First things first. The Sofitel is just a couple ok blocks from the Via Veneto, which means the obligatory first stop in our stay is Harry’s Bar for a Bellini (Proseco and peach).
We grabbed a sidewalk table and ordered two of these classic drinks, invented at the original Harry’s in Venice. A bit on the expensive side, but more than offset by the complimentary chips, olives, peanuts, and mini grilled-cheese sandwiches. We people watched as we sipped our Bellinis and planned our strategy for the day. We figured we’d take in the three major Piazzas: Navona, Campo de Fiore, and della Rotunda, to see what was going on.
Rome, as always, is noisy and busy. Everything is exaggerated here. That’s part of why we like it so much. The other parts are food and history. As to the former, it seems that everyplace that serves food is now a pizzeria – or maybe we just never noticed it before. As to the latter, every corner, every turn, brings another thousand-plus year old site into view. As our taxi wound its way to the Piazza Navona, we were again struck by the colossal apparent disorganization of Rome. Street names change block by block, making it difficult to navigate. Streets run one-way for a block or two, then the direction changes meaning you need to lurch from block to block to reach your destination.
We arrived at Piazza Navona to find it uncharacteristically quiet. The usual hordes of street performers and vendors were just a handful. Most of the vendors were selling selfie sticks instead of the usual knock-off bags and other fashion items of the past. Maybe they’ve clamped down on this, but it was strange not being offered Mark Jacobs and Michael Kors knock offs for five Euro.
We strolled around a bit, then decided to navigate to Campo Fiore, a large square where a perpetual market is always in swing. In spring, it’s overloaded with vegetables and other food products. In fall it’s mostly bric-a-brac, t-shirts, soccer balls, and the like. We strolled around for a bit, then grabbed a table for a glass of wine and some people watching. Then, it was on to the Pantheon and the Piazza della Rotunda. This is always a favorite, with the centuries-old Pantheon facing on the large Piazza. We pulled up at a café and ordered a glass of wine while we rested our feet from all of the walking we’d done. People watching here is always fun, so we sat back and indulged. We were still full from the spread at Harry’s so passed on lunch. Finally, at around 5 pm, we headed back to the Sofitel and a quick snooze before dinner.
We decided to head up to La Terrasse at the Sofitel for dinner, and were rewarded with a nice table with a view for a light meal. A bottle of a local Chardonnay was the perfect end to the day, while I enjoyed my pasta and David his risotto. Then it was off to bed, as tomorrow is my first dialysis sessi0n in Rome.