Following our Vatican visit we jumped on the bus again. We decided to travel two stops before getting off. It was nearly 3.00pm and we hadn’t eaten lunch yet, so we stopped for a quick bite to eat in a restaurant before heading off in search of the Spanish Steps.
We reached them quite quickly. There were hundreds of people there, including several tour groups, and the steps themselves were crowded with people sitting in the sunshine. Marg and I climbed the steps, wondering what the great attraction was for so many people. We never quite worked it out. They’re undoubtedly a fine set of steps, but I’m not sure if they were ever connected with important people or events. I guess a guide would have been of use here. We didn’t stay long.
Just a short distance away was the Trevi Fountain. Once again, as expected, it was very crowded. It was beautiful, no doubt. And for anyone who remembers Anita Ekberg’s famous scene in La Dolce Vita where she wades around in the waters of the fountain in her evening dress, there is a nostalgic memory or two.
We’ve been treating ourselves with ice creams throughout this European trip, as a reward, I guess, for all the strenuous activity we’re doing. So when we saw a Magnum shop that allows people to determine their own toppings and form of chocolate coating, we went straight in and ordered one each. Yum!
The Church of St Ignatius of Loyola was our next stop on the way back. It suddenly emerged in a narrow side street, which seems quite typical of old cities like this one. You never know what you might chance upon when you turn a corner in Rome. Of course, it was beautiful inside, and once again, it was filled with magnificent art treasures. I particularly loved the painted ceilings.
The Pantheon was our final stop. They say it is the best preserved example of a Roman building in this city. It was once a temple, but now it is a church. It has a really interesting dome-shaped roof. There is a large hole in the centre of the dome where the rain comes in. There are small holes in the centre of the tiled floor for the rain water to drain away. Although not quite as ornate as some of the grander churches and cathedrals we’ve visited, the Pantheon still has much to admire, with its beautiful sculptures and massive columns.