April-May 2005 in Italy and Malta
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April 24-27 Capri
May 6-7 Sicily, Scilla and Charybdis
May 7-8 Tropea (Capo Vaticano)
May 10-12 Abruzzi National Park
May 12 Tivoli, Villa Adriana
Tourists in Rome
After all the rain that greeted out arrival, we were happily surprised to be greeted by a lovely sunny and cool day. I had deliberately left the day free before the meeting to get over the jet lag, so Ina and I spent the day walking around Rome. The first thing we did was take the Metro to the Villa Borghese and wander around to the Belvedere.
After enjoying the spring flowers and opening leaves of the Villa Borghese, we wandered down the nearby Spanish Steps. At the top a whole series of sketch artists were offering to draw one's portrait, and at the bottom a film crew were filming what seemed to be an interview. The steps were fairly crowded, but not as much as they would presumably be in the tourist season.
From the Spanish Steps we strolled along to the Tiber, to look for the Mausoleum of Augustus. There were a lot of hoardings for building construction, but we eventually found it. It is quite impressive, but gives the impression of being recently neglected.
On the walk from the Spanish Steps to the Mausoleum we had passed a small street food market, so we went back there and bought some fruit. We stopped at a cheap "tea house" which was a cafeteria-style lunch place, for lunch, and ate the fruit as we walked. Where we walked was the famous Pantheon of Marcus Agrippa. Like the Colosseum, it is impressive even though one has seen many pictures of it over the years.
The next major attraction was the Trevi Fountain, though on the way to it we passed Trajan's Column, the one with the procession spiralling up it. The Trevi fountain is indeed beautiful, but it is hard to appreciate it in the press of people that make movement around it rather difficult.
It doesn't sound much in the telling, but by the time we got back to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, we must have been walking 6 or 7 hours. It was worth it, though, to climb up the tomb and see the view from the top. The Tomb is near the north end of the Roman Forum, so we were pretty near the hotel by then, and the end of our walk through Rome.
There's no pictures from the three days of the meeting. Ina visited the Vatican, but the Sistine Chapel was still closed since it was the day after the Pope's election. She also visited the Circus Maximus and the Caracalla Baths which she said dwarfed her imagination of them.