Caesar did NOT die in the Colosseum in 44 BC, but he was stabbed in Largo di Torre Argentina, what is NOW better know as the cat Sanctuary
|Largo di Torre Argentina, now the home to homeless cats|
This is how my 3 hours with LivItaly Tours in Rome began and I knew it would be a great time……….
Meeting our guide Rachel in central Rome, our group of only 3 travelers greeted each other and the day began! Rachel is an expat from the USA who has made her home in Rome.
|Blue sky and HOT: Rome was having a heat wave|
Although I visit Rome often, I know very little about the two neighborhoods that border the Tiber River, the Jewish Ghetto and Trastevere, therefore this tour was perfect.
Rachel dazed and amazed with a blend of information on architecture, history, religion and daily life facts. We were encouraged to ask questions and I don’t think there was anything she could not answer! I quickly realized I knew very little of the history of Rome and within the first few minutes my head was buzzing with new facts and debunked fiction that I had about Roman history!
Since my focus is always on the local part of any city or town I visit, walking the back streets from the busy via …… across the river and back to …………… was a wonderful look into daily life in Rome.
With so many photo opportunities I must admit I missed some of the important facts our guide shared with us…………..all done without notes.
We started with a quick walk through Piazza dei Fiore, busy with the morning local shoppers and some tourists.
|Always time for a cafe|
|Our guide knew lovely hidden courtyards, passages and even
pasta created in a store front.
|Skull carvings outside Santa Maria dell’ Orazione e Morte, Holly Mary of Prayer and Death Church|
|The Farnesi Arch|
|Mascheroni Fountain where in ancient times, wine flowed once a year for the local populace to enjoy|
Crossing the Tiber river to Trastevere you can see the dome of St Peters at the Vatican in the distance
|As we crossed the bridge you have a wonderful view of St. Peters|
A temporary art mural lined the walls of the river banks created by the South African artist William Kentridge. The process called reverse stenciling, created by removing years of dirt from the walls, will eventually fade as dirt/pollution returns. See story here.
|In late morning the street is quiet but the cafe is ready for guests|
The narrow, cobbled streets of Trastevere meander through a true local neighborhood where apartments are above restaurants and stores and you can shop daily for fresh food.
. At the heart of Trastevere is the church of Santa Maria in Trastevere
Back across the river we are headed to the Jewish Ghetto. The history of this area is ancient and sad.
One of the original synagogues in Rome. Now a restaurant.
We continued to a main area of the Ghetto.
Shops and cafes among the apartment buildings right next to ancient ruins.
I quickly noticed how much wider the streets were in the Jewish quarter. You still find historic buildings being restored or preserved and treasures uncoverd while the city does street projects.
In with historic sites among the shops and residences, the locals enjoy daily life: markets, cafes and a famous Boccione Pasticceria bakery that I was able to visit after the tour. There is no web site but face book gives you some information. This small corner shop is at Via Portico d’Ottavia, 1. One well know travel writer said the clerks are rude, NO so. They were tired after a long day but when I ordered something that looked good, the kind woman told me it was a ‘hard’ cake and suggested something else.
Near one of the apartments I found more stumble stones that memorialize families or individuals who were deported during WWII. See my post in Germany off the beaten track for more details on these memorials found all over Europe.