Sunday, 2 December 2012

Ho Ho!

....... no not Santa but a budget travellers alternative to the Hop on Hop off bus. We are going to walk & use the little electric buses that zip around the city and actually take you closer to the sights in the historical centre.

I'm going to suggest that you invest in a BTI (integrated tourist ticket) that lasts for 3 days & costs €16.50.

You can pick these up at metro stations, bars & tabacchi which you will recognise by looking for signs like the one below.

The first time that you use your ticket it will need to be validated. We are starting our day  at the Spanish Steps. Depending on where you are staying this could involve a metro journey to Spagna, in which case your ticket will have been validated as you pass through the gates to the platform. Alternatively you can use the validating machine on your first bus journey.You only need to validate your ticket once.
Ticket Validating Machine

However, before you venture out to the Spanish Steps you need to pick up picnic supplies. Wherever you are staying there will be a local market or failing that a  deli where you can pick up the makings of a portable 

The Spanish Steps were actually built by the French in the 17th century to link the church of Trinita dei Monte with the piazza below.The area is named after the Palazzo Spagna, headquarters of the Spanish ambassador to the Holy See, which stood here.Walk to the top of the steps and admire the view.

View from top of Spanish Steps

Casina Valadier

Turn left and walk along past the Villa Medici until you see a road veering off to the right, Viale del Belvedere. This will take you to another spectacular view  which you will reach after passing Casina Valadier, a romantic restaurant which too has spectacular views, especially from the terrace at night.

At this point turn right  into the Villa Borghese Gardens. There are many spots in this lovely park where you can sit & enjoy your picnic but the area around the lake is particularly pretty and benefits from a plentiful supply of benches.

Giardino del Lago, Villa Borghese

From the lake head south through the park to Porta Pinciana where you can pick up the 116 electric bus. They run approximately every 11 minutes. You will take this for 5 stops and alight at Tritone/Barberini. As you get off the bus look for the signs to the Trevi fountain - actually you will hear the fountain long before you see it and if this is your first time in Rome be prepared to be stunned by the beauty of this magnificent fountain in a tiny, tiny piazza.

Time for gelato and where better than Gelateria San Crispino (closed Tuesday) on Via della Panetteria which is on the left if you take Via D Lavatore from the fountain. Plenty of flavour choices here but my absolute favourite is 'San Crispino' made with corbezzolo, a bitter honey from Sardinia. 
Time to retrace your steps to Tritone/Barberini stop and pick up the 116. Again you are travelling 5 stops - this time to Parliamento. Alight here and walk south to the Pantheon - another iconic symbol of the city and well worth a visit for the oculus alone.

From the front of the Pantheon take Salita D Crescenzi then left to Piazza San Eustachio, famous for its cafe (see 'Waters of Rome ' post) Take Via D Stadari from the piazza which will bring you to Corso del Rinascimento. Cross here to reach Piazza Navona. Enjoy a stroll around the piazza, admiring the magnificent Bernini fountains before exiting back on to 
Corso del Rinascimento    
to pick up the 116 once more. 

Giordano Bruno 
Campo di Fiori 
This time you are going 1 stop to Baullari where you will alight and follow the road down into Campo di Fiori. Sadly the market will have closed down for the day but the square is lined with bars where you can take refreshment whilst viewing the brooding statue of Giordano Bruno, the philosopher burned at the stake in 1600 for heresy. From here it is a short way to Piazza Farnese which is dominated by Palazzo Farnese, home to the French Embassy. The facade of the palazzo was created by Michelangelo. Notice the fountains in the square which are decorated with lilies - symbol of the Farnese family. Pick up the 116 bus at the corner of Via dei Farnese/Via Monserrato. The bus will take you all the way along Via Giulia and across the river. Leave the bus once you are over the river and walk up to Piazzale Garibaldi (detailed directions can be found on day 3 of this post) Again you will get a fabulous view & also a chance for refreshment. Carry on walking until you come to the Acqua Paola Fountain & again take in the magnificent views.

View from Acqua Paola
Carry on walking down the hill until you reach Trastevere. Enjoy the quaint streets and squares of this area of Rome until it is time for dinner. There are many choices of places to eat - I am going to recommend three to you that we have personally enjoyed. The first is Da Augusto on Piazza dei Renzi, off Via del Moro - simple food, wine from a barrel, shared tables, an amazing atmosphere and incredibly cheap. No bookings or credit cards and we have found the opening times somewhat erratic but absolutely worth seeking out. Secondly Da Lucia, Vicolo del Mattonato - family cooking at its finest. Again no bookings or credit cards. Finally, if you are in the mood for pizza try Da Ivo on Via San Francisco - not only is the pizza amazing but this trattoria has a fantastic atmosphere too.

After you have eaten make your way to Viale Trastevere to pick up the number 8 tram to Argentina. Once you reach the terminus at Argentina you will either be able to connect with a bus to whichever part of the city you are staying in or take a taxi back to your accomodation.
Day 2
We are starting our day at Piazza del Popolo - the nearest metro station is Flaminia. If you are arriving here via the metro you will enter the piazza through the impressive Porta del Popolo. On your left as you enter the piazza is Santa Maria del Popolo which is well worth a visit. Fans of 'Da Vinci Code' will know that this is the location of Bernini's sculpture of Habakkuk and the Angel. Unfortunately this has been under wraps the last few times we have visited but thankfully the two Caravaggio paintings are here to be seen.

When your visit is complete head towards the middle road between the two churches on the other side of the Piazza - Via del Corso
This is where you will catch the 117 electric bus that will take you all the way down the Via del Corso to Piazza Venezia. Ron in Rome has an extremely detailed article on this bus route which is very helpful. Admire the Victor Emmanuel Monument (known as 'the typewriter' or 'wedding cake' amongst other names) and then head round to the magnificent staircase, the Cordonata, that leads to Piazza del Campidoglio. 

View from Campidoglio

Climb the stars and once you reach the piazza head to the right hand side and walk between the buildings. Here you will see a view of the Roman Forum with the Colosseum in the distance.

Retrace your steps & pick up the 117 bus once more. You are going 2 stops to Serpenti. This will take you into the Monti area which is an ideal place to stop for coffee & pick up provisions for lunch. Depending which of the two Serpenti stops you have used either head up or down to the small Piazza Santa Maria del Monti which is situated halfway along the street. There are a couple of places here to get coffee
 or you could just sit on the steps of the fountain & watch the world go by.

Piazza Santa Maria del Monti

An alternate coffee stop would be Er Barreto on Via Boschetto (which runs parallel to Via Serpenti).The barista here specialises in creating little works of art with the foam on your cappucino. 

Coffee at Er Barreto

Opposite Er Barreto is La Piadineria where you can pick up a delicious wrap for your picnic lunch.
Retrace your steps down Via Boschetto until you reach Via Leonina. Look for the steps that will take you on to Via Cavour. Cross Via Cavour & if you still need provisions for your picnic pop in to Elite supermarket. The steps continue on this side of the road & they will bring you to San Pietro in Vincoli. 
The church closes between 12.30 & 3.00 but if you are in time it is worth a peep in to see Michelangelo's sculpture of Moses.

From the front of the church take the road to the left, Via Eudosiana and follow it until you reach the Parco Traiano. Make your way into the park and find yourself a picnic spot from where you can admire the Colosseum from your elevated viewpoint.
After lunch walk down to the Colosseum and the Arch of Constantine for a closer look.........

Arch of Constantine

...... before picking up the 117 bus once more from the bus stop directly in front of the Colosseum. Stay on the bus for 4 stops until it reaches the terminus 
in Piazza San Giovanni in Laterino. Walk across the 
piazza to the obelisk. This is the oldest obelisk in Rome (15th century BC) and was bought here by Emperor Constantine.Look up to the statues on the facade. Each one is seven feet tall.
The church itself is one of the main pilgrimage churches in Rome and is where the Pope celebrates Maundy Thursday mass
Head in to the church but do make sure shoulders and knees are covered as the dress code is strictly enforced. 
They do have disposable shawls to borrow but at busy times demand is high and you may have to wait a while. Before you actually enter the church take a look at the magnificent bronze doors. They were originally from the Senate House in the Forum and would have been held open for Caesar & Cleopatra.
The enormous nave of the church is lined with statues of the apostles. St Matthew is shown with coins while St Thomas has a set square- he is the patron saint of architects.

The prize relics are the skulls of St Peter & St Paul held behind a grille on the altar.

For a small fee you can visit the  cloisters with their beautiful  twisted


After your visit to San Giovanni in Laterino cross back across the piazza to the Scala Santa or holy stairs. These stairs are said to have been climbed by Christ in the house of Pontius Pilate at the time of his trial and bought to Rome by St Helena, mother of Emperor Constantine. No foot may touch the stairs so the faithful climb on their knees.

When you are ready to leave you can again take the 117 bus all the way back to the Piazza del Popolo.

Today we will visit St Peters and the Vatican Museums. There are various ways that you can reach the sovereign state of the Vatican - by metro or bus but I am going to suggest that we use the 116 once more as this will enable us  to walk the route that pilgrims used in the past. Depending on where you are staying in the city you can  pick up the 116 at various points. If near the 
Spanish Steps then head for the Column of Immaculate Conception (pictured below). The 116 bus stop is located in the street beyond the column, Via Due Macelli
Column of Immaculate Conception
If you are closer to the Via del Corso then pick up the bus outside the Parliament building on Piazza del Parliamento.

You are taking the bus as far as  Zanardelli  (6 stops from Due Macelli, 3 from Parliamento. Walk down Via Zanardelli & head right in to Via di Coronari.The street is named after the sellers of sacred objects, particularly rosary beads who traded with  medieval pilgrims who thronged this street on their way to St Peters. The crowds proved hazardous in the Holy Year of 1450 when around 200 pilgrims died either by being crushed or drowning in the Tiber. Today the street is a reminder of Renaissance Rome and is lined with antique shops. In mid to late May a two week antique fair is held here when the street is lit with candles and the shops stay open late.
Turn right at the end of Via dei Coronari to reach Ponte Sant'Angelo. The angels on this magnificent bridge were designed by Bernini and carved by his best students. The angels replaced gallows that used to line the route over the bridge.
Ponte Sant'Angelo

Statues of St Peter & St Paul can be seen at start of bridge and the angels represent pain, suffering & sacrifice of Jesus. The  second angel’ on right is St Veronica who holds a veil with image of Jesus. Legend has it that she wiped the face of crucified Christ with her veil & image appeared on it.

Bernini Angel

Walk across the bridge towards the impressive Castel Sant'Angelo which was originally the tomb of Emperor Hadrian and later became a fortress.
Castel Sant'Angelo

Via D Conciliazione

Turn left after the bridge and cross Piazza Pia to bring you on to Via D Conciliazione. This road was created in 1932 by Mussolini to provide a monumental approach to St Peters. 

Walk in to St Peter's Square and admire the graceful Bernini colonnade that appears to welcome you with open arms. Look for the  circles on either side of the square. If you stand on one of these circles and look to the columns the three rows appear as one - a very clever optical illusion!

Don't be put off by the long line to pass through security to enter the basilica as it moves very quickly. However the dress code is strictly enforced here so make sure that shoulders and knees are covered.

I have covered some of the highlights of St Peters in my previous post and I highly recommend DK Eyewitness Rome  as a useful tool as it includes a guided tour of St Peters for you to follow.
After your self guided tour leave the basilica and head towards the left hand colonnade. Pass through the columns and follow the Vatican walls around to the Vatican Museum entrance. Again do not be put off by the queues as hopefully you will have purchased your 'skip the line' tickets online here before you left home. You will need to exchange your paper confirmation for tickets once inside the museums but then you are all set to seek out the cafe for lunch. The food here is perfectly OK but what makes eating here worthwhile is the view of St Peter's dome from the outside tables.

Once you are refreshed then begin to explore the museum. Again, if this is your first visit, I suggest concentrating on the highlights and using a guidebook as a self guided tour. The museum will undoubtedly be busy and the Sistine chapel will not be a quiet contemplative place to be but as long as you are prepared for crowds then nothing should stop you from witnessing Michelangelo's sublime masterpiece of the Sistine chapel ceiling at the end of your tour.

After you have exited the museum retrace your steps back as far as Piazza del Risorgimento then head down Via Ottaviano to pick up the metro back to the city.

I think you will agree that the three day travel card was good value for money. Extra information on buses and metro can be found on the ATAC website which is the official site for public transport in the Rome area.
Happy travels!

Friday, 2 November 2012

What Lies Beneath

Rome is an absolute delight at street level - history on every corner, piazzas perfect for people watching & green spaces for 'time out'. Underneath your feet , however, is a whole city for you to discover as this itinerary attempts to show you.


First on our subterranean itinerary is the church of San Clemente on Via di San Giovanni in Laterano (Mon-Sat 9.00-12.30, 3.00-6.00, Sun  noon-6.00.  €5 for excavations) This can easily be reached by taking the metro to Colosseo then walking up Via di San Giovanni until you reach the church. The building itself is a perfect introduction to our journey back in time through its many layers.
The church is in the care of Irish Dominicans who are still continuing the excavations started in 1857.

 As you enter the church look up to the Baroque ceiling which was added in the 18th century. 
                                                                                                                            The stunning mosaics in the apse & Cosmati floor originate in Medieval times but it is believed that the mosaics design(and maybe even some of the tiles) were taken from the original 4th century church which, after paying our €5, we will now descend to see.

The church we see here was rebuilt after the Normans sacked this part of Rome in 1084 and it became the foundations of the basilica above
Here are remains of frescoes, some of which depict the life of St Clement, the fourth pope who was banished to the Crimea by Emperor Trajan & forced to work in the mines. According to tradition he was martyred by being tied to an anchor and thrown in to the Black Sea.

We descend via an ancient staircase which originally would have connected the ground floor of a large Roman house to its basement. Here we see the remains of  two 1st century buildings the first of which contains a sanctuary to the Persian God Mithras. The dark room is the Mithraum, a meeting place where the followers of Mithras were initiated. The second room, the triclinium, was a place of worship with two rows of benches facing an altar.The cult of Mithras was popular with troops serving in the legions.
The second building is a public building - believed to be a warehouse or mint.

We can't go down any further but the lowest level can be glimpsed through an iron grille at the end of the corridor.Here are the remains of houses destroyed in Nero's fire of AD64. I'm sure you will have been aware of the sound of rushing water as you have made your way through the excavations. This is from a tunnel which was made to carry water to the Cloaca Maxima (Great Drain) in the forum and  the source is either a submerged ancient aqueduct or an underground spring. The water supply is pure & was used by the Dominicans in the water shortages of WWII.
As you leave the church take a few moments respite in the delightful colonnaded courtyard where you can reflect on the two thousand years you have travelled back to in one morning.

You may also reflect on where you would like lunch and fortunately I have a suggestion which is just across the road - Luzzi, Via di San Giovanni in Laterano 88. As it is Thursday you can be sure that gnocchi will be on the menu. You will certainly enjoy the fun atmosphere at this bustling, cheap trattoria. Although it is classed as a pizzeria you may be better off with pasta or the aforementioned gnocchi at lunchtime as the pizza chef  normally only works the evening shift.

Your destination after lunch will have required pre-booking before you arrived in Rome. You are going to tour the Colosseum but not just any guided tour. You are going to tour the underground & third tier. Booking this is straightforward if you follow this link  In the middle column with the picture of the Colosseum scroll about half way down & you will see an option to 'collect onsite' Click on this & enter the date you wish to visit. This will bring up a list of tours including 'underground tour' Click on the time you require & you are all set!
Hopefully you will have secured an afternoon slot so all that remains for you to do is make your way to the Colosseum & pick up your tickets. Pre-booking will have ensured that you 'skip the line'.
The Colosseum needs no introduction as it is one of the iconic sights of Rome. Indeed, I defy anyone not to be moved by the sight of the Colosseum as you exit the metro & see it before you for the first time.
This tour not only gives you the history of this amphitheatre commissioned by Vespasian in AD72 (& also explains how it became known as the Colosseum) but allows you to follow in the footsteps of the gladiators themselves.
You start by walking across the recreated floor of the arena, covered in sand as it would have been for the games that took place here.

You then enter the passage way that the gladiators would have taken from the Ludus Magnus or Gladiator training school into the arena. There were two ways out of the arena for gladiators. Either the same way as they came in - as a corpse or as a triumphal exit on to the the Via Sacra which we see straight ahead.

You then will see the area below the arena floor where the exotic wild animals were kept that were an integral part of any games. You can only begin to imagine the sounds & smells here, especially as the niches must have been extremely small for the large beasts. You will also see evidence of the intricate lift system that transported them to the floor above.

As a total contrast you now ascend to the third tier. In Imperial times this is where you would view the games from if you were poor, a woman or a slave. Today this tier gives us a glorious view, not only into the arena itself but also of the Forum, Arch of Constantine and of the foundations of Nero's Bath House - part of the Domus Aurea or 'Golden House. 

Your ticket to the Colosseum also includes the Forum & Palatine but we will save that until tomorrow as it is valid for two consecutive days. 
You now deserve a well earned rest in preparation for your subterranean dinner!
I'm actually going to suggest two restaurants to you but they are both in the same area. You will need to make your way to the Teatro Argentina are but as this is a transport hub for both buses & trams it shouldn't be a problem to get here from wherever you are staying in the city. The best way to find transport information is to check the ATAC Roma site. About half way down the page you will find a handy route planner tool. 
Before dinner we should take a look at the Area Sacra excavation site. This gives a good indication of how far above the original Roman buildings the  street level is today.

The remains that you see are four temples of the Republican era and formed part of the Theatre of Pompey. The reconstructions below help to put the ruins into context.                                                                                                                           

The first shows the situation of the complex in relation to the Tiber.

The second shows how the four temples (at the top of the picture) fit into the complex itself. The small square building behind the temples is the Curia of Pompey - a very significant building as it was where Julius Caesar was murdered on the 15th March 44BC.

Whilst contemplating the historical significance of this site you may spot the odd cat or two as the south west corner is a cat sanctuary for Rome's abandoned cats.

Now for dinner. Both restaurants I'm suggesting are actually built under the  Theatre of Pompey. HosteriaCostanza, Piazza del Paradiso and Da Pancrazio, Piazza del Biscione - the basement dining room is where you want to be if you choose this restaurant.

Whichever you choose you can be sure that you will be feasting on traditional Roman dishes in a unique atmosphere.

This morning requires you to think about lunch (probably before you have even had breakfast!) If you would like to picnic (I have the perfect spot) you will need to pick up supplies. I do have an alternative if an 'al fresco'  lunch doesn't appeal.
Make your way to the entrance to the Forum on the Via dei Fori Imperiali and show your ticket from yesterday. Now the Forum (and indeed the Palatine) are  tricky for first time visitors. Without some form of guidance they appear to be 'just a pile of ruins'. However  you can download free guides to ensure that your visit is fruitful. From the point of view of our 'underground' itinerary I would like to point you in the direction of the Cloaca Maxima, the 'Great Drain' that we mentioned in yesterdays visit to San Clemente. Walk down from the Temple of Saturn, alongside the Basilica Giulia then turn right into Viscus Tuscus, originally a shopping street. About half way along on the right hand side you will the mouth of the Cloaca Maxima. This was Rome's first sewer, built around 600BC, to divert the stream  that flowed through the valley into the Tiber. 

After you have taken in the sights of the Forum you will climb up to the Palatine Hill. Take the steps near the Arch of Titus. Again this is a huge area with lots to discover but it does demand time & patience. It is the birthplace of the city founded by Romulus. Emperor Augustus was born here & his successors ran the Empire from the Imperial Palace that he built on this very hill. I'm going to suggest that we take in a view then enjoy wandering among the ruins before leaving by the exit on Via di San Gregorio. After all if you throw your coin in the Trevi Fountain you are sure to return to Rome & you can study the Palatine further on a second visit if you are so inclined!
As you reach the top of the steps you will see the Farnese Gardens signposted to your right. The gardens themselves were one of the first botanical gardens in Europe when they were designed in the 16th century for the Farnese family.
Beneath the gardens lie the ruins of the palace built by Tiberius.
Enjoy a stroll under the orange trees that line the paths as you make your way to the terrace for fine views of the Forum.

If you wander in the direction of the stadium you will be perfectly placed for the exit.
Where we head after you exit the Palatine depends on your lunch choice. If you have chosen the picnic option we will be walking to Villa Celimontana.  

To reach this idyllic spot turn right on to Via di San Gregorio, cross the road & head towards Piazza di Porta Capena. As you reach the Piazza look for a turning on the left - Salita di San Gregorio. Follow this road all the way along until it bears right & becomes the Clivio Scauri. A little way  along on your left you will see the entrance to Case Romane which we will visit after lunch (it is closed between 1.00 - 3.00). Carry on a short way & straight ahead you will see the entrance to Villa Celimontana. Pick your spot & enjoy lunch!
If you have chosen the trattoria option then you need to turn left as you exit the Palatine, cross the road & head in the direction of the Colosseum. Look for Via Claudia on the right & walk up this road. You are heading for Taverna dei Quaranta which will be on the left side of the road. Enjoy a leisurely lunch in  friendly surroundings. After refuelling carry on to the Case Romane by crossing the road and carrying on along Via Claudia. Take a right turn on to Via San Paolo della Croce. This will bring you to the entrance. Pay your €6 & visit the small exhibition which tells the story of the Roman houses beneath the church of San Giovanni and  Paolo which were discovered during excavations in 1887. Then enter the dwellings themselves which have amazing frescoes still intact.

A small but beautifully presented museum ends your tour where amongst many objects you will see a fine collection of amphorae.

Again it it time for a well earned rest before venturing into Trastevere for dinner.
Trastevere is a delightful area to stroll around before dinner. The main square of Santa Maria in Trastevere is full of life but the surrounding streets are just as characterful. If you like a beer before dinner I can recommend a couple of places - both on Via Benedetta. Bir e Fud sells have guessed it & food! The beer on tap is brewed just north of Rome. Ma che siete venuti a fa is a tiny 'hole in the wall' sort of place but it has an amazing range of artisan beers.
For  dinner I'm suggesting La Cisterna on Via Cisterna. Take  Via San Francesco from Piazza Santa Maria & Via Cisterna will be on your left.
This traditional spot plays Roman songs and serves local pasta dishes. After your meal take a wander into the restaurant’s underground level to see the ancient Roman well. The proprietors encourage guests to throw a coin into the well and toast their safe return with a glass of prosecco.


Again, today will have required pre-booking here as we are going to visit

the necropolis underneath St Peters. This is known as the Scavi tour. Hopefully you will get a morning slot but if you only manage to secure places on the afternoon tour then simply swap this itinerary around.
Explore St Peter's Basilica either before or after the tour depending on the time slot that you are allocated. If you head to the right hand side as you enter you will see Michelangelo's sublime Pieta, created when he was only 25 years old. Sadly this is now behind glass after an attack in 1972.

Close by is the tomb of Pope John Paul II. 

At the end of the nave you will see a life size statue of St Peter whose right foot is worn away from centuries of veneration by pilgrims.

The Baldacchino or canopy over the main altar is the work of Bernini who used bronze from the roof of the Pantheon to complete the work.

Don't forget to look up at the magnificent dome. The letters of the Latin inscriptions are 6 feet tall!

Set in the floor are 28 marks comparing the length of the nave with the world's largest churches.

To access the Scavi tour you need to walk through the right hand colonnade as you leave the Basilica & head to the security screening area. Once through 
show your reservation to the Swiss Army Guard who will point you to the Scavi entrance.

Scavi entrance

You will start your visit 30 feet below St Peter's in a cemetery from Roman times. You will walk along an ancient road lined with mausoleums. It ends with a glimpse of the tomb of St Peter.

It is truly an amazing tour worth the pre-planning as daily numbers are limited. Be aware that the atmosphere is  very humid so I'm sure the fresh air will be very welcome as you walk to my suggested lunch spot. You will need to exit through the right hand colonnade as you leave St Peters then walk alongside the Vatican walls towards Piazza del Risorgimento. Shortly after you leave the colonnade look to the right for a stall that sells a unique souvenir. Everyone should go home with a lollipope!

Once you have reached Piazza del Risorgimento take the second road on the right - Via Cola di Rienzo. This is a good street for inexpensive shopping but it also includes a fabulous deli - Franchi. A good place for a 'stand up lunch stop'. I recommend the suppli (fried rice balls stuffed with mozzarella) that you simply have to try whilst in Rome. After lunch take the metro from Ottaviano to Barberini. To reach the metro cross the road from Franchi & take Via Fabio Massimo. Carry on along this road until you see Via Giulio Cesere on your left. This will lead you to the metro station.
When  you reach Barberini  take Via del Tritone and follow the signs for the Trevi fountain. There will be crowds but you do need to throw your coins in to ensure your return to the Eternal city!
Of course you couldn't come to Rome without experiencing the Trevi but another reason for being in this area is to visit the La Citta del'Aqua. A Roman apartment block from the first century AD was discovered whilst renovating the Trevi cinema.Young in Rome has a good article on the excavation & you should find it easily as it is signposted from the Trevi Fountain. Afterwards why not take refreshments in Harry's Bar, part of the Mondadori bookshop where you can again view the ruins through a glass floor.
Depending on the time you will either be able to rest up or have to make your way to your 5.00pm wine tasting venue. Again you will have booked your place for 'Sparkling Saturday's' at VinoRoma. This is an absolute 'must do' for not only is Hande a superb sommelier but also a good source of information on the city. The icing on the cake is a visit to her wine cellar.

My suggestion for dinner is Trattoria Monte, Via di San Vito which is not too far to walk from VinoRoma. This friendly trattoria specialises in delicious food from the Le Marche region. Enjoy your evening!

First stop this morning is the Capuchin Museum & Crypt (€6) on Via Veneto. The crypt contains the bones of 4,000 friars which are arranged as a mosaic - creepy! Also a very sobering experience as as a panal reminds us ' What you are now, we once were. What we are now, you will become'. 
Enough of this gloom & doom - let's 'do' brunch! I'm going to suggest a couple of places both of which open at 12.30 - L'Asino D'Oro, Via Boschetto 73 & Open Colonna, Via Milano 9. Both are light, airy places to dine which will contrast with the underground restaurants you have experienced so far. 
For the final visit of this 'what lies beneath' itinerary I'm recommending Domus Romane , Palazzo Valentini. You will have needed to have booked the 2.00pm tour in English here as far in advance as is possible as places are limited. Palazzo Valentini is a 10 minute walk from both L'Asino D'Oro & Open Colonna. You can get directions from both to Palazzo Valentini here.
Palazzo Valentini
Once you reach Palazzo Valentini 
walk through the arch way until you reach the courtyard. The entrance to the Domus Romane is on your left. What you will see are the remains of two lavish villas but presented in a way that you will not have seen before. I can't think of a more fitting way to end our tour of underground Rome in which we have travelled back through many centuries together.