Pantheon and Trevi
Trip Start Jul 03, 2011
8Trip End Jul 11, 2011
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On our stroll we took a turn down a sidestreet lined with Mercedes, BMWs, Jags, you name the luxury car, all furnished with drivers. The street opened into a square with a charming little fountain. I stopped and said, "I'm going to take a picture of this, I think it's famous". Sure enough Rufio noticed a sign mounted to a nearby wall
We found the pizza shop and ordered our first slices of the trip, accompanied by large Peronis. Earlier in the day I had mused to Rufio about there being an archeological site where people couldn't get in, only cats. Flipping through the map he realized the cat sanctuary was literally right across the street. Once we finished our refreshment, I hurredly crossed the street, Rufio in tow. We peered down and saw cats sprawled out every which way. We took the narrow staircase down and found just below our feet was the makeshift cat hospital. A few visitors were playing with the cats already (I am reluctant to admit the only people there had small children, we were the only "adults" just visiting on our own), and we were soon approached by a blonde woman who asked if we had visited before and from where we hailed. To the left three cats were eating on a cabinet, to the right were tables and displays of souvenirs. I imagined she would soon ask for a donation, which I was ready to provide anyway. I was pleasantly surprised to find that the woman gave us a compete history of the sanctary, let us in to the "sick" room, talked to us about a few of the cats and their specific ailments and when we were ready to leave didn't so much as ask for a donation or encourage us to buy a gift. I, however, already had my sight fixed on a gift for my crazy-cat-lady sister. The woman was obviously elated to hear my purchase request. All proceeds from their gift sales go directly to providing care for the cats and their city-wide spaying/neutering campaign. I highly recommend any animal lovers visiting the Centro Storico area to stop by this gem in the heart of the city to admire the great works of ancient Romans and today's Romans.
We then visited the Pantheon. Yet another grand display of Catholic opulence, albeit less so than the Vatican and St. Peter's. I was surprised to find Raphael's tomb; the mere fact he was awarded such a devout resting place proves just how venerated these Renaissance men really were.
We walked around the small cathedral then headed for Trevi. Not one minute after we walked up an Indian man with a camera around his neck offered to take our picture. No, not offered, insisted. Knowing what this was I reluctantly gave up my camera. After two shots he said, "now kiss". The picture is priceless; not wanting to let him run off with the camera, I made a kissy face and kept my eyes on the Indian man until the camera was back in my hands. Then came the proposition for money. Rufio angrily shooed him away. Damn hawkers.
We decided to find an enoteca to regroup and try to figure out our night's arrangements. Enjoying an afternoon prosecco we decided to get dinner at an esteemed pizzeria we learned about, which was conveniently located in a bar district. Little did we know the district was a hot spot for teenage revelers. We had our pizza (a bit of a wait but completely worth it), continued our tradition of getting a Guiness at an Irish pub and then set out for what we thought would be a late party night. Unfortunately the bar/club we were most interested in was booked for the evening, and all the others were host to senior year trippers. We settled into one patio with few patrons our age for our first...and last...taste of grappa. The smell brought back memories of Southern moonshine. I reluctantly took my first swallow. First a burn, then a lingering sweetness. Not the worst moonshine I've ever had. The restaurant closed and we hailed a taxi home. So much for a wild Roman bacchanalia.