KJ (owlmoose) wrote,

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Back in Rome

The beach was fantastic. Beautiful, relaxing. Once I got past the rocky shore, swimming in the Mediterranean Sea was lovely, lovely, lovely. Not swimming-pool warm, but easy to get used to, and the salinity made it easy to just gently bob around. We also walked around the cute town, had good food -- focaccia is a specialty of the region -- and met my friend M's family, including the aunt whose apartment we're using.

On the way up, it was noted that our train went through the city of Pisa, so yesterday we decided to make a stopover on the trip back to check out its most famous monument. The cathedral is actually really lovely, and I'll try to post more pictures of that detour when I get home.

Today was a tourist day. We visited several churches, including Santa Maria degli Angeli e dei Martiri, which is nestled within the ruins of an ancient Roman bathhouse, and San Clemente, a 12th century church built on the site of a 4th century church, which was itself built on the ruins of a 1st century temple to the Roman god Mithras. This kind of repurposing of land is not at all unusual in Rome -- it's almost harder to build without disturbing some sort of ancient ruin -- but what's different here is that both levels of ruins beneath have been excavated while the church above was left intact. Sadly, no photographs are allowed, or I'd have a thousand, but the ruins are too fragile and flash photography would certainly destroy them. There are some at the link above. If you're ever in Rome, it's totally worth a visit -- even if you don't have a friend along who is an archaeologist by profession.

Also today we went back to the Pantheon, where I have been before, but I'll always go back again. Then dinner, and now I'm sitting on the balcony of the apartment, typing this up before bedtime. Have I mentioned before how much I love warm evenings?

I have two more days here. Tomorrow will be fairly low-key during the day -- we'll see a crypt and the Spanish steps, then spend the afternoon relaxing before heading to the northern part of the city for a new dinner venue that M wants to check out. Then Wednesday is Pompeii, where A and I expect to spend all day. I fly home Thursday at noon, by which time I'm sure I'll be both ready to go and never wanting to leave.

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Tags: travel
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