As we were getting closer to the end of our Roman holiday, we had more time to spare for unplanned things. And we ended up wondering what is there to do in Rome after all the places we had already been to.
So on Monday morning we were back on the subway, heading to Ottaviano once again. When we visited the Vatican, we walked by Museo Leonardo Da Vinci Experience, and I promised Mathieu we’d go back to visit it before we go back home.
Museo Leonardo Da Vinci Experience
In Rome, you’ll find more than one museum about Leonardo Da Vinci’s inventions. After checking out some reviews, we considered this one was the best fit for us. It’s not very large, but it’s nice that you can play around with most of the replicas and see how they were supposed to work. You can see some of them in this photo collage:
We found it funny when the girl who gave us the tickets warned us these were replicas, and not the real things. Apparently, some tourists got angry because these weren’t Leonardo Da Vinci’s original pieces. As if people would get to touch and play with real, valuable works of art! It’s like going to the Louvre and making a fuss because you can’t touch the paint on the Mona Lisa.
Anyway, for us the visit was fun and it was a nice opportunity for Mathieu to take on the role of the teacher, explaining and showing me how some stuff worked and why other stuff didn’t.
To Piazza Cavour
After existing the Museum Leonardo Da Vinci Experience, we walked by Castel Sant’ Angelo again. We still didn’t go inside, but spent some time in the park next to it. And there, we got lost while looking for a shorter way to exit it in order to reach Piazza Cavour. We eventually went back the same way we came, and went around the small park.
We passed through Piazza dei Tribunali and admired the imposing building of the Supreme Court (Corte Suprema di Cassazione).
Then, we reached Piazza Cavour, which for some reason is one of my dad’s favorite places in Rome. (In all honesty, I find it nice, but not that nice.)
From Piazza Cavour we got on some buses which took us across town, to Basilica Papale di Santa Maria Maggiore.
Basilica Papale di Santa Maria Maggiore
Basilica Papale di Santa Maria Maggiore was built in 435 AD and it is the largest Catholic Marion church in Italy’s capital. Its combination of baroque, Romanesque and medieval architecture is truly impressive and a must-see when you visit Rome!
But, as luck has it, when we got to this grand basilica, it was surrounded by fences. We didn’t see anyone going in, so we didn’t make any effort in finding a less obvious possible entrance.
Instead, we went to take a walk on Via Urbana.
(Hint: when you don’t know what is there to do in Rome, just walk and you’re sure to come across something beautiful! 🙂 )
This street turned out to be a lovely surprise. Close to the northern end of Via Urbana, we came across Oratorio Santa Pudenziana, a lovely Catholic church. And all along the street, there were buildings with wooden blinders at the windows and lots of luscious, green ivy on the walls.
Lunch at Urbana 47
If you made it this far on this street, stop and have some delicious food at Urbana 47. They have home-made meals, but with a personal twist. And the decorum is really nice and fitting for the area.
We had some wonderful lasagna, paired with a really good, dry, red wine. And, for desert, we chose Tiramisu, of course. For me, this was the best Tiramisu I had during our trip. (You’ll discover Mathieu’s in the next article from the Roman Holiday series. 😉 )
We also had some free entertainment during our lunch. The owner of the flat on the first floor of the opposite building was a big animal lover. Through the open window of one room, you could see lots of birdcages. And at another window, several beautiful large dogs were coming out to check out all the people passing on the street.
It was a really enjoyable break!
To Via del Boschetto
We left Via Urbana and continued our walk on Via degli Zingari to reach Via del Boschetto.
Once again, here we found the hanging ivy, draping from the buildings and hanging from lamp posts. It was a gorgeous sight.
Hopping back to Piazza Venezia
Mathieu and I went back to Piazza Venezia to finally see Basilica di Santa Maria in Ara Coeli. But first, we looked for a place to have some coffee, and we found Via della Pilotta. It’s right next to Giardini di Montecavallo, and it’s covered by stone arched ever now and then.
We eventually decided on Le Lanterne, where the service was very good. And Mathieu thinks the lady who looked like the owner was French, because she spoke to some French customers and her accent was too good to not be a native speaker. Anyway, from the name to the decorations, to the accent of the lady, it was all nice and French. 🙂
Basilica di Santa Maria in Ara Coeli
It was lucky we had a nice break before climbing all those steps to Santa Maria in Ara Coeli! It was beautiful not only for its majestic interior, but also for the views it offers from the top of the staircase.
Searching for food in Rione Esquilino
Dinner time was bound to come soon. I proposed to Mathieu to go by subway to Vittorio Emanuele, then walk to the restaurant I fell in love with during my previous trip.
Once we got out of the metro station, I was surprised to see how much the area had changed in ten years, and not really for the better. On my first trip to Rome, it looked amazing, this was actually where we stayed.
Anyway, we got to Vecchia Roma and… it was full! We had no reservation and no chance of getting a table even if we wanted to wait. But we managed to book a table for the next evening.
The Huge Delicious pizzas of La Cuccuma
I remember we walked a lot until we reached La Cuccuma. Our grumbling stomachs were so grateful when they had the pizza from this place! Mathieu had a really pretty pizza, which looked healthy, like a salad on some tasty crust. I, on the other hand, went for a Quattro Formagi. Less pretty, but it was so good!
And the waitress was really nice and friendly, she reminded me a lot of Ana, one of my best friends. (Even you know about Ana: she took most of the pictures from the Amazing Balkan Road Trip series and is in lots of those travel stories.)
Stuffed and happy, we went back to our home way from home to get a good night’s rest. And we were already wondering what is there to do in Rome for the next day and a half, before our return flight.
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