Day 2 – Trevi Fountain, Pantheon, Spanish Stairs and a little shopping (23/10/2009)
From the Spanish Steps you can walk towards Piazza Navona, you will come across Nicola Salvi’s Trevi Fountain, toss a coin to ensure your return to Rome which of course I did, you just have to, while adding to the collection of those who wait till late night or early dawn to fish them out ( it is illegal by the way but what is there to stop them from doing it). The precise tradition calls for one to throw the coin over one’s left shoulder while standing with one’s back to the Trevi Fountain.
The Dome in Pantheon
Pantheon – a pagan temple but now a church houses the tomb of Raphael is an engineering feat especially the dome. The gray dome measures 43 m in diameter and 43 m in height. Apparently one of a kind – designwise in the world. The centre of this dome has an opening, called the oculus. The oculus prevents the building from collapsing under her weight and to let light in. It is believed that the circle and square forms repeated all over the Pantheon was inspired by the ancient architect Vitruvius’s notion that squares and circles were the spaces the human body most naturally occupies when his limbs are extended. In turn, over 1 000 years later, Leonardo da Vinci turned this concept into his famous drawing of the Vitruvian Man.
Spanish Steps – this is where the shopping happens. Around Spanish Steps, stretching accross and around the area you will find shops for all pockets. As you move towards Piazza Del Popolo, the shops do get more expensive. The other area I like for shopping is around Piazza Navona, here you find kitchy boutiques rather than your mainstream highstreet fashion labels.
Eating suggestions – many places around Piazza Del Fiori (about 15 mins walk from Piazza Navona north west) or Maccheroni between Piazza Navona and Piazza Montecitero. There is also Cafe Fandango, at Piazza di Pietra close by the Pantheon – a cinema/cultural venue but also for good eats especially for lunch and Giolitti for an excellent gelato or dolce and coffee. When in Rome, you must try either the Tripa (tripe) or Maccheroni Cacio e Pepe (thick spaghetti tossed in pecorino cheese and black pepper) and fyi, the Carbonara’s home is Rome.