Rome (Part Three), Italy
From Vatican City we re-entered Italy (not that it felt like we ever left) and headed for a market, only to find it was closed. Instead, we walked through a couple of piazzas, including the immensely long Piazza Navona. This piazza contained three fountains and dozens of street artists, all ready to sketch our portrait. It was probably much cheaper than Montmarte, but after that failed attempt we weren't in any hurry to have another go. We continued on and soon found the Pantheon, a dome-shaped church with a dark interior and not much of note to see.
It was wine o'clock by then, so we stopped for a drink in a tiny little restaurant in a narrow street. It was far from the touristy sights and therefore much cheaper than most bars in the city. Cocktails, white wine and red wine all made their way to our table, and each one was superb (it's not often that we enjoy the wine in Italy). It seemed easier to stay here for dinner than scout out another restaurant. My cannelloni was everything you would want in an Italian pasta dish, however Danny's minestrone was a little unconventional. For some reason it was made without tomato (this appeared to be a running theme), so it was really just a vegetable soup. It was tasty, but not what we expected from a minestrone. The owner and his daughter were quite friendly, chatting to us at length about Naples (where the man was from). They confirmed our feelings that Naples is unlike any other city in Italy, a fact I think the owner was quite proud of.
It was another early start the next day, this time for the Colosseum. We arrived not long after it opened and found almost no queue at all. The inside was impressive, but not quite as spectacular as the famous exterior. We were able to walk halfway around the bottom level and all the way around the second, so our hundreds of photos covered all possible angles. Next door was the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill, where we found additional ruins. Unfortunately, there was more rubble than building here, but it did give some great views over the city.
Afterwards, Danny headed off to a market while I found further ruins, a couple of churches and yet more views. Danny came back with prosciutto, Gorgonzola and a mini stovetop espresso machine - clearly he was shopping for himself today. I think this spree made it his favourite day in Rome.
Then it was time to leave this amazing city. We drove north of the city and found a small farmhouse where we could stay the night (in Italy it's called agriturismo, and it is like parking in someone's backyard. They don't even ask for ID). We were thankful for a peaceful night's sleep – none of the Rome traffic to wake us in the morning.