No trip to Rome would be complete without spending a considerable time at Il Foro Romano, once the political heart of the empire and now a jaw-dropping mix of ruins and perfectly-preserved civic buildings that completely blow your mind.
Trying to make sense of it all is a bit of a challenge, unless you know your Roman historical onions but even without a complete understanding of what is where and who did what to whom, it is a place not to be missed. Ever the girl with the camera, I was listening to my audio guide and taking photographs with my Nikon and my iPhone as I went round (I’m such a tourist…).
My favourite bit is the Monte Palatino, the green hilly area that overlooks Il Foro. Home to orange groves, cypresses and the Farnese gardens, this is where Rome’s emperors built their grand homes. It is a peaceful oasis with magnificent views over Il Foro in one direction and the Colloseum in the other - well worth the climb.
There’s a more or less perfectly preserved temple in the middle of Il Foro with another oculus, although this one has been filled in. Most people seemed to miss it, but I stood like a fool in the centre, pointing my camera upwards. I think it was worth it…
When we first visited Rome on our honeymoon, we stayed in Trastevere, the former ghetto area which is popular with students and packed with narrow streets, local markets, bars and restaurants. We had a great time exploring the little squares at night finding new places to eat but we kept going back to this one little place on it’s own in a tiny residential square, where there was no menu, the wine was as good as you’d get anywhere and as cheap as they come, and the owners wrote your bill on the tablecloth. We loved that place and have often talked about it over the years.
So on Saturday night, after a chianti classico at Ai Tre Scalini (above - a bar/restaurant in the Monti area of Rome definitely worth a visit) we headed over to Trastevere on the bus in search of our honeymoon hangout.
To our delight, Augusto is still there, in Piazza di Renzi. There was a small queue outside but plenty of room and a warm welcome inside. It was the perfect way to end our last night in Rome.
Ciao Roma! Let’s hope we come back before another ten years have passed!