Making the most of a few quiet post-harvest days on the farm, we hopped on the train to Rome from nearby Foligno. Two and a half hours later, we stepped out to explore the eternal city. Embracing the sudden hustle and bustle – a far cry from the olive groves of the last month – we set out on a quick afternoon circuit of seemingly the entire city! Several hours later, having picnicked in the Villa Borghese, stepped over the crowds of the Spanish Steps (built in Rome, by the French..?!), passed the Colosseum – surely one of the world’s most scenic roundabouts – and crossed the Tiber multiple times we found ourselves in osteria-filled Trastevere, our base for the next few days.
Day two, after a fun evening of much needed pasta and slightly less necessary dancing waiters at our local and well named Le Mani In Pasta (sorry, forgot to take any photos!) we headed out early to beat the crowds to the Palatine Hill and Forum.
Over-cultured, we decided to spend the afternoon relaxing in Rome’s botanical gardens – not quite on the same scale as Kew, but still a good place to escape the crowds and Roman traffic for a while.
That evening, having had our fill of pizza and pasta we gave in to our cravings, seeking out Trastevere’s best curry house – it was a decision that we didn’t regret! It’s funny what you miss when you’re travelling.
With one more morning remaining in Rome before heading back to the hills we decided to try out the Crypta Balbi, one of Rome’s newest museums. An ongoing excavation site, the museum sequences the story of a single city block – from it’s development as one of the main theatres of Augustan ancient Rome, through it’s use as a ‘monumental’ lavatory, as the temple of an underground cult, a graveyard, workshops, the fortified medieval complex of a notorious clan and finally a monastery with veg plot!
Having enjoyed the museum – you descend your way through the many layers of the building’s stratigraphy, down to the Roman roads 10 m below the current road surface – we were lucky enough to tag ourselves onto a backstage tour of the ongoing excavations!
…the tour was entirely in Italian, but I think we got most of it! Time to head back to the olive farm – via a quick visit to the Pantheon for a gelato – for a bit more post-harvest relaxation!