My favorite months in Italy are May & September.  If you have an opportunity to visit any other month of year, I recommend you seize the moment.  The moment for me came in November.  My agenda was to revisit Rome and an overnight trip to Assisi.  I only had eight nights.  That’s rather short for me.  I generally always stay two weeks in Europe.  I decide eight will have to do and I shall be utterly grateful for them all.

I have visited a lot of the usual tourist attractions so for this trip, I decided let’s try to visit some places off the radar plus whatever I happen to stumble upon while roaming.  I did not think this fellow would be one of them.  We gazed at each other a long long time.  Love at first sight.

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My Buddy

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Let’s see what is going on in Rome & Assisi

 

I’m off to see the two faces of artists, happy and sad.  A small but famous street is Via Margutta.  It is a very charming lane and if you have seen Roman Holiday, you have seen a glimpse of Via Margutta.  The famous director Federico Fellini also lived on this street.  I’ve come early so I practically have it all to myself!

“Fontana delle Arti”  / Fountain of the Arts

 

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I stayed this time near Popolo Piazza so the park and grounds of Borghese Museum were nearby.   I cannot tell you how crisp, clear and wonderful it was but maybe this slide show  can convey my meaning.

A Walk in the Park….

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One of the activities I have really looked forward to is to take my new camera to the neighborhood of Coppode the fantasy district of Rome. What a mix of styles!  Medieval, Baroque and just plain beautiful!  I don’t know who the people who get to live here but if they ever need a nice, trustworthy girl to house sit, I am your girl!  On this trip, Ellen who is a part of a lot of my travels will be joining me as well as Chris another great travel partner and friend for some of the journey.  She is from the UK and she is bring her friend also and guess what her name is?   Jeannette!  I am meeting the first British Jeannette ever.  She does spell her name a tad bit different then mine.  For this particular adventure, Ellen will be joining me.  I say adventure because I truly believed we were going make it to this destination if we counted on the Bus #63.  On Via Tiatone, is our stop along with many other buses.  Once 20 to 30 minutes go by and no sighting of  we are kind of like hmmm this is taking awhile but maybe it is coming any minute.  Down the street, you can see when a new bus is ready to make an appearance but you cannot see what number it is, so you squint, concentrate only to find once it nears you, it’s and 85, 464, 80 and I won’t go on and on with the rest but no #63.  One hour and about fifteen minutes later Ellen who needs a potty break.  She is going to hurry into a pizza shop and go as fast as humanly possible because as she joked she knew “if that bus comes you are going to leave me right”?  I smile and say yes!   The closer one gets I am feeling panic because for the love of God, this one is looking like the 63.  I open the door and show into the store, Ellennnnn!!!  Ellen is now busting thru the  lobby adjusting clothes back on and we scramble to the sidewalk only to discover the 63 is actually an 83!   Deflated, we remain but I was to learn of the adventure of rush tinkling in the tiniest of hallways one can hardly get down along with extra deep steps!   I don’t know how she did it but she did it !   We discuss at what point would we give up and I decide I’ll stand there all day, I am getting to Coppede on a 63 bus.  We did see two go by the opposite way, what goes down must come up right?  Finally the sweetest vision in the world appears and it is the 63 bus.  On this bus, is the rest of Rome who too must of been waiting a long time because there is hardly any room for even a heart beat!  Not deterred, we squeeze in and have far too much body contact with strangers.   Was it worth it?  I think so and I really do not think that my photos can convey how absolutely cool this small area really is to the visitor.  Ellen will have better pictures than me, I had a battery issue.  (hear my big growl)  I will share what I have with you now.  You enter through this magnificent archway.

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I love this archway.

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Peeks in

A fountain appears in a traffic circle.

 

 

After this, you just have to walk slowly, study each place and look for the details.  Lovely, lovely details.  These are large houses and all  the nooks and crannies can display something just wonderful and unique!   Check out the parrots enjoying the oranges!  (I think they are oranges?)

 

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Fruit

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Tranquil

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Gorgeous

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Some detail

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The neighborhood

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Wonderful details

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Nice surprise

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sometimes I do !

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more detail

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Princess time

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Lunch?

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Detail

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Willowy trees

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Wonderful home

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Hint of pink

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more views

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details

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Hungry litter bugger

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beautiful !

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Wish I could have gotten a closer shot of this one.

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Seahorse

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views while walking

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painted walls

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I wonder who designed all of this?

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The one you can’t stop looking at enough

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Details

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Coppede

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In memory of a fighter killed during the WWII invasion, I assume he lived here at this house.

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Bold & Beautiful

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My entrance

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I love the trees here as well.

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More great detail throughout the neighborhood street.

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Each has their own personality.

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Coppode

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I really like this one as well.

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I would have liked to zoomed in closer to these arches.

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Gorgeous color

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Perfect Blend

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More great detail

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Beautiful

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I don’t want to leave!

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doggie looking at me back there

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the doggie

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more bird friends who are hungry

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A street

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Gotcha

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Pretty cool isn’t it?

I don’t think I have ever got any decent photos of Castel Sant’Angelo nor St. Peter’s with low light or in the dark.  These are two places Ellen and I happened across and we seized the moment to get pictures.

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St. Peters

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One of my favorites

 

One usually doesn’t come to Rome to visit a zoo but I had been up to the Borghese Villa Museum twice, once they were not open and the second after I finished in the museum I was going to meet Ellen for activities.

These activities:  (it looked so fun and the weather was really pleasant)

 

I thought that these scooters, the bigger carriage looking pedal trolley and a segway could be quite the hilarious way to sail through the park.   Ellen was going to meet me at 3 p.m. but she ran into Daniela one of the most wonderful women in Rome accidentally so we scratched the activity for another time.  Actually I thought I might just cruise on the segway a bit and while walking I came across a zoo right there in the park.  It was rather pretty!  Curious, I made my way in and did not exit till some three hours later.  I’ve never been to a zoo Italian style and I am glad I did visit.  The animals had very realistic habitats, seemed content plus it wasn’t crowded,  One zoo keeper was singing and talking to some of the animals.  That was so very cool to stumble upon.  You could tell he had affection for them.  I’ve got lots of neat photos from there I will be posting soon.

Here’s a little giraffe time.

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These guys were a hoot.  They all came running out with their goodies.

 

Random cuties ….

 

 

These are my favorites.  Sometimes you have to just stand and wait for something to happen.  It was so gorgeous out and pretty there I didn’t mind the wait.  For these guys I would wait all day!  Some had me laughing right out-load!

 

 

Palazzo Valentini – LE DOMUS ROMANE DI PALAZZO VALENTINI

Chris booked this before we left for the trip.  I was surprise how many people were there but it wasn’t a worry.  Off we go, me, Ellen, Chris and the British Jeannette.  Who we later nicknamed Jan.

Palazzo Valentini had it’s ancient structures filled with landfill around the 16th century.  Lucky for us this preserved the ruins below.  This is a rather recent discovery.  I cannot even remotely imagine what other treasures must be buried below present day Rome.  You descend down to the ancient world first by walking over glass.   As a topic is being discussed, lights illuminate the area.  What becomes dramatic is when they begin to create the people living there and the structure coming back to life!  Another gem to look forward to is Trajan’s column and the story.  Absolutely impressive, absolutely wonderful!!!

Here is the website:  http://www.palazzovalentini.it/domus-romane/#info

After our Palazzo Valentini visit we head to the cafe at Victor Emmanuel II Monument.  There had been demonstrations that day but we managed to get inside.  It was just a bit tricky walking with the large crowd coming toward you.   We just moved to the outside of it and before you knew it we were seated having a drink  & enjoying the views.  One part of me wants to sit and enjoy my wine, the other wants to bolt out of that chair and go for the views.  Tip: Do both!

Are you familiar with Murmuration?  In all my years, I have never seen such murmuration as I did this day in Rome.   Hundreds & thousands of starlings flocking together, twisting & turning in unison.  I was mesmerized.   I used up the battery in my camera!  Next time I will carry an extra battery.  Shame on me.  No matter, I got photographs of this  phenomenon and some are going on my walls as canvases.  It was hypnotic for me!  Here’s a peek:

 

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One I’ll never forget but only watched on a video was this murmuration in Ireland while the two girls were in the boat.

 

Scenes from the day:

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Uh oh !  Here they come!

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The Basilica of St. Mary of the Altar of Heaven . Santa Maria in Aracoeli Basilica.

After a wonderful day of exploration, we decide to meet later for dinner at Navona Notte.   My favorite cafe at the Pantheon and a spritz was in order.  I love the employees there and it makes each visit like coming home and seeing old friends.  It’s not been very crowded in Rome for this trip but this day has seemed to bring a lot of people out to the streets.  Immense joyful people watching and I am snug as a bug in a rug.

 

I can never ever tire at looking at the Pantheon.  It’s still as mesmerizing as the first day, I ever laid eyes on this masterpiece.  I heard the best comment from what I believe was a college girl who was standing looking at the Pantheon.  I heard her say, “I just can’t stop looking at it.”  Nor can I young lady!

It’s one of the oldest, most preserved buildings of ancient Rome.  I always try to stop inside and say hello to Raphael.  Here are a couple of photos from his final resting place as well as the oculus another engineering gem.

The Pantheon

To be continued….more to come soon!

 

 

Comments
  1. Julie says:

    Wonderful Jeannette, I stayed on Via Margutta a good few years ago and loved it, thanks for the pics as a reminder

  2. GiannettaJ says:

    Surely missed you Julie! I sat at the Pantheon with dear Massimiliano and a spritz but it wasn’t the same without you and all the sisters. Margutta is indeed a street with it’s own vibe. I’ve now added Coppode and have you already been there Julie? That place took me by surprise.

  3. Kathy Grushinsky says:

    Great photos! Keep them coming…will have to wait till May to return to Italy!

  4. Yvonne says:

    I’m so happy you included a link to your blog (in a comment on Facebook), as I had lost track of you.

    The Coppodè district has now gone high on my list of places to explore next May. What a treasure house of Arte Nouveau architcture! The birds were eating cachi (persimmons), they love the very ripe fruit hanging in the trees.

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