After a lovely lunch in Piazza Navona, I returned to my Roman walkabout. Just around the corner, I saw a group of people walking into this building (below), so I followed. Turned out to be the Pantheon. Interesting.
Then, again, I meandered through the streets, just turning left or right, as curiosity directed.
Pretty much everywhere you look, there’s something interesting, old, lovely, or — a church — to see.
I ended up in Piazza Venezia and saw a huge white building in the center. (Monumento Nazionale a Vittorio Emanuele II, which, as I learned later, locals call the wedding cake.) Hmmm, people are going in there, let’s go see what it is.
I climbed the steps and found a guarded tomb of the unknown soldier. The building is like one gigantic sculpture — every surface covered in carvings or statues.
Let’s go inside.
I walked through the exhibits and somehow ended up outside on a terrace with lovely views. Again, following those around me, I realized that there was a church on the back of the building — Santa Maria in Aracoeli. So, I went in to light my first candle in Rome.
Coming out of the church, I saw a line and an elevator. Let’s go see what they’re doing.
As it turns out, for a few euros, you can take an elevator to the top of the building for even more complete views of the city. (I have been lucky so far, but you can see the clouds in the distance are beginning to look ominous.)
After taking in the view, I head into another door of the building and find a very cool exhibit of work by Fausto Melotti. There were a number of quotes sprinkled throughout the exhibit. Here’s one of my favorites:
“In this century, soul and body search for
and chase one another with great trepidation.
And this seems most promising.”
When I came out of the museum, sure enough, it was raining. I had come unprepared. No umbrella. I didn’t even have a coat on (just a sweater, since the day started warmish and I was doing a lot of walking). But once the rain started, the temperature dropped. At this point, it’s about 5:00 p.m. I’ve been out a long time. I am pretty far from my hotel. It’s time for a taxi back to the room. On the way, the taxi driver points out Il Matriciano, telling me that it’s the best place for pasta in my neighborhood. I decided to have my dinner there. He wasn’t wrong.