Rome is starting to have a few more visitors, but it has taken months since the country reopened and for sure the tourist landscape has totally changed. Now instead of Chinese and American tourists, there are mainly Italians and Romans. Yes, the Romans are rediscovering and enjoying their city.
We visited there not that long ago and below are some pics from that trip. If you are at all familiar with Rome, you will see a huge difference in the number of people. It is difficult to put into words the feeling of hanging out in Rome with – Romans. It felt like what I imagine Italy was like in the 50s – kids playing soccer in the squares and leisurely afternoon strolls enjoying an ice cream without feeling stressed – what a gift. At the same time, seeing empty cafés, shops and restaurants along with hotels that were completely closed cast a sad shadow of sadness over that romantic feeling pretty quickly. It was similar to the eerie feeling in Venice right before the lockdown started.
But as mentioned above, things are looking up for the eternal city and hopefully, things will be in full swing soon. In the meantime, here are a few pics of beautiful, peaceful Rome.
The Pantheon was once a Roman temple and was built around 126AD – in fact, it is the world’s oldest building in continuous use. It is now a Catholic Church and Raphael’s tomb can be found here. If you happen to be in Rome on Pentecost Sunday which takes place 40 days after Easter Sunday, make sure to visit the Pantheon when thousands of red rose petals will be dropped from the open oculus.
Campo de’ Fiori
Campo de’ Fiori was actually once a field of flowers – hence its name – but a square was built here in 1456 and since 1869, it has been the home to a fruit and veggie market. Oh, and flowers too of course.
The Trevi Fountain
The Trevi Fountain just standing there all by her lonesome. This Baroque beauty was designed by Nicola Salvi after having “won” a design competition held by Pope Clement XII. But in reality, he lost out to Alessandro Galilei. But Galilei was from Florence and the Romans were not having it, so the job was awarded to Salvi. Poor Galilei. One has to wonder what the fountain would have looked like had Galilei had been able to design it. Still…no one can deny that Salvi created something special for his city.
Elephant and Obelisk
This adorable statue of an elephant carrying an obelisk was designed by Bernini in 1667. It can be found right next to the church of Santa Maria Sopra Minerva. We had him all to ourselves.
The Spanish Steps
All 135 steps are practically empty – and we didn’t even have to set the alarm for 6am to get these pics. These steps are famous no doubt but don’t forget to check out the Keats-Shelley House Museum at the bottom of the steps next time you are there. Keats lived there right up until his death. There are a variety of works including his letters and manuscripts as well as those from Shelley, Wilde, Browning and Wordsworth among others. After a visit to the museum, stroll past yet another Bernini fountain to get a coffee at one of the oldest cafés in Italy and where Keats himself used to drink his coffee – Caffe Greco. But make sure to take it standing at the bar, otherwise, you will end up paying 7 euro for one espresso.
Salotto 42 is a great place to get a cocktail – it is super cool and is usually packed. As you can see that on this day it was not. It is located very near the Pantheon and right in front of The Temple of Hadrian – so it is like getting a bit of a two for one: a drink at a hip bar with a splash of ancient history.
This hotel is completely covered in green. If you have spent any time on Instagram looking at pics of Rome, no doubt you have seen this hotel. I was so sad to see it completely closed. As of this writing, it is still closed, but will be reopening in September. Make sure to check it out, not just for its beautiful facade, but also its fab rooftop bar for sweeping views of Roman rooftops. Raphael.
Hotel Campo de’ Fiori
Another vine-covered boutique hotel with rooftop dining, however, Hotel Campo de’ Fiori is now open! Hotel Campo de’ Fiori.
We saw so many nuns on our visit, maybe because they were just doing their normal life, getting from place to place, but with the absence of crowds, they were more easily seen. These two photos were taken on the Via dei Fori Imperiali – the street that connects Piazza Venezia to the Colosseum. Below is a sweeping view of the street.
Piazza Navona and its fountain of the Four Rivers by Bernini. The fountain was designed in 1651 for this ultra Baroque square that was built over a 1st century AD stadium.
Typically, crowded with tourists, on this day, there were only a few folks on this bridge….including mask-wearing Romans.
So that is about it on my small Roman tour. If you would like to read more about what is going on in Italy post lockdown here are a few articles.