Balloons, that’s what I saw out my window on the morning of our fourth day in Rome, lots of yellow balloons.
We went up once again to have breakfast on the room of the Hotel Forum and were perplexed at all the balloons floating nearby on the main street Via de Fiori dei Imperiale. Once downstairs in the elegant yet homey lobby I asked the desk clerk what was going on with all the balloons. He smiled and explained that it was festival day and that the main road was closed to traffic so that people could enjoy the festival. I remember saying, “Oh how lucky we are to end up here when there was a festival.” He chuckled and proceeded to explain to me that it happened every Sunday because the city should be enjoyed by its people. I was a bit disappointed that it was a special event but more overjoyed at the fact that this great city had a festival every Sunday for everyone to enjoy. It also made me wish that we here in the US would slow down enough to have a festival every weekend for no other reason than to enjoy life.
Once we were ready to mosey we headed out to the main street that was just across a small plaza. there were tents lining each side of the street and local vendors set up everywhere. It wasn’t the whole street that was closed down just a few blocks but it was still a massive event like a gigantic farmers market filled with home made cheeses, meats, honey and anything else you could think of. Most of the tents had sample plates laid out as well which made me glad I hadn’t filled up too much at breakfast.
There was music playing and people happily wandering around sampling goods and buying farm fresh produce in the warm October sunshine.
After spending an hour or so checking out all the great stuff at the festival we turned the corner at the end of the block and made our way up the steps to the Capitoline Museum. We had spent the last few days wandering the streets of Rome on our own avoiding touristy type things so we figured why not include at least one tourist activity on our last day in town.
The museum is huge and filled with some of the most exquisite art and sculpture from ancient Rome.
We spent a few hours wandering around in the museum and ended up at the rooftop restaurant just before they closed in order to grab a quick sandwich before moving on to the rest of our day.
We decided to walk back over to the Pantheon to see if we could get a look inside. We had been outside of it on our first day in town but it had been far to crowded for either of us to want to go inside that day. Only a few blocks away the walk didn’t take too long. Once we were there we saw that there were indeed not as many people in the are which was wonderful and made going inside the most intact ancient ruin a much more enjoyable adventure.
It was getting to be later in the afternoon by the time we wandered out of the Pantheon and back out onto the piazza and we were in need of an afternoon cappuccino. Around the corner we found the perfect place with outdoor seating which made for great people watching. Unfortunately it was also one of the most expensive coffee places in the city it seemed. I believe we ended up paying the equivilant of 7 US dollars for a small cup of cappuccino.
Tip: try to avoid eating or drinking in places near tourist traps, they’ll gouge you every time.
It was starting to get chilly in the late afternoon and we decided to grab a taxi back to our hotel. We rested for a bit and began packing. we were leaving early the next day and wanted to be ready to just grab our bags and go.
We then made our way down the tiny street near our hotel and found a great little place tucked in a corner that had outside seating and served incredible pizza for dinner. Once night had fully set in we took one more stroll down Via Cavour to our cafe to visit our friends Mimo and Erina one last time.
We stayed late into the night not wanting it to end. Eventually back at our hotel we slept fitfully because we were excited to start the next leg of our adventure first thing the next day, my first cruise!