This is the start of some outstanding church interiors, starting with Santa Maria sopra Minerva.
Built on the site of a Roman temple to Minerva, Santa Maria sopra Minerva was built in 1280 in unusually gothic style; the interior is lavish and contains a spectacular ceiling, frescos, carved marble tombs of a couple of Medici popes among others, a Risen Christ statue by Michelangelo and varied works byBernini, Italy’s second favourite sculptor after the big Mike.
The elephant carrying an Egyptian obelisk outside the church is by Bernini, supposedly extolling the virtue of strength supporting wisdom.
The Pantheon was originally a temple dedicated to various gods but later became a church to the one god.
Part of Santa Maria sopra Minerva’s sumptuous interior, with the marble carving to the right by Bernini.
The spectacular Basilica of Ambrogio e Carlo church.
An astonishing marble skeleton by – yes, the inevitable Bernini – inside Santa Maria del Popolo church.
The famous statue of Moses by Michelangelo in Rome’s Basilica di San Pietro in Vincoli.
Scooters rule in Rome.
Due not so much to heavy traffic as very limited parking space scooters are transport du jour but the ubiquitous cobblestones are extremely slippery when wet.
The centre of the city appears to have neither underground car parks (afraid of what they might find down there? ) nor multistorey or even old style surface parks though a few small, expensive indoor parks exist.
Since ‘imaginative’ street parking is thus sine qua non the fashionistas have taken to short-ass Smart cars, so, for example, the Trastevere bistro area that gets packed at night sees a huge ratio of Smarts over regular motors, mostly parked nose-in to the kerb.
We have no documented evidence what this unpleasant lighting-support critter is but Starcraft game players are of the opinion that it’s a deformed infant mutalisk.
Shopping in Rome, expensive? Not compared to Paris or London, yet excellent quality, dramatic colours and unique Italian designs.
Rome offers some stunning high quality goods in original and imaginative designs and fantastic varieties of colours. Shoes, gloves and other leatherwear, cotton clothing, kitchenware, all stylish but reasonably priced.
When entering or leaving shops, bars it’s traditional etiquette to say ‘buon giorno’ in the morning or ‘buona sera’ in the afternoon or evening ( it covers both hello and goodbye). ‘Ciao’ is informal, for use with friends, young people or kids, or among work colleagues. If somebody thanks you by saying ‘grazie’ it’s polite to say ‘prego’ (you’re welcome) in return.
For good value try the market in Piazza Testaccio which offers a mass of stalls selling good-quality shoes and bags at knock-down prices.
You will need to sift carefully to find quality at the Porta Portese flea market, which unfolds along Via Portuense. It’s entertaining and atmospheric but watch out for pickpockets.