Rome - city of sore feet

We get up in time to say goodbye to the others who leave for the airport at 8:20. Breakfast is ok except for the annoying pop music. A taxi takes us to Hotel Ariston in Via Filippo Turati close to Termini, where we'll stay the rest of the week. Traffic is dense and the driver reads a newspaper when we wait for a red light or something else.

Fortunately we can move in at once. Previous hotel guests have left some clothing in a drawer, and an inspection of the minibar reveals half a bar of chocolate. We deliver the clothing and the remains of the chocolate at the reception. The receptionist sighs with a youcannotgetdecenthelpthesedays-look on his face.

A week-pass for the buses and metro costs 16 €, which is cheap. Bus 64 takes us to Piazza Venezia. At Piazza Minerva we say hello to our old friend, Bernini's small elephant that has carried an obelisk on its back for many years.

Old in new Bernini's elephant in Piazza Minerva
Click for larger image

Animal rights were not an issue when Bernini made the elephant. Inside Pantheon there are scaffolds up to the dome's oculus, and it looks as if the antique concrete has been cleaned - or maybe the light is just unusually bright today.

Around a few corners lies a small café where you can sit outside in a small piazza and watch life pass by. Just a hundred metres from one of Rome's must-sees and the tourist crowd it is amazingly tranquil.

Back at Termini we buy a map with bus and metro routes, and I find a novel in Termini's bookstore. After a panino at café Fantini with a view to Santa Maria Maggiore it is siesta-time.

Evening in the neighbourhood

We wake up at five. Now we need to find a water hole and it must also be possible to find Gli Angeletti, a restaurant where we had a good meal in 2003.

At the end of Via Urbana and just round the corner we find the restaurant in Via dell'Angeletto. It opens at seven, and we settle down outside "Bar la Piazzetta" with a view to the fountain and life in Piazza della Madonna Dei Monti. It is pleasantly warm, but not too hot. The temperature here in the metropolis is at least 4 - 5° higher than in Tuscany. Walls and asphalt are a heat reservoir.

Most guests at the bar are locals and by the fountain many sit and have an evening chat with the neighbours. This is much more relaxed than Trastevere's havoc of tourists and parasites.

Restaurant Angeletti opens and we make a reservation for eight o'clock before we go for a stroll in the neighbourhood. The streets are paved with cobblestones and there is no pavement. Where the pavement could have been, cars and scooters are parked, so you must walk in the middle of the streets.

The houses are in a bad shape and facades crack and fall off in huge flakes. At the ground floor there are small shops, workshops, bars and restaurants. Apartments are above. We pass a restaurant that advertises a back yard - sounds nice!

At Angeletti's the starter is tomato filled with a paste of sardines. Helle gets a chicken casserole and I angus beef with leeks and gorgonzola sauce. It is very good, but we wait for a very long time before the main course is served.

The concept of slow food is great as far as preparation goes. The promised ashtray never arrives. With a house red and water the bill is 56.5 €. We walk home slowly in the warm evening.