18 Jul 2019 – Thursday.
After breakfast, Flo and I got ready and made a return to Rome where we made a beeline for The Pantheon.
It stood proud and tall, looming high over the hoards of people who had reached before we did. This Roman temple was dedicated to all the gods of pagan Rome, and considering how it was built all the way back around 120AD, it is still amazingly well-preserved.
The monolithic dome at the centre of the building pulls light in, making the spacious cavity below glow. Symbolically, it connects heaven to earth, gods above to temple below. Until today, it is apparently the largest unsupported dome in the world.
The floor on which thousands and thousands of people trod on every day, is still the same, original marble from Ancient Roman times.
The preservation of this astounding feat of architecture was due to the fact that it was converted into a church in the year 609, and as a result , was saved from destruction during the Middle Ages.
You’d think that Rome may be more hype than anything but truly, you cannot visit Italy without visiting Rome because history it encrusted in every corner of the city. It is amazing how well preserved some of their archeological and historical sites are, and it is almost unbelievable that they were build thousands of years ago.
After getting lost in the Pantheon, Flo and I finally found each other and I followed him into a random shop that sold fresh-baked Roman Pizza. These are sold by weight so basically, you tell the guy at the counter roughly how big of a slice you’d like, and he’ll cut it, weigh it, and pack it for you.
As soon as we left the shop and rounded the corner, my eyes were blown away at the sight of Trevi Fountain. It was totally unexpected because usually, Flo would point out a distance away where the next point of attraction was. This time, he hadn’t.
I’ve seen the Trevi Fountain in films and photographs, never realising quite how big and elaborate it really is.
I think that for me – the experience of first laying eyes on this beaut and being utterly gobsmacked at the whiteness of the marble, detail in each sculpture, height of the fountain… made this my favourite site in Rome.
Yes, even with the trawls of tourists flanking all sides of the fountain, and the heat of the sun beating down upon us, this Baroque fountain managed to steal my heart! And in case you’re wondering, I did throw a coin in over my shoulder. Twice. I made a wish… A wish that our babies would continue to grow strong and healthy. It didn’t come true…
After the Trevi, Flo and I took a bus to the garden a little away from the city. It was more like a park and had a small lake where you could hire a boat for half and hour just to peddle your love around.
Here, we had our lunch on a park bench. Flo had his Marinara Roman Pizza which features a thin, crisp crust. They cut it into two and you can just put the fillings together and eat it like a sandwich.
Of course, marinara is the most basic of toppings and you can always choose ones with more variety of ingredients on top. It was simple yet tasty. And not too heavy to have as a snack either.
As in most places in Italy, we had access to clean water from a fountain where Flo washed his peach. He loves peaches and the ones in Italy this summer were exceptional. I went for the cherries instead.
It took us a while to get back to the city but since we’d given ourselves ample time, we arrived at the entrance to the Sistine Chapel bang on time. We’d bought our tickets online for 2pm so we were able to enter directly without having the brave the heat and the queue.
It was quite a tiring walk around all the corridors and rooms, one leading to another, each displaying their magnificent works of art.
Up above there were elaborate paintings, and on the floor, mosaic pieces that looked alive.
The ultimate corridor, the longest one, that led us towards the Sistine Chapel.
No photographic evidence of being in the chapel because we’re not supposed to take any. Even if I did, I wouldn’t post it up. Lol. With Flo’s help, I managed to spot the famous ‘Creation of Adam‘ by Michelangelo.
I was knackered after our few hours walking the grounds of the Vatican museums and the Sistine chapel. So Flo and I made our way back to our B&B for a bit of cooling off and rest, before we walked out to Flavio Al Velavevodetto – a restaurant close by said to offer amazing pastas.
I had Ricotta Ravioli with Marinara.
Four large parcels filled with creamy ricotta, balanced with sweet, tart marinara and a sprinkling of nutty parmesan. So good!
Flo zeroed in on the Rigatoni alla Carbonara since Rome=Carbonara.
Very moreish although I think the more common spaghetti clings on better to the sauce. These were a touch dry because the holes in the rigatoni weren’t quite so filled.
For dessert, Flo decided to have the Semifreddo.
He loved it! I only tried a little because I wasn’t sure if raw eggs were involved in making it.
We went back to Rome city after dinner, reaching it when the sun had set. We once again returned to Trevi which was lit up and had barricades to keep visitors from entering the steps leading down to it. By night, it was still marvellous, but I still preferred the natural light of the day shining upon it.
From the Trevi, we made our way to the Spanish Steps which was filled with people. Of course, we had to join them, planting our bums on the now-cool slab of stairs.
Interestingly, you’re not allowed to eat on them in order to preserve their pristine condition. More recently, I heard that you’re no longer allowed to sit on them either. Bummer! Ah well, Flo and I did anyway, before that rule was enforced. It was another cool evening so watching people mill around, gather together, take selfies and wefies etc occupied us for a good long while before we decided to head for bed.
That night before we closed our eyes, I whined a little to Flo about how my belly had grown so much in the couple of weeks away from Singapore. He laughed and extended his, taking a photo and saying not to worry, his was still wayyyy bigger. Stellar husband!
I look back on this picture now and wish I had embraced my baby bump as soon as it ‘popped’, rather than dread it growing bigger and bigger. Yes, I grew to love it, but I should have loved it right from the start. Sometimes, I wonder if my babies felt my disdain at my body changing, causing them to want to return to heaven because they felt unwanted. The truth is my dears, we love you all very much. You three were wanted – very much so. And we think of you every day. It’s bittersweet looking at this photo, but it is a memory that I cherish of my three dumplings all snugly together with me.