**originally posted on my Just-Thauna.com blog**(First evening in Rome)
We arrived in Rome on Festa della Liberazione (Liberation Day marks the end of the Nazi occupation in Italy during WWII) and since it fell on a Thursday most Italians were enjoying a four day weekend. Rome was more crowded than usual and our first passeggiata (evening walk) gave us a glimpse of the crowds.
Our hotel was just a couple short blocks from the Piazza del Spagna or the Spanish Steps, which you can see where covered with people enjoying the day. The weather was perfect.
The Spanish Steps are a set of steps in Rome, Italy, climbing a steep slope between the Piazza di Spagna at the base and Piazza Trinità dei Monti, dominated by the Trinità dei Monti church at the top. The Scalinata is the widest staircase in Europe. – Wikipedia
Heading out of the piazza and onto the busy street, Via del Condotti.
Our vivacious leader, Guiliana all smiles welcoming us to Rome even though she just barely landed and arrived at the hotel. We gave her about 5 minutes to freshen up and then we were off on our first passeggiata (evening walk).
This was a surreal moment I’ll never forget. Just walking down the street and then Bam! Roman history right there in the middle of the city and you can just walk right up to it.
It still just boggles my mind to think that this is almost 2000 years old. From Wikipedia:
The Pantheon adjective understood as “[temple consecrated] to all gods”) is a building in Rome, Italy, commissioned by Marcus Agrippa during the reign of Augustus as a temple to all the gods of ancient Rome, and rebuilt by the emperor Hadrian about 126 AD.
The building is circular with a portico of large granite Corinthian columns (eight in the first rank and two groups of four behind) under a pediment. A rectangular vestibule links the porch to the rotunda, which is under a coffered concrete dome, with a central opening (oculus) to the sky. Almost two thousand years after it was built, the Pantheon’s dome is still the world’s largest unreinforced concrete dome. The height to the oculus and the diameter of the interior circle are the same, 43.3 metres (142 ft).
It is one of the best-preserved of all Roman buildings. It has been in continuous use throughout its history, and since the 7th century, the Pantheon has been used as a Roman Catholic church dedicated to “St. Mary and the Martyrs” but informally known as “Santa Maria della Rotonda.” The square in front of the Pantheon is called Piazza della Rotonda.
But it was closed…(it’s ok we’ll be back
After two groups of us heading in different directions and a sprint through Roman streets we arrived at our dinner location all together.
Dinner in Rome. Pasta was a cream sauce with black pepper and amazing. Wine was wonderful every where. I don’t know what they do to the potatoes in Italy, but they are scrumptious. And a dessert sampler….mama mia!