Ancient Technology, Old Neighborhoods, and Traditional Food

If Tuesday was all about seeing the sights everyone must see, Wednesday was about going to see some sites that a lot of people overlook. We took a morning Hidden Gems tour with Walks of Italy. Our day started at the Theatre of Marcellus (Teatro Marcelo) which predates the Colosseum. 

From there, we crossed over to Tiber Island to the Basilica of St. Bartholomew, then back across the river to the Jewish Ghetto. Our guide pointed out numerous small bronze plaques embedded in the sidewalks in front of the homes. They are a sobering reminder of what happened to the inhabitants during a terrible time in history.

After the Jewish Ghetto we boarded our small bus part for the driving part of our tour.  Our first stop was Circus Maximus, the Roman chariot racing and entertainment area located near the Forum and the Colosseum. 

Next, we drove to the remains of the Baths of Caracalla. The massive site was built between 212 and 217 AD, and once housed cold, warm, and hot baths that could hold over 1,500 people at one time.  The complex also housed a library. Today it is used for outdoor concerts.

The next stop on our tour was The Appian Way.  We walked on a stretch of excavated stones from ancient times (recreated), and learned how to use a Roman drinking fountain.  

Our last stop outside the city was at the Park of the Aqueducts where we saw the Aqua Claudia…a true engineering marvel that stretched 56 km above and below ground, and provided water to 14 districts of Rome every day.  Without the aqueducts, Ancient Rome wouldn’t have existed.  Aqua Claudia was one of 11 aqueducts that provided water to Ancient Rome. Parts of the aqueducts are still in use today, including one that feeds the Trevi Fountain.

Before we returned to our starting point we went to Janiculum Hill for the noon cannon shot and a view of the city. Unfortunately it was kind of hazy so the views were not spectacular, but it was an interesting experience. After the tour we headed back to Campo de’ Fiori for lunch where we made another critical food mistake, but very a very different one than the day before. 

We knew our restaurant choice was fine, because friends recommended it. We weren’t in a tourist area like the streets around the Vatican and the prices were reasonable. Our calzones were delicious, so what was the problem? One between the two of us would have been plenty! Our calzones were delicious, but they were the size of a small platter! 

After lunch we walked around the market a bit, they we went back to the apartment to shower and do a quick load of laundry. The only problem was the words quick, laundry, and Rome should never be used in the same sentence. We left the washer running and went out for our evening tour. I believe the washer ran about 3 hours for a light load.

We did an evening food tour in Trastevere with Eating Italy. We loved this, and think food tours are a great way to get a feel for an area or neighborhood while sampling delicious food. We visited 7 restaurants and shops, and I thought some of the more memorable tastes were the Buffalata and tomatoes, the fried Jerusalem artichoke, the pastas, and the Gelato, although everything we had was good.

We got home about 9:30 and transferred the laundry to the dryer. At 1:00 a.m. I pulled out everything that was approaching dry and reset the dryer, which unfortunately was in the closet in our bedroom! The dryer finally turned off around 1:45 and I fell asleep, but it was a lengthy process getting our small load of laundry to dry…if I had to guess, I would say the washing and drying process took about 8 hours!😳

Up next – medieval castles and a newly renovated ship!

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