Besides taking in all the sights and smells, we did some serious stuff too – caught up on the TV series (Americans, Silicon Valley..) that we had missed due to our hectic work/ social life!
Coming back to Day 6. This is when the Pisces in me started looking for water and sandy beaches. We researched and found a beach called Fregene that was about 1 – 1.5 hrs from Trastevere. Best way to get there is by taking a train to Maccarese from Rome’s Termini station (30 minutes) and then take a local bus to the beach. Probably we should have read up more, but the trip was disappointing. First, we got off too early and then had to walk miles to get to the beach, by which time we were ravenous (tip – carry snacks!). Second, the beach turned out to be not public and instead, serviced by private establishments (which didn’t seem worth it as half the day had already passed). Third, weather gods also didn’t play along – it was an exceptionally windy day and the sand flew into our eyes. Lastly, getting a bus back to the train station turned into an ordeal – buses don’t seem to follow any schedule in this part of the town! So you probably get the reason for no pictures and no mention of any more such adventures
Skipping Day 7 (just lounged around) and fast forward to Day 8. With renewed spirits, we took on the challenge to trek all the way up to Janiculum Hill (as the name suggests, it is an incline, so watch out for the heart pumping).
Fontana dell’ Acqua Paola
The panoramic view from Piazzale Garibaldi was stunning! In retrospect, would recommend timing it in such a way that you reach here just before sunset.
From here we started walking towards Vatican.
St. Peter’s Basilica
Next we went to Vatican Museum – we heard that there is a night tour on certain Fridays. The crowds were relatively less and doing it in the night saved our day. Only, we couldn’t see St. Peter’s Basilica from inside as it is shut at night. But the illumination covered up for it and more!
View of St. Peter’s Basilica from the Vatican Museum
While our interest was primarily to see the Sistine Chapel (the last part of the tour), as we walked along, we saw sculptures, tapestries, maps representing Italian regions and Papal properties, Raphael rooms..
Just 5 minutes from here, we found Trattoria del Pollarolo. Most other places were shut for the day, so we settled for this as it looked popular with locals. We ordered rigatoni (decent), tiramisu (very good) and beer – costing us 20 Euros.
One dish that we loved but forgot to take pictures of each time was Cacio e Pepe – do try it (preferably the bacon version)! Its on the salty side with loads of pepper and delicious cheese!
Day 9 we had booked an authentic Italian cooking class with Francesca through BonAppetour. We fixed the time and menu (she was willing to teach variety of pasta and sauces; or pizza from scratch) through the website and reached her doorstep.