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The Accidental Tourists-the Adamsons hit Rome (and Rome hits back)!

The Accidental Tourists-the Adamsons hit Rome (and Rome hits back)!

Old Sep 18th, 2012, 10:01 AM
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Part Two, Saturday – 9am after a fantastic night’s sleep

Our second day (Saturday) in Rome, started out with two of the really dumb, absent minded things I did in Rome. (Or, I went to Rome, but my brain stayed home!)

We left off with my sunglasses deciding to stay behind at the norcineria in Camp de Fiori (accident). At least I knew where they were and we didn’t mind going back (and getting some more pizza). I just hoped the sunglasses would still be there. As we were getting ready that morning and were making sure we have everything we needed, I said “Hey, do you have the camera?”

“Uh, no…don’t you?” Are you kidding me? We realized we must have left it on the table at the club upstairs…we had stopped in for a last glass of Prosecco before turning in the night before. So, up we went…nope, not there. Asked some of the staff, nothing! *@#$!!!

So, we went downstairs and asked Adriano to check. Nothing.
Well, that’s what you get for not paying attention. Not sure what to do. Well, that’s not true…first you enjoy the massive breakfast buffet at the Cavalieri. If you can think of it, it is on the buffet there. I usually don’t like buffets, but this one is terrific. Lots of cornetti, crusty breads (and butter, of course), fresh fruits, fresh juices, prosciutto, bacon, eggs every style, potatoes (heavenly), sausages…on and on!

But, the best thing at breakfast was these little round goodies that reminded me of a cross between a beignet and an American doughnut. We couldn’t get enough of them. We coined a term for them…Amazeballs! Now, that’s a term, my girl, Giuliana Rancic uses all the time on “Fashion Police” to describe something really cool, awesome, etc…and, she is from Naples! So…the little round goodies will forever be Amazeballs!

We did go back to the concierge desk and asked Adriano to phone the norcineria and they did have the sunglasses. We gave them our name and said we would be there in a few minutes to pick them up. At least, I would get those back. But, we still had the whole trip to go…we needed a camera. (I am sure that by now, Adriano is thinking I am the dumbest chick on the planet, but he never showed it. And, we love him for that)!

Alright, so we picked up the sunglasses and they were thrilled to be back with their rightful owner.
More wrong turns and wandering around (did we learn nothing yesterday?). We ended up at Largo Argentina and checked in on the resident cats. OK, we had heard of that and it’s always cool to see ruins in the middle of the city. Good accident.

We eventually wandered around some more (with all the expected wrong turns) and realized we were finding our way to the Pantheon. Progress! We were going to end up somewhere we meant to go, at last!

No time to go inside, but a quick photo of the Bernini elephant obelisk outside Santa Maria sopra Minerva.

On to the Pantheon, with 2000 of our closest friends. Incredible structure and I love it so much more than the Pantheon in Paris. It’s just kind of cold and uninteresting, but the original in Rome is impressive! We definitely were trying to figure out the “doorways” around the bottom of the dome and the light factor. It was noon and the sun was shining squarely on one of them. Chaz’ original back is engineering, so this is his area. A look at Rafael’s tomb, the massive oculus (and remembering reading that if it ever snows in Rome, you should go to the Pantheon to see the snow fall though the oculus) and we were off.

Piazza Navona was the next stop. Loving the fountains everywhere in Rome! Bernini’s Fountain of the Four Rivers is out front and then we decided to check out Sant Agnese in Agone while we were there. Another beautiful Rome church and a place where Borromini also has significant influence.

I decided we needed to buy another camera, as the iPhone pictures we were taking would not do! We had a tour scheduled with Daniella Hunt to Hadrian’s Villa and Villa d ‘Este that afternoon. Chaz was hoping it would still be found (and I was too), but no camera for the whole night? I couldn’t take it…I broke down and bought one (consider it a “stupid” fee). I figured if we got the camera back, great. But, if we didn’t, we would need a camera for the rest of the trip and Sunday morning would not be the time to get one. Our Coliseum tour was at 1:15 on Sunday and I didn’t want to chance it.

All that decision making, required some pizza consolation. Forno, to the rescue. We ordered pizza bianca and pizza rosso and survived the ordering process, despite the fact that we speak no Italian. Still yummy. We decided the pizza bianca is way better than the rosso, at Forno!

Time to head back to the hotel and clean up for the trek to Tivoli.

As soon as we walked in the room, a note slid under the door. At the same time, I saw the message light on the phone blinking. Yippee, a camera was turned in!

Back to Adriano again, who walked me back to ID the camera…a bit like identifying a body. We got the camera back. Someone thought it was theirs and realized it wasn’t that morning and turned it in. We never found out who turned it in. Fortunately, there were no “strange” photos on the camera. LOL.

We met Daniella in the hotel lobby and were off to Tivoli. Daniella is a hoot. Lots of fun and we hit it off immediately. Now, know this, if you hire Daniella you will be asked lots of questions to draw you in and gain your participation. She doesn’t just tell you what she knows about the history or the site. Bring your brain! I love that about her. She just wants to get you thinking and to have you interact.

Hot and sunny at the Hadrian’s House. Wow, what a complex out there! We learned it was more than a residence but an administrative center and probably designed to keep his staff and advisors away from the plotters and schemers in Rome. Daniella tells you so much about what Hadrian was like, his miserable marriage and his young boy toy (hence, the miserable marriage and bitter wife).

Hadrian would describe things he had seen on his travels and then have them recreated at his Villa. He traveled to England and all the way to Egypt. I loved his own private island he had built. I would love to have my own little private island. I also loved the huge complex with fountains and a huge pool used for parties and huge dinners.

It is a very large site and without some knowledge of what the ruins used to be and insight on Hadrian, we would not have gotten as much out of it. We also got to sample some wild arugula on the property (washed by Daniella) and she showed us the pine cone that pignoli come from. History, botany…full service! It was hilarious later when she pointed out some little black balls on the ground and Chaz went with the botany theme and quickly picked one up! Daniella explained that he had picked up a goat turd (while dying laughing)! Thank God, he didn’t sample it. Another happy accident.

We met back up with Emilio, the driver, and headed into Tivoli. Daniella asked what we wanted to do for dinner. We took her suggestion and headed to a great little restaurant in Marcellina. On the way we saw a bit of the countryside and a massive waterfall from the Anio river.

The town is less than impressive, but we enjoyed the little seafood restaurant and we all had a good time. It was nice to have some down time before Villa d ‘Este opened at 8:30. We had aperitivo out front with some nice olives and mini pizza rosso, while catching La Passeggiata. It was an interesting group of people and Marcellina might be the white trash town of the area. (Sorry, no offense intended here, all in good fun) Some unusual fashion choices, for sure!

We had all kinds of mussels, shrimp, fish, etc…for dinner and I loved the shrimp in tomato sauce with chickpeas! Unusual and yummy. I was glad Emilio was driving the winding roads back to Tivoli!

Now, here is where I wish I had a really great camera. True, we now have two cameras, but without a great flash, you can’t capture the beautiful fountains at Villa d ‘Este. But, seeing it at night is worth it. We could not believe how gorgeous this place was. The Cardinal did it up right! We also lucked out at caught the organ playing fountain at 10pm. I can’t believe that it plays off water and the fountains! There are more fountains than you can imagine and they are all so gorgeous. It is a special place to visit.
Villa d’ Este was a favorite of ours, and again, Daniella brought it to life. If you are in Rome in summer, try to go to the evening hours there. We hope to go back during the day, at some point. We had a clear, cool night there! Very welcome, after the sunny, hot afternoon at Hadrian’s Villa. We got in around midnight. It was a long day but we absolutely enjoyed Daniella and the sites at Tivoli! A plus rating for all!

It was a really great day in Rome, accidents and all.
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Old Sep 18th, 2012, 10:14 AM
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Hi, LCI....it's my way of re-living my vacation while getting back to my regular life! I am sure there is something else I should be doing right now (like unpacking)!
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Old Sep 18th, 2012, 11:15 AM
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Loving this report and the pictures from the first day are great!
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Old Sep 18th, 2012, 11:22 AM
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Sounds quite fabulous so far, even accounting for the lost-and-found adventures
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Old Sep 18th, 2012, 03:25 PM
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I hope to get day photos up tomorrow.

Uhoh, it was pretty fabulous. We absolutely saw a lot even when we were lost!
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Old Sep 18th, 2012, 05:18 PM
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Fun report & great photos!

I just checked w/ Elizabeth M to see if we could do a food tour and she'll be in Venice. So sad! But of course she's working on an EatVenice app so its good news for future Venice travelers. Her EatRome app is the best.
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Old Sep 18th, 2012, 05:34 PM
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Check with Katie Parla about a food tour. She also comes highly recommended!

http://www.katieparla.com/tours/

If you are interested in wine, VinoRoma does terrific tastings. More on that later!

www.vinoroma.com/
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Old Sep 18th, 2012, 07:20 PM
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ttt
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Old Sep 19th, 2012, 03:24 AM
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Day 2 photo link:

http://s1265.photobucket.com/albums/.../Rome-day%202/
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Old Sep 19th, 2012, 03:29 AM
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TTT
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Old Sep 19th, 2012, 05:21 AM
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Loved the day 2 pictures, especially the pictures from the dinner in Marcellina (big surprise there...food porn!). And the driver Emilio is a snazzy dresser & pretty easy on the eyes! ;-)
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Old Sep 19th, 2012, 05:59 AM
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Great pictures! I haven't even gone on our first trip, and now after seeing your pictures, I'm already thinking about a second trip since I know we won't have time to fit it all in the first go around!!!
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Old Sep 19th, 2012, 08:36 AM
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Thanks, LCI...Emilio was so nice....didn't speak alot of English (more then my Italian) but you could see the recognition when he understood what we were saying. We had to ask him to join us but he could not have any wine, obviously. We had alot of fun with Emilio and Daniella. And he he tried to decline the tip, but he was so nice to nit charge us extra for the trip to Marcellina, we wanted to give him something extra. Maybe you and "the nose" should meet Emilio in November!

ShellD- you are so right. I am reading a book on Bernini and Borromini and on the flight home I was finding all kinds of things we did not see, plus several things we already knew we didn't get to. We will have to go back for sure.
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Old Sep 19th, 2012, 08:37 AM
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Denise: super writing, and great stories! You guys know how to travel! I know you work hard to get the time for these trips, and thanks so much for carrying the rest of us along!
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Old Sep 19th, 2012, 10:55 AM
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Do you mind sharing the cost of your food tour with Elizabeth? Sounds fabulous! Great report.
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Old Sep 19th, 2012, 12:48 PM
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Thanks taconic! Glad to bring you along....still have dreams of the ultimate Fodors GTG with lots of Fodors friends.

Caze, it was around 500 euro, which includes all the food, drinks and wine (and it was alot) and three hours of her time. I can't remember if it was a flat rate for the tour or if it was a certain amount per person. It was a private tour but she also does group food tours that also include gelato and coffee stops.
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Old Sep 19th, 2012, 01:54 PM
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denise - I've been looking forward to your trip report ever since you posted your planning thread, and you haven't disappointed me.

As I am highly unlikely to stay at the Hilton, or do a $500 food tour, I'm really enjoying travelling with you.

keep it up!
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Old Sep 19th, 2012, 03:45 PM
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Re; Pantheon
"We definitely were trying to figure out the "doorways" around the bottom of the dome and the light factor. It was noon and the sun was shining squarely on one of them.'

The sunbeam on that "doorway" was just a fluke, it had to shine in somewhere that day and it just happened to be there.

Those windows also peaked my interest when I 1st saw them, I just figured they were statue niches.
This is what I recall when I searched about them.

The "doorways" are actually 'fake windows' or I should say they once were.

The 14 windows had a bronze grate/screen in each of them, behind this there was a small hole to the outside that would allow light in.

This dim light really didn't do anything to brighten the inside of the Pantheon but it did give the illusion that the illuminated window was now somewhat real.

I once read that the windows gave the illusion that the bottom of the dome was Earth-based with the dome as the Heavens above?

In the Renaissance they liked their idea better and stripped off the original design.

They put pediments over the windows, changed the design of the sections between the windows, took out the bronze screens and turned the windows into statue niches.

In the 20thC using paintings or drawings or both they reconstructed 2 of the windows, the space between them and the low marble wall in front of them back to the original design which once encircled the entire lower dome.

You can see that reconstructed section in these 2 photos, in both photos the reconstructed original section is to the right of center.
You can't see the detail in either photo but it is quite beautiful and colorful.
http://tinyurl.com/9p768om AND http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedi...ntheon_360.jpg Regards, Walter
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Old Sep 19th, 2012, 04:56 PM
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Walter, thanks...what an explanation! You are a wealth of knowledge.

Annhig, we are very lucky to get to do some of the tings we do. It's just the two of us, so at least we aren't blowing some poor kids college fund on our travel. But, at least we can usually get the plane fare or hotel on points, which helps alot! Glad you are enjoying the report. As with every trip, You plot and plan for months and the trip just flies by!
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Old Sep 19th, 2012, 06:35 PM
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Denise: wonderful second day photos of Hadrian's villa etc.

I talked DH in to going to the Boston GTG on October 6. He thinks I'm daft, but I'll bet we'll meet lots of Fodor's superstars! Wish you were going to be there. Or are you?
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