A Rainy Day in Rome: Forum, Piazzas, et al.

1archWe had thought we’d not go to the Forum (already saw piles of ruins), but decided we’re here, we must, even if it rains.

And rain it did.

Started with sprinkles. My hubby held his hat over the camera but the pictures are dismal. The Forum needs blue sky. Plus, unlike the mass of Pompeii (see the model), it’s a pile of disparate columns and foundations, making it difficult to imagine. As usual, the details capture me: a ceremonial cow. A carved plaque.
1foro cow1foro detail
We bypass the Colosseum because the sprinkles have become a downpour. Luckily we have the plastic ponchos from the Dollar store, real life savers. We walk (wade) to a Basilica to see some of the ancient city underground but it’s closed. Since we wanted to go into the basement I could understand.
rainy forum
Back to the hotel to dry off and change. Our shoes are drowned. But it stops raining and we bus to Pantheon.

It’s so much bigger than I remember. They have cleaned the inner dome but basically the building is original. Walls 20’ deep at base, thinning out to 5′ in dome. Plus the squares are indented to make the ceiling lighter. If it the ceiling reminds you of the one at the Vatican (picture here), it’s because this dome, built in 126 AD, was the inspiration for the great Renaissance domes.

At the Fountain of Four Rivers in the Piazza Navona, they were cleaning. The god’s arm was huge when compared to the men, but on the fountain, it doesn’t seem outsized. 4fixing fountain

obelisk1On to the Piazza Colonna, the victory column of Marcus Aurelius. We don’t see the whole thing because about 3 metres of the base are underground. In 1589 the column was restored and adapted to the ground level of that time. So, Rome has risen 3 metres in little over 400 years. No wonder so much of ancient Rome is completely underground.

The following slideshow is of images that caught my eye. The whole column teems with life, or rather war and death. The carving of the men with their shields has me stumped. I thought it might be a phalanx of men, solid with their shields. Then I noticed the swords lying on top of the shields. Maybe the men are dead? (The internet failed me – I couldn’t find a picture of this specific detail.)

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Ended the day at the Trevi Fountain. Mob scene; awful. But there are public bathrooms nearby – a rarity in Rome. Loved the horse and the god blowing in a shell.
trevi fountaintrevi detail
We ate across the street from the hotel again – love the pizza with eggplant. Saw an interesting plate of food go by. The waiter said it was a supplì al telefono: fried rice balls filled with mozzarella. Research tells me that the name means “on the phone”, because if you open them when still warm, the cheese inside will stretch like telephone wire. Anyway we ordered one. Bleh.

I want to close with a thought about language. If I speak to a native Italian speaker, I am often surprised that they can make out what I mean despite my accent or grammatical mistakes. But then, if a non-English speaker tries English with me, I usually understand (except maybe for the Scots!) In your native language, accents aren’t a hindrance. But in my ballet company we were French, Romanian, Chilean, Yugoslavian trying to speak German to each other. Amazing we ever understood a word.


  1. Julie Hayhurst says:

    Again, great pics Terri. Too bad it rained, but better than hail when I was there 🙂

  2. Cat Lazaroff says:

    On the carving of men with shields with swords on top – I think they are storming a wall, and the defenders above them are throwing weapons down on them to try and repel them. I’ve seen depictions before of attackers approaching with their shields massed above them to protect them from arrows or other weapons. Or boiling oil – in fact, it looks like there’s a bucket spilling something onto one of the shields! And doesn’t it look like there are men throwing things down from above?

    • Terri says:

      Aha! I see what you mean and it would make sense. Although I can’t imagine they’d throw their swords. They were very expensive and your best weapon. I guess you could throw the sword of a soldier who’d been killed. But artistic license, eh? Thanks for the elucidation!!

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