17 Jul 2019 – Wednesday.
We left Chianti to move further South in the morning, but not before making a stop in Siena. We entered the town from a very quiet side and were pleased as pie at the silent streets that made me feel as though we were in our own little world.
There were statues and carvings for this wolf around the city. Florian shared with me that it’s based on a story of a she-wolf that raised two abandoned young twin brothers, Romulus and Remus, who later rose up to build the city of Rome.
As we wandered further into the town centre, the number of people also increased. As did the heat.
The piazza was spectacularly huge and a sight to behold. Funnily enough, we also noticed that where the sun was shining, hardly anyone stood, and the area that had shade – and it wasn’t a bit patch of space, was packed with people. You might be able to notice this in the picture below where you can see lots of tiny people under the shadow of the clock tower.
Took me a while, but when in Italy… Pinocchio!
We stopped by this Panini place for some lunch. Here, they have ready-made ones, and inside, you can pick and choose what you want to fill your choice of bread.
Then, you can go upstairs to their small balcony to lunch and watch the events going on below.
There were a few other shops that had balcony-access, but the balconies weren’t linked. When we went up, the benches were filled and we waited quite a bit for the occupants to be done before we finally got the entire space to ourselves.
This is the passageway leading out to the balcony. It’s perfectly high enough for someone like me (154cm or 5foot 2), but for anyone taller, it calls for a bit of bending.
We both thoroughly enjoyed traipsing around Siena. It’s a gorgeous town with so much charm! Unfortunately, we were on a bit of a tight schedule, with the intent to drive to Rome after lunch, so we couldn’t loiter around as long as we could have. Definitely another place we’d love to visit and spend more time in though!
We reached Rome in the late afternoon, checked into our B&B, bought our 2-day transport passes at the train station a short walk away, and trained our way into the city of Rome. Our first stop was, the Colosseum!
We skipped going in but the outside itself was magnificent! It was HUGE! Way bigger than I’d ever expected.
It was quite surreal seeing the real deal in front of my very eyes when I had spent my entire life only seeing it in pictures. I was awe struck and could see why Flo was so excited for me to finally lay my eyes on the Colosseum.
From there, we walked further in, past a statue of Julius Caesare,
And past more ruins from an age gone by.
We stopped by the Parliament for a picture. I loved the building itself. It was beautiful with its columns and sculptures. It’s difficult to imagine actually working inside this building.
Dinner was at another place a friend of mine had recommended – Roscioli. This restaurant is highly popular and I booked a table more than a month in advance. I don’t think you have to book as early as I did, but I suggest at least a couple of weeks before your planned meal because they do fill up fast.
One of the few places serving fresh, warm bread of various kinds. Also, note that quite a lot of places charge for bread and for table service. A lot of them don’t inform you beforehand, or let’s say none of them actually inform you, so you can ask them before eating the bread, or be like Flo and I and eagerly dig in, only to have to pay for it later with regret at not finishing the bread basket before they took it away.
Hubby’s choice was the Cacio e Pepe – Roscioli’s is said to be where Massimo Bottura favours this dish.
I went for the Salmon.
Bursting tomatoes full of sweet juice, some briny capers, a beautiful crispy skin, and very lean wild salmon. Unlike farmed salmon, this was a lot like fatty and oily, so it was slightly drier than I’d have liked. I understand though that I couldn’t have eaten it medium to medium rare anyway, which is how I usually enjoy my fresh salmon since babies were inside.
Flo’s Cacio e Pepe was rich in flavour. Creamy pecorino cheese with ample black pepper coated every strand of noodle. Nice for a while, cloying at the end for those not used to very creamy foods.
They gave complimentary sweets at the end. These were spiced biscotti with a side of chocolate sauce. We weren’t too crazy about these.
So to satisfy his sweet tooth, we stopped by his namesake (kind of) for some gelato.
And walked around a bit more. To Piazza Navona.
As dusk arrived, we spotted Castel Sant’Angelo, once commissioned by Roman Emperior Hadrian to be a mausoleum for him and his family, later used as a fortress and castle for popes, and now, a museum.
From Castel Sant’Angelo, we walked over to the Sistine Chapel.
It was around 10pm as we sat here in the quiet, admiring the chapel in front of us, enjoying the cool of the marble beneath our bums. It was a lovely evening and both of us wanted to soak in the peacefulness of it all. In that moment, everything felt perfect.