Our departure from Gubbio was not without problems. It was raining (first time during the trip), but more importantly, there was a local run that morning and the tiny streets were blocked off while the runners got started. I believe I mentioned the bicycle race that interfered with our day in Florence – what are the chances of encountering two different types of races in just a few days? Anyhow, we made our way to Rome, arriving to a warm and humid, but pleasant afternoon. I love Rome and could hardly wait to become reacquainted with this exciting and historical city.
After checking into our delightful hotel, the Hotel Forum, looking directly onto the Roman Forum, I went in search of a late lunch. A light pasta and mixed green salad fortified me and I was ready to go exploring with the Pantheon as my destination. Even though I have visited Rome multiple times, I was awestruck as I strolled by the Forum, the Victor Emanuele II monument (the “Wedding Cake”), and countless statues and ruins. After taking a wrong turn, I got back on track and found the Pantheon. The Pantheon is a temple that dates to 27 BC, rebuilt by the emperor Hadrian, around 126 AD. Today it functions as a Catholic church. The most impressive architectual feature of the Pantheon is its unreinforced concrete dome, the largest in the world. It is believed that even by today’s architectual and engineering standards, it would be extremely difficult to reproduce such a structure.
Our group met for cocktails on the rooftop of the hotel and then I went off to dinner by myself. I was in search of seafood and the hotel concierge recommended a restaurant called Corte del Grillo. I was seated promptly and the maitre d’ assisted with my menu selections and then matched a wine to the meal. The wine we settled on was an Italian Gewurtztraminer, which I would never have chosen on my own. It worked well with fresh oysters, amazing prawns sauteed in garlic and tomato, and a fish called John Dory. The meal was completed by pineapple slices that had been filled in with lime sorbet and garnished with fresh currants. It was a beautiful dessert. Feeling completely satisfied with my first day and evening in Rome, I headed back to the hotel and to bed.
Tomorrow is our last day, but I am ready to go home to Charleston. Cheers, friends and followers.