We leave for home the day after tomorrow and buy cheese and dried porcini mushrooms to take back home. The parmesan is from 2002 at 19.90 €/kg. Then it is off to Trastevere - the Farnesina villa has got its last chance.
Today the villa is open and we get a ticket for 5 € each. Only a part of the villa is open to the public, but there is plenty to look at none the less.
Walls and ceilings are covered with paintings and frescoes teeming with fatty and naked cherubs and cupids in all sorts of awkward positions that must be painful in the long run.
There is an interesting hall where balconies, columns and a view has been painted in perspective on the walls, and Rafael has been blamed for the frieze at the top. Except the perspective-hall I am not impressed by the paintings, but the floors are beautiful with marble in various colours and patterns.
We go back via Via Scala and settle down at the café where culture thrives without naked boys with rolls of fat and bows. It is noon and Trastevere is like a peaceful village.
People relax and enjoy life, chat with their friends, read the paper or just sit doing nothing. Helle acquaints two small dogs that cannot relax. One of them has strange floppy ears, but Helle says they are supposed to look like that.
Click for larger image
Back at Termini we have a panino at the arcade just across the street. A group of colourful gipsy women walk past and the landlord tries to shoo them away quickly, but they ignore him completely and beg with their plastic cups.
Beggars, homeless and hawkers
There are still many beggars and homeless people in Rome and the concentration seems particularly high around Termini. Many beggars have a dog and a puppy or two and that is probably the best thing, unless you have a child. They often sit by a wall and some women even kneel as in prayer.
When we walk home in the evening the homeless lie on carboard pieces or in rags. The hawkers' stalls with junk are covered and guarded during the night.
There is a hierarchy among hawkers. Those with a stationary stall are privileged; others put up a table somewhere and trade. Those who have neither stall nor table may put a carpet on the ground to display their junk.
Finally there are those who carry their goods in their pockets and hands - like the opportunist who sells umbrellas outside the hotel when it rains, or the guy who walks from café to café with his Rolex watches, Mont Blanc fountain pens or long-stemmed roses.
At five it is still hot, but bearable if you move slowly. The asphalt gets kind of soft and springy on days like this and it is almost like walking on cork. We stop at the restaurant with the back yard and make a reservation for later.
On the piazza with the fountain we try a new bar, but the young waiter seems to be waiting for the next war or something and shows no intention of quenching our thirst. So we go the 10 metres back to our usual place where the waiter is vigilant and quick.
The accordion player stops by every day, and a small girl from the next table dances with grandfather while her bigger brother, Franchesco, runs wild ignoring his mother's calls.
There are just a few guests in the back yard when we arrive at the restaurant. The vegetable soup is still finito, so I order ham with melon. Helle is tempted by pasta with salmon. For main course we both order a steak with salad. The ham is dry at the edges but the taste is ok, and the steak is big, tender and tasty.
Surprisingly there is room for more, so we order cheese for dessert: gorgonzola and ciacciotta. We did not know the ciacciotta and being almost tasteless we concentrate on the gorgonzola.
The extremely overweight waiter walks with difficulty. The feet point outwards and he walks by thrusting a leg forward in an arch making the huge body roll from side to side.
Four teenagers have got a table behind Helle and they are like a bag of fleas. A party of English girls in their twenties are seated in the middle of the yard. You could hear them like a flock of budgerigars at long distance. They carry masks and are pretty silly - maybe one is getting married.
We have had enough to eat and enough twitter - let's get home.