Friday morning we spent some time downstairs in the café, watching with some amusement a gang of workmen setting up a stage in front of the church. The Pope is scheduled to come to Trastevere on Sunday, and stages are being set up in our piazza and around the corner outside Santa Maria. A sign with two bicycles appeared to be in the way of where the boss wanted the stage, so after major discussion, the sign was dismantled, the bikes moved (I hope the owners will still find them when they return) and the stage placed to everyone’s satisfaction.
We walked the short distance to the Villa Farnesina, a Renaissance palace with decorations by several artists, notably Raphael and Il Sodoma. We really loved this place.
Raphael’s ceiling paintings of Psyche and Cupid were particularly fun, and the artist hid a few interesting things into the border of fruits and vegetables–check out what Mercury is gesturing to.
We went across the street to the Corsini Gallery, and wandered through the painting galleries.
For lunch, we went to Osteria da “Zi” Umberto, in a little piazza off the main streets. There’s a nice terrace, but we’ve learned to eat inside on hot days. Mostly Italian-speaking diners, gruff waiters who all melted when a mom and nonna came in with a baby, and good food. We started with fried zucchini flowers stuffed with ricotta and anchovies. Larry had Cacio y Pepe, and I had a special of spaghetti con vongole. Both were excellent, though Larry’s was a bit too rich for my taste.
We wandered around a bit, then went back to the apartment to pack and read. Later in the afternoon, we took the bus up to Santa Maria degli Angeli, built my Michaelangelo into part of the Baths of Diocletian. Amazing to enter through the façade of the ancient baths, and find yourself in a huge church. There’s a small room inside with interesting displays about the construction and successive changes, and Larry loved the Meridian on the floor.
We went outside to visit the Baths, as our Crypt tickets from yesterday included this site as well. According to the website, the Baths didn’t close for another hour–but the woman at the gate told us we could not come in, because the ticket office was closed. We showed her we already had tickets. “But there’s no one to tear the tickets” she said. And no, she could not. “shrug.” Italy, go figure. Ah well, Rome isn’t going anywhere.
We were meeting Sandra in Monti for dinner, so went over there and got a table at the wine bar La Barrique for some wine and a rest. We met Sandra up the street at L’Asino D’Oro. It was great fun to finally meet in person, as we’ve been corresponding online for years! Excellent meal, we shared an antipasto of a pepper flan with fava puree, I had lamb in a salsa verde, and then we shared a chocolate dessert loaded with ginger.
We walked down to catch the tram at Piazza Venezia, enjoying seeing the lit up Colosseum and Forum, and people walking enjoying the evening. Good night Roma, we’ll be back.