Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Marble and a Market

Sunday 23rd June

We take the bus across the river to Lungotevere Mellini in Prati and cappuccino & cornetti from Antonini. The coffee & zabaione filled cornetti turn out to be the best we have had so far – such a shame that the staff were quite snooty. Maybe they were having an off day.

We walked over the river to the Ara Pacis. The Altar of Peace, built by Emperor Augustus is housed in a controversial building designed by Richard Meier and is the first architectural work to have been built in the city since the Second World War. I think it is a stunning building and love the way it allows everyone to see the beauty of the Ara Pacis without visiting the museum.
However we go in to see the  detail of the friezes up close.

The museum also has a model which shows the original situation of the altar as well as explaining how an obelisk cast a shadow right over the altar on Augustus’s birthday.

Although the figure of Augustus is damaged on the frieze you can still make out Marcus Agrippa as well as many other family members.

Outside the museum, on the walls, is the Rex Gestae Divi Augusti – a list of all the achievements of the Emperor.

Opposite the Ara Pacis is the Mausoleum of Augustus which looks a little tidier than the last time we visited. It would be great to think that this important monument could be restored to glory.

In the portico of the Piazza Augusto Imperatore a market is taking place. There are some lovely pieces of glassware as well as table linens.

We walk in the direction of the Pantheon then the Trevi fountain but don’t use a map in the hope of discovering some little alley or street that we haven’t seen before. This works as we stumble upon the perfect example of Rococo Rome in the Piazza di Sant’Ignazio which is designed to resemble a theatre set.
The church itself is completely over the top - Baroque at its best. I love it!

Apparently there wasn’t enough money to include a dome so a fake perspective painting was used instead. From a certain spot in the aisle the painting looks like the real thing.

We have booked Sunday Brunch at Baccano – a relatively new bistro near the Trevi. It has a very French feel about it and whilst the brunch was good we think the aperitivo would be better value.

After brunch we visit La Citta del’Acqua which is literally round the corner. During the renovations for the Cinema Sala Trevi in 1999, these archaeological ruins were discovered and excavated. For 3 euro, you can descend the stairways to view the remains of a 4th C Roman mansion, and part of a Roman street. Also there is a cistern for the acqua vergine which supplies water to the Trevi fountain.


Our gelato stop today is Fatamorgana in the sweet little Piazza Zingari. We have flavours that we have tried & loved before – Thumbelina (violet, rose petal & almond) and Kentucky (dark chocolate & tobacco)

Back to the apartment to change & then out to Periodico Cafe for aperitivo. We are entertained by a group of drama students who each have a different story to tell.

Dinner tonight on our terrace – simply tomatoes, mozzarella & basil with fresh bread but sitting out under the Roman sky it tastes as heavenly as a five star meal.

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