Italy – Palatine Hill & Pantheon

Italy – Palatine Hill & Pantheon

Written by: Jessica
Captions by: Diego

The next day we went to the Roman Forum-Palatine Hill. It is an area of ruins right next to the Colosseum and provides a look into the history of the Roman empire in that area. We had arranged to be there first thing in the morning and were actually the first people to walk through the entrance we used into the site. It provided some interesting areas to look at, but I don’t think either Diego or I would list it as our favorite sight in Rome. Thankfully, it was dry that morning and it was pleasant to walk through the ruins and gardens.

Having an entire historical site to yourself is very nice, you get to see more and it feels more special. Also, no people in the way of your photos.
Walk a little to the left of the entrance and you’ll see the Colosseum and the Roman Arch together. That line below is to get into the Colosseum, I recommend buying tickets beforehand and getting there early.

 

Where horses were kept and trained.
I have no idea what this is but it looked like it came from a Legend of Zelda game.
Gardens everywhere. Rich people lived here and they demanded gardens.
The top of the hill, overlooking the commerce and theater area. A bit rubble-y now.
I made a friend at the top! He immediately pooped.
A panorama of the city. I was so sick of clouds by now – I wanted some blue in my photos!!
We started to come down and people started pouring in.
The theater, there’s a lot of renovation going on. Rome is always in a state of renovation.
The tour buses started to arrive, this was thankfully the end.

That afternoon we took a walk to the Pantheon. This was a location that I had been very excited to see, as I have always found Greco-Roman mythology to be very interesting. And then, I walked in the doors. My mood instantly turned sour. One of the ugly truths of the world is that the victors write history and often try to sweep away the past. Even today when ancient history is taught, we don’t talk about the tendency to have overwritten the past. Oh, we’ll learn that buildings were destroyed in war or fire…but it’s not mentioned that the church decided to turn the Pantheon, a place of Greco-Roman worship, into a Catholic church. The architecture remains, but instead of Jupiter/Zeus, and Mars/Ares, and Minerva/Athena, and Venus/Aphrodite…there are Christian figures in the nooks.

I wanted to turn around immediately. We lingered for only a few minutes before departing.

The entrance to the Pantheon. I warned Jessica to keep her expectations low.
The inside, lacking any Roman/Greek god. I could hear Jessica’s disappointment, because she told me.
The top is open for light and also for rain. Mercifully, Zeus decided to keep us dry (still cloudy sky).
Entry/exit. Lots of people hawking their cheap stuff, musicians singing or playing an instrument, or somebody doing a talent show.
I bought Jessica some chocolate – that made her happier.

The next morning, we took it easy. We did some more laundry, since we never know when we’ll find someplace close by with reasonable prices. We hit the streets after lunch. First, we went to the train station to secure tickets to the airport the following morning. Then, we walked past the Pantheon (trying to ignore it) on our way to Navona Plaza.  We found the Brazilian Embassy! They have a great view. We couldn’t help but wonder how much rent is!

Brazil got a really nice spot, lots of good food around and a great view.
Fountain at the end of the plaza.

Then we walked to the Vatican City again. Diego wanted to take some night shots. Unfortunately, we realized only after we got there that most of the restaurants around there close shortly after the Vatican does. It ended up being a nearly 30-minute walk to the nearest well-reviewed restaurant that was on our path back to our hotel. You tell me: were these photos worth it?

I just had to stop and take this shot on the way to the Vatican.
Ya dang right it was worth it! Look at this photo, worthy of replacing any Ninja Turtle artwork in a museum.
We saw the military museum on the way back to the hotel. Behind it was Palatine Hill.

On our final morning in Rome, we had a bit of an “oops” moment. Diego had mis-read our flight time, and I hadn’t double-checked before we booked our ticket. We ended up at the airport about 4 hours before our international flight, instead of 3. And Singapore Airlines wasn’t open yet. So, we sat in the lobby of the airport for an hour before we could check in.

The streets near the central station aren’t exactly nice…
Though the station was very quiet at around 5:30am.

Eventually the check-in process and Visa-check was complete. But the international lounges were all closed, so they gave us a voucher for a meal at a restaurant. Said meal was a coffee (which neither of us drink), a juice, and a croissant each. This is not a meal! We decided to head to our gate to relax there and grab a meal over there. Sadly, there were no directories of restaurants because there weren’t any near our gate. So, we tried to head back to the main area…and were forced to go through security again, because the only way back through to the main terminal section is through security! What a mess! Still, eventually we paid for a bagel with fresh mozzarella and basil and a chocolate hazelnut waffle, which kept us full for a while.

The main area. The food is highly overpriced, even by airport standards. Sadly, this is also the only/primary location you can get something to eat. Don’t go to your gate unless you’re ready to lest you go through security again.

Sadly, we found out the hard way: Italy does great gelato (I’d have eaten if every day if Diego didn’t protest, despite the cold) but terrible crepes…or maybe terrible anything with chocolate hazelnut sauce. They put so much on that it is nasty, in our opinion. Stick to gelato, and mozzarella and tomato anything.

Eventually, we were able to board our Singapore Airlines Business Class flight from Rome. Our next destination: New Zealand!

Off to Kiwi land! Bye, Rome.

One Reply to “Italy – Palatine Hill & Pantheon”

  1. Adorei as fotos de Roma! The Vatican – perfect pictures !…and the lights were wonderful !
    Next stop – New Zealand !

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