Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Churches & Chilling

Monday 24th June

Today we are revisiting churches in the Monti /Esqualine area but first,as the Trevi Fountain had been absolutely mobbed yesterday, we decided to get up early and find the Fontanina degli Innamorati (Lover’s Fountain) which is to the side of the main fountain. It is said that those couples who drink from it together will be faithful for life. We drank from it (just to make sure!)

Picked up provisions from the supermarket on our way back to the apartment and prepared ricotta pancakes with fresh fruit for breakfast.

Made our way to the church of St Pietro in Vincoli which houses the chains that held St Peter but also is famous for the tomb that Michelangelo created for Pope Julius II. The tomb was originally meant for St Peters and was to have been far grander. The statue of Moses is magnificent but we are more interested in the figure of Rachel to the left of Moses whom, it is believed, that  Michelangelo modelled on Felice della Rovere.
In fact this church was built by her father when he was Cardinal. To the left of the church’s facade is the palazzo that Cardinal della Rovere inhabited and in the garden behind he placed his collection of classical sculptures. When he became Pope Julius II he transferred the collection to the Vatican and they became the foundation of the Vatican Museums.

On to Santa Prassede which has the most gorgeous mosaics, especially in the Chapel of St Zeno. I just love these angels.

Finally on to Santa Maria Maggiore but this time we go in to the museum to view the presipio or Christmas crib that was created by Cambio in 1290, making it possibly the oldest presipio in existence.
The connection with Christmas doesn’t end here as back in the basilica, under the altar, is an urn of silver and rock crystal that contains a piece of the holy crib.

After our church visits we walk down Via Merulana & turn off to find Roscioli where we hope to pick up lunch to take back to the apartment. We are not disappointed as there is a marvellous choice from the tavolo calda.

After lunch on the terrace we spend the afternoon chilling out, leaving again around 5.30 to explore the streets of Monti. We discover Podere Vecciano which stocks products from a farm in Tuscany including olive oil & ceramics. I have my eye on several souvenirs to take home.

Drinks in Periodico Cafe , followed by dinner at Taverna di Fori Imperiale. This restaurant gets mixed reviews but I had been persuaded to book it by Elizabeth Minchilli, whose app ‘Eat Rome’ has been invaluable in planning this trip. I am so pleased that we did book as we had a wonderful dining experience. Not only was the food superb (my Pasta alla Romana with all the flavours of saltimbocca was amazing!) but the staff were so friendly towards everyone.

And so ends another day in the Eternal City.



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