Pantheon and lots of cats

We spent a good part of the day inside the Vatican museums and then went back to our hotel for a little siësta. After resting for a bit, we set out again for a couple of another highlights, like the Pantheon and the Largo di Torre Argentina before finding a place to have dinner.

Do you guys remember what I said about not preparing much for this trip? I thought that the Pantheon was dedicated to the ancient gods, that inside we would find statues and such for them. But apparently, that’s just what it used to be (and what the name suggests), it got turned into a catholic church, the Basilica di Santa Maria, in the 7th century.

I must admit that I was a little disappointed by this, for I am more interested in mythology than I am in catholic churches. The building itself remains impressive, however. It was built between 118 and 128 and there is so much detail there!

Our next, second-to-last stop was the Largo di Torre Argentina. It looks a bit like the Foro Romano, an archaeological site where there used to be temples. Nowadays, it’s a cat sanctuary. I’m not even kidding. They told me that Rome was filled with streetcats, but so far I hadn’t seen a single one. But they were all here, chilling between the ancient pilars.

We must’ve counted at least 20 cats, and those were only the ones we could see. It’s kitty paradise, but unfortunately, we couldn’t go down to pet them…

Last stop: Fontana delle Tartarughe, a fountain with turtles that is said to be the prettiest fountain of Rome. I would argue that the ones on Piazza Navona or you know, the Trevi Fountain, are way prettier, but I still liked the fountain with its lifelike turtles.

By this time, I was super hungry so we decided to have an aperitivo, a drink with some Italian hams and cheeses just before dinner. A common drink in Italy for the aperitivo is Aperol Spritz, which tastes like oranges and is very sweet. There was a little restaurant next to the fountain, so we quickly sat down there. The food there, however, was horrible. The Spritz was good (but what can go wrong with putting drinks in a glass), but the hams were absolutely not. The idea of having an aperitivo is fun and I like it, but stay away from the ‘restaurant’ opposite the fountain. You don’t want to eat there…

After that, we just wandered around for a bit. We ended up back at the Pantheon, but quickly fled when we saw a mime artist roaming the grounds. We just sat down somewhere and talked for a bit, before finding a nice restaurant to have dinner.

We ended up at Raviolo d’oro in the city center where it was super quiet. We both had a lovely lasagna.

During dinner, we could hear some music so when we were done, we followed our ears. There had been some sort of show at the Piazza della Pilotta but it finished just as we arrived. But when we walked a little bit further, two men were playing the violin and it sounded beautiful (you can find a video in my Italy highlights on Instagram). We sat there for quite a bit until it was time to find some gelato (vanilla and oreo) and then returned to our hotel.

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