she had ordered a cappuccino while waiting for me, so i got myself a doppio espresso and we had a lovely chat while the mass of humanity that is Termini station swirled around us. finally, in light of expectant nieces at home, we walked to the front of the station and caught the #40 express bus back across the city. Kira got to experience the gastrocnemius-busting joy of the Gianicolo Hill, and when we finally arrived at our front door, i think the girls' shrieks could have woken Julius Caesar in his grave.
after afternoon naps for Cece and Auntie Kira, we went on an exploring expedition around the grounds. it's still surreal to me that we live here, not just in Rome but at the NAC. we happened to run into Nick, who had been doing some office work, and he joined us for the piece de resistance, the view from the roof.
|just a casual afternoon on the roof|
then it was time to come home and make pizza. we put the leaf in the kitchen table and i think we'll just leave it that way even when we don't have guests -- there's so much more room for the girls to color or for me to spread out all my recipes when i'm planning meals for the week.
on wednesday, we had plans to meet our friends at the Museo di Roma at Palazzo Braschi. this palace stands at the southern end of Piazza Navona, and the views out the windows are just as striking at the museum exhibits. the Palazzo Braschi was completed in 1804, on the site of the previous Palazzo Orsini (built in 1435).
before even entering the museum, we were greeted to this beautiful sight: a "Gala Sedan", built for the marriage of Sigismondo Chigi to Giovanna Medici D'Ottajano in 1776. Greta and Elizabeth were quite enamored with the idea of princesses riding in this carriage. i myself couldn't get over the juxtaposition of eighteenth-century luxury transportation and twenty-first century motorini.
the main focus of our visit was seeing the temporary Canaletto exhibit, featuring works by this famous Venetian painter. at least, he's famous in Italy and Great Britain. he may very well be famous in the States as well, but i don't remember ever hearing of him. after seeing the exhibit, however, i completely understand the acclaim.
|watching the action in Piazza Navona|
|Rome itself is a living museum|
we continued our visit with the permanent exhibitions, which are gorgeous. like the Castel Sant'Angelo, this museum isn't one of the heavy hitters like the Vatican Museums or the Borghese Gallery, but the collection is still beautiful and the location is unbeatable.
|if i had to guess, i would bet she's pretending that she lives here|
|look closely or you might miss it -- just someone feeding her baby|
|you know it's going to be good when there's a crowd this size gathered around a street performer|
|and yes! we had a birds-eye view into this unicycle-riding, flame-juggling daredevil's act|
|this column shows the level of a flood of the Tiber in 1180|
|not a bad life for a pup|
|here we are!|
|thank you, McDonaldsItalia, for your tastefully subtle presence|
|Giordano Bruno. the inscription reads: "A BRUNO - IL SECOLO DA LUI DIVINATO - QUI DOVE IL ROGO ARSE("Bruno - the century predicted by him - here where the fire burned").|
our next stop was to see the secret passage that links Campo de' Fiori with the next street over: the Passetto di Biscione. i had read about this on Natalie's amazing blog and couldn't wait to see it for myself. this tiny covered walkway is decorated with beautiful frescos and a little shrine to Our Lady.
|the secret passage is just to the right of this building ... if only the walls could talk!|
|speaking of walls!|
i had lured the girls on this walk with promises of gelato. most of our gelato so far has come from random shops, some better than others, but we hadn't made a concerted effort to seek out thee best gelato yet. i was determined to try one of the famous ones, so we betook ourselves to Fatamorgana. and oh my goodness ... it was the best gelato i had had up til that point (spoiler alert -- i now like Frigidarium best!). the girls devoured theirs too, as you can see. i opted for a scoop of estasi (dark chocolate with hazelnuts) and a scoop of another flavor with amaretto and chocolate. delicious!
we continued on our roundabout way home, passing a bakery that had just put out a platter of pizza for a tour group. it smelled delicious! i love just wandering up and down the streets here ... you never know what you'll come across.
finally, our last sight of the afternoon: Piazza Farnese. the Farnese family built their palazzo at one end of this piazza, and it now houses the French embassy.
|Michelangelo and several other famous architects contributed to the Palazzo Farnese. the Farnese sculpture collection that we saw in the Naples archaeological museum (including Toro Farnese) was originally housed here.|