Day 1 in Rome: when plans go awry

We were supposed to leave London at 9:30 am but we left sometime after 10 am–I don’t know exactly when because I fell asleep. We landed later than planned, 2:15 pm, and it took me an hour! to get through passport control for non-EU passports. Everyone else has a British passport and had no queue. If they voted for Brexit, they must be worried. But my delay didn’t hold up the group because one couple’s bags didn’t arrive. So we didn’t arrive at the hotel until about 3:45 pm. Our plan to go to the Palazzo Doria Pamphiji was postponed until tomorrow. That left me with almost 3 hours until our first lecture. Enough time to revisit some familiar spots and maybe check out some new ones.

The hotel is almost next to San Andrea delle Valle on Corso Vittoria Emmanuele II, one of Rome’s main east west roads. It is quite close to Campo dei Fiori. Since we had only been given crisps (potato chips) on the flight, I headed to Carapina, a gelateria we went to in 2014 that had the best chocolate gelato I’d ever tasted.

But, it is closed until Saturday–the day we are leaving:



Luckily, there is a Grom gelateria nearby:

Caramella al sale (salted caramel) and ciocoletto extra noir


Checked out some churches (after finishing the gelato)

San Andrea delle Valle
Santa Barbara dei Librai


The cat sanctuary:

Here is Sant’Agnese in Agone, a church designed by Borromini in Piazza Navona.

The exterior is a marvellous flow of concave and convex surfaces and I have always wondered what the interior looks like but it has never been open when we saw it during our previous visits. In Borromini’s churches, San Carlino and Sant’Ivo ale Sapienza, the interesting exterior shapes are reflected on the interior walls—not here.Pretty much a Baroque interior–not Borromini who was a more radical architect.

Bought some wine after, surprisingly, getting 10,000 steps on a travel day.

So a pretty good day with both gelato and wine. And I learned a corkscrew is called sacacorchos ((which they gave to me because my hotel room only has a bottle opener).

Our lecture about the context for Caravaggio’s work was well done but I need to go to bed instead of recounting a 90 minute lecture.

Dinner was at Trattoria del Pallaro, near Campo dei Fiori–not bad for a set menu: mushroom risotto, swordfish,  salad and berries with cream.  And some regional Lazio red and white wine.

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