Lazy day

Although my two previous posts might indicate otherwise, today was a very lazy day, and I spent it mostly exploring Trastevere, although I did pop over the river to take a peek at the Foro Romano just before sunset.

I'm absolutely charmed by Trastevere. The tiny streets are cobbled in basalt pietrini, they wind every which way, oftening opening up into little squares or stopping awkwardly at thick, battered medeival walls. The church of Santa Maria in Trestevere has an incredible exterior... with a puzzling 13th century mosaic of the Virgin with 12 maidens on the facade, a medieval bell tower, and an awkward looking portico by Carlo Fontana glommed onto the front. The church is one of the oldest in Rome, probably completed sometime in the early 4th century.

[I'll put a picture here, as soon as I take one]

For the rest of the day, I wandered over to the Tiber island - Isola Tiburtina - and then across the Foro Boarium (the cattle market) to peer into the forum from the back of the Campodoglio. Just downstream of the island is the remains of the Ponte Rotto (the broken bridge).

ponte rotto

It's incredible to think that this bridge was originally built by Augustus Caesar in the 1st century BC. It was used until 1598, when part of it was swept away in a flood. Of course it was repaired several times, including once by Michelangelo, but even so, getting 1700 years of useful life from a structure is incredible.

Also on Isola Tiburtina, some wise guy in 1C BC carved a little boat prow into the retaining wall of the island. Part of it is still there.

the island is a boat
[The pavement under the boat is the new, 20th century river embankment. 2000 years ago the boat was in the water.]

Toward evening I walked up onto the Capitoline Hill and watched evening descend over the Forum. Beautiful. Absolutely stunning, and impossible to capture with a camera. On the way back I walked under the Monte Tarpeo, a cliff on one side of the Capitoline where the Romans used to execute criminals by lobbing them off the top. There's a great story about it's name, but I forget it now... I'll post it later if I can remember it.


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