Once again, we returned to Rome. We arrived on Sunday afternoon. We found our apartment, which is very near Campo di Fiori, one of my favorite places in Rome. This piazza has been a fruit and vegetable market area for centuries. Now there are more booths selling touristy spice packages, pasta and other food souvenirs, but the fresh fruit stands and vegetable stands are still thriving.
As well as the central portion of the piazza housing the fruit and vegetable market, all around the perimeter of the piazza are cafes and restaurants. Street musicians come out in the evening, and some of them are quite talented.
About 4:00 in the afternoon, all these stands come down, the owners of the stands cart away their produce, the shelves, everything. These people have to store their equipment in sheds around the area. After all this merchandise and equipment has been taken away, the street cleaners come in and by 5:00 the piazza is clean and empty. Then Happy Hour begins. (My term, not theirs.).
Cafes have drink specials and light food fare. The street musicians start their serenades, people come from everywhere to enjoy this atmosphere. By 7:00 p.m., the cafes and restaurants start their dinner service. Later, the party crowd comes in, and we can hear the chatter, the noise, the sound of people enjoying theirselves for hours. In the morning the piazza needs cleaning again, so the street cleaners are there again, getting everything clean and ready for the fruit and vegetable vendors to set up their operations one more time.
To me, this cooperation of the vendors, the restaurants, the city street cleaners simply amazing. I enjoy staying I this area because of the bohemian atmosphere. I do wish I were young enough to stay out and enjoy some of the evening entertainment, but alas, that is not to be. By the time we finish our dinner, around 8:30 p.m., I am ready to go back to the apartment and relax.
Many of the fruit vendors are foreigners, not Italians, and are very hard workers. This morning I watched two of the vendors as they brought their canopies and produce to the piazza. I heard a sound as if someone was revving up a motorcycle, I looked out our window and saw one vendor who was driving a very loaded small Ape truck, trying to hitch another vendor’s loaded push cart. These 2 guys had tied a rope to the cart and the back of the truck, but an Ape truck does not have the power to handle that much weight. They finally gave up: the man with the truck took his load into the piazza and the man with the push cart had to continue pushing by hand. For those of you who have not heard me talk about Ape trucks, I will explain. These are tiny little vehicles, built for the tiny alleys, hill roads of Italy. They have a motorcycle engine, a cab big enough for one person and a tiny truck bed. They look like toys.
We went to the Piazza Navona, with its fountains designed by Bernini, my favorite Italian sculptor. This is another area that is perfect for people watching.
We walked from Piazza Navona to Trevi Fountain, going past the Pantheon, St. Ignacio church, down the Via Corso, over to the fountain. This is another Bernini masterpiece. The fountain has just been re-opened, after being cleaned and repaired for the past 2 years.
Tradition says that if you throw a coin into the fountain, you will return to Rome. Both Frank and I did this, and I am sure we will return,
We followed some back streets and found another favorite restaurant, the Abruzzi, and had our dinner there, then walked back to our apartment, joining many other people out enjoying the balmy Rome evening.
I will end this blog post now, although I have only covered our first day back in Rome. I have so much to talk about, way too much for one blog post. I am sure that you have noticed, perhaps counted, how many times I have used the word “favorite” in this post. Rome is magical; therefore, there are many places here that have become favorites.
If you have been to Rome, you will understand. If you have not been here, I strongly encourage you to visit. Who knows? If you ask me, I might come along with you.
Stay tuned. You will hear more from me soon. I am not finished with Rome yet.
Ciao for now,
By Dolly Goolsby – Full Story at Dolly Travels
Rome Gay Travel Resources