We took the train from Naples to Rome with Beth and Scott (my sister and brother-in-law) who were visiting us for the week. Having never been to Rome before, they planned to see the ancient city on the day we arrived and Vatican City the next. We met for breakfasts and dinners, but during the two days we were there, Jon and I were on our own to explore a different part of the city.
Since we only had about three hours on the first day, we started off by walking up to Aventine Hill. We had read about looking through a keyhole in order to see St. Peter's Basilica and when we found it we were not disappointed. Through a small keyhole at the headquarters of the Sovereign Order of the Knights of Malta one can see a perfectly framed St. Peter's Basilica. Random fact: there are three sovereignties/territories/nations all within Rome: Italy (obviously), Vatican City, and the Territory of the Sovereign Order of the Knights of Malta.
|Through a keyhole|
We walked to the piazza and gardens nearby where we could see a wonderful view of the city stretching out beneath us.
The next day we explored the Jewish Ghetto and Trastevere regions of Rome. The Jewish Ghetto was built in 1555 and was the mandatory home for the Roman Jewish population for more than 300 years, although the Jewish community in Rome is one of the oldest in the world. Most of the ghetto has been torn down, but you can still discover some reminders of the Jews' notable past and modest present.
We then crossed the bridge over to the Trastevere neighborhood. This is a very charming area of the city where a lot of young locals live, piazzas are lined with restaurants and bars, and small narrow streets dominate the neighborhood. After walking around we had a fantastic lunch in a cute restaurant and had the best ravioli we've had since living in Italy!
On the way back to the hotel we stopped by the church of Santa Maria in Cosmedin. The Roman statue called "La Bocca della Verita'" (The Mouth of Truth) is here and legend has it that if a liar or sinner puts his hand into the mouth of the statue they will lose it. The thrill of putting our hands in the statue's mouth was strong and we couldn't resist! We stuck our hands in and hoped for the best. Alas, the harmless but unnerving stone face did not eat our hands.
|Santa Maria in Cosmedin|
With some extra time left we strolled through the streets capturing some pictures...
|A cool little door!|
The eternal city of Rome has so much to offer and provides a little something for everyone, whether you've been to Rome ten times or only one. No matter how many times you visit there is always more beauty and culture for you to discover and enjoy. We would love to go back again and uncover some more hidden gems of the city!