very interesting. The gallery was built by the Borghese family as a place to show their art collection, makes sense when you have a collection like that.
The next stop was the Museum of Modern Art. That was less than terrific. There were only Italian artists there, I was hoping for a Monet or Van Gogh, but no such luck. There were some very nice paintings but all in all not all that exciting. But this is where this became “stair day”. The Borghese had a winding staircase to the second floor which went on forever, and with our guide being a spry young man practically ran up them. He did give us time to rest at the top though. The Modern Art Museum had a grand staircase as well. It seemed every corner we turned around there was another grand staircase.
Our walking tour of Rome then took us through the park in yet another direction. This time when we exited the park, we were at the Plaza dei Popoulo. By now it had begun to drizzle. Umbrellas sprouted up everywhere. While we each had a fold up umbrella, they were back at the hotel room since the weather report didn’t call for rain. Street vendors were at the ready offering to sell an umbrella to anyone without one. So, in the hopes it was a passing shower we stopped in a cafe on the plaza and had some soup and cappacino. It hit the spot and the rain had eased up. That is until we started out to continue walking. It was then that it hit me, I had been wanting to do a painting of people walking in the rain with umbrellas. I started taking lots of pictures. What could be better than having my street scene of people with umbrellas than it being of Rome?
As we continued on we came to another church to visit. There were so many old churches with artwork throughout that it was hard to keep track of them all. It was also another way to get out of the rain. When we emerged from the church, there seemed to be a break in the clouds so off we went, walking a little farther, not exactly sure where we were going, but in the general direction of more sites. Then we saw another plaza and headed down a side road towards it. Yup, we were now at the Spanish Steps, and no we did not climb all the way up. We took pictures and continued on our way. We did consult a map now and again but there seems to be no rhyme or reason to the roads here. They change name and bend and turn in ways that boggle the mind. Couple that with the fact that crossing the street can be a death defying act and we did feel like we were flying on a wing and a prayer. But once again we turned a corner and came upon another stunning sight – the Trevi fountain. We threw our coins into the fountain and continued on. This time our hotel was our destination. Trying to get to the Pantheon was a thought that had to wait for another day. The next day was going to be the Vatican however, so maybe we can get there after that.
Indeed the next day we took a cab to the Vatican in the morning. We had tickets for 10:30 to go to the museums – which meant, the Sistine Chapel. St. Peter’s Plaza was busy with workers taking down the Christmas tree and nativity scene.