The thought of doing much walking today was still a bit distasteful but, once I got going, I was okay. I set out with pocket map in my purse, walking down Corso Vittorio Emanuelle II, past the medieval looking Palazzo Massimo, toward a pretty little side street that leads to the Tiber. Then, there in front of me was the Bridge of Angels - Ponte Sant'Angelo - and Castel Sant'Angelo.
It's been a few years since I've been to this part of the city, not counting our pass through this area in the Marathon a few days earlier. On one of my many visits here for business, I stayed at the lovely Atlante Star Hotel just a few blocks away from Vatican Museum and the Basilica, since we were to make some sales calls to the hospitals in the area. One of those was Hospital Santo Spirito, which dates back to the 12th century. It sits right on the Tiber River and is an impressive assortment of various architectures as the facility was added on to over the centuries. Today the main hospital is in a newer structure within the complex. After we made our sales calls at this hospital, the Chief of Surgery took us on a tour of the very famous national museum of healthcare, Museo Storico Nationale delle arte Sanitaria. On that same trip we also made sales calls on the hospitals on the Isola Tiberina.
|Photo taken outside the Hospital Santo Spirito, with our Italian distributors|
Now I'm back here in this part of Rome today. As I approached Ponte Sant'Angelo, I could see that one lane was blocked off with fencing and there was some sort of crane-like apparatus sitting at the mid-point on the bridge. This meant that the head-on photo of the bridge that I'd hoped to get wasn't going to happen. But once I got over to the other side of the river, the bridge shone in the morning sun and my camera found plenty of ways to showcase this bridge.
The Castel Sant'Angelo was beautiful in the morning sun. There were very few people here this morning, and the space around the base of the castle was open and inviting. I strolled along the ramparts of the castle, all the way to the far side, where I could look back at the castle and get a nice photo.
|Ancient Bassetto, a rampart built by Pope Leo IV in 9th Century AD,|
connecting the Vatican Palace to the Castel Sant'Angelo
As I walked around the castle, taking photos and getting photos of the bridge, I began to hear faint strains of a violin.
I walked back toward the bridge and then past it to the other side of the castle ramparts and this is where I discovered the source of the beautiful violin music. I stepped toward the railings along the river and just leaned back and enjoyed the music for a good long while.
|That deliciously beautiful classical violinist|
Time to move along, I dropped some coins in his violin case and strolled toward the head of the avenue that leads toward Piazza San Pietro, the main plaza in front of St. Peter's Basilica. The auto and pedestrian traffic kept me from getting a really good photo of the avenue and honestly, I was too lazy to continue walking toward that very busy intersection and negotiating the traffic to get across this very busy road. I've been in the Vatican City area several times before;
|View of Basilica San Pietro|
Even as I started back in the general direction of the hotel, something came over me and I just kept on walking. Maybe it was the beautiful weather. Maybe it was because it felt good to be moving and particularly at a leisurely but steady pace. Maybe it was because I didn't want to spend the day indoors when I could be outside taking in the city.
Next thing I knew, I was back over by the Roman Forum ruins for some reason, walking along the Via del Fori Imperiali yet again. I paused several times along the way, stopping at overlooks of the ruins, taking photos. A pretty young Japanese woman asked me to take her photo at one of the overlooks.
|Looking toward the Palatine|
|Basilica of St Cosmas and St Damian|
|Looking toward the Palatine|
I had half a thought of perhaps entering the Roman Forum grounds, but in the end just continued on down to the Coliseum and Arch of Constantine and took more photos. The line to get into the Coliseum was very long, wrapping around the base and extending back toward the Arch. But I had no desire to stand in that line; I've already been inside twice before on previous trips.
I just kept strolling, taking photos, passing the line of giant tour buses lined up just beyond the Arch. I walked past the Circus Maximus again, past Teatro di Marcello and back up toward the Capitoline.
|Arch of Constantine and the Coliseum|
It was a crazy feeling: I didn't want to do this much walking, certainly had no intention of covering this same ground yet again, but I couldn't seem to stop doing it! Eventually I wandered back in the general direction of the hotel, stopped for lunch, and then continued walking a bit more. A nice late afternoon break at the hotel restaurant for an espresso and I finally admitted to myself that I was tired and wanted to get off my feet for the day.
Tomorrow I'll explore a beautiful section of Rome that the tourists don't know about.