Julianna, Baba, and I met our guide at the second palm tree near the Spanish Steps in Piazza di Spagna. The Spanish Steps within the square were littered with tourists from around the world, pausing to take a break from the late afternoon heat. There was a Baroque style fountain there that had been damaged by a rowdy dispute between the local soccer team and another team they were facing off. It cost millions to repair.
Valentino, the famous Italian fashion designer, had an office just around the corner, and just around the corner from that was a McDonalds. Valentino had started a long dispute in court because he did not like the stink of French fries. Continuing on through the narrow streets of Rome, our guide told us about two famous architects that had designed most of the buildings in the area and were rivals just like the artists Michelangelo and Raphael. She told us many stories such as this along our walk.
Our group cut through the most beautiful shopping mall on our way to the Trevi fountain and passed by the very first University. The Trevi fountain was full of wonderful details, but unfortunately wasn’t running due to construction. My sister still threw her three coins in the fountain. The guide told us an interesting story about how the barber across the street from the Trevi fountain got angry many times at the architect who built it many times during its construction, and so the architect put a large ugly vase to block the barbers view of the fountain. The humour you can find in history.
The water from the fountains in Rome were cold and delicious thanks to the aqueduct and were good to drink. Our guide showed us how Romans drank water and built lots of fountains linked with the aqueducts. From there we made our way through the many streets and squares to the Pantheon, where we absorbed its incredible architecture both inside and out. It had been maintained as a church and had been well taken care of during its many years in operation. The open hole in the ceiling allowing rain water to come in wasn’t a problem because of the curved floor with holes for drainage. The Romans were certainly genius.
In that square, we stopped for the most delicious gelato in the whole world; I chose the pistachio flavour. Next, made our way into the interesting and extravagant Piazza Navona, where three beautiful fountains were centerpieces in front of the large white building in the facing the square. Later that evening after the tour had ended, we went back to Piazza Navona to watch the street performers, listen to the music, and eat Pizza (I had a calzone). At Christmas, there are markets here that are filled with traditional goodies, decorations, and nativity sets.
We finally ended our tour in Piazza di Fiori where they have a large flower market every day. It smelled fresh, like roses. We were back at our hotel out of town by eight.