The View From Our Balcony

This morning we flew from Rome to Sicily, where we ended up at the Barone de Villagrande vineyard. You could not find a more abrupt change in setting. From the hustle and bustle of scooter-infested Rome, we came to a bucolic, absolutely quiet place on the footprint of Mt. Etna. As we enjoyed the greenery and the silence, the shadows lengthened on the vineyard terraces and gave the area a richer, more sculpted look.

Sicily is a very pretty place.

The Spanish Steps, The Trevi Fountain, And The Pantheon

After a refreshing birra, we ventured into serious Roman Tourist Territory. Our first stop was the Spanish Steps, shown in the photo above. Even though the Piazza di Spagna offers plenty of open space, the area was overrun with people. Still, the steps themselves are beautiful. We found that we enjoyed them most by simply looking at them from below, without climbing.

Weirdly, people were filling water bottles with water from the fountain right in front of the Spanish Steps, as the guy is doing in the photo above. That’s putting a lot of faith in the Roman municipal water system, and I wondered how many of the people who quaffed the fountain water ended up desperately regretting it a few hours later. I don’t think you could pay me enough Euros to drink fountain water, no matter how thirsty I might be.

It was a pretty day, and there were many people out and about. Even though it is still May, the temperatures were hot, and probably touched 90 degrees Fahrenheit. Because much of Rome is unshaded, walking from point to point can be steamy and sweaty work. The fact that the crowds were out, as indicated in the photo above, added a bit to the heat as we followed a well-traveled path from the Spanish Steps to the Trevi Fountain.

The Trevi Fountain is magnificent. It also is probably the most “selfied” photo opportunity in Rome. There are multiple levels around the fountain, and each one featured people jostling for position as they tried to take the perfect selfie. The photo below, of people gathered at the top tier of the fountain, gives you an idea of the selfie scrum that was underway. You couldn’t really move in any direction without checking to make sure you weren’t photobombing somebody’s selfie.

From the Trevi Fountain we followed the throngs over to the Pantheon, which is another magnificent structure shown in the photo below. The admission lines were long, so we didn’t go inside to check out the famous oculus, but instead just enjoyed the graceful lines of one of the world’s most famous buildings from an outside vantage point.

Many of the visitors to the Pantheon were camped out on the steps leading to an obelisk in the middle of the piazza in front of the Pantheon, hoping for a cool breeze to beat the heat. As for us, it was time to find some shade and a place to settle for a late lunch. We stumbled across a nice little sidewalk restaurant on a side street and enjoyed a light lunch al fresco. I polished off a wooden board of prosciutto and absolutely fresh mozzarella, washed down with another birra and guzzled water, and concluded that a bit more walking was in order.