Roman Sunday, what Romans do

August 12, 2012 in ITALY | Comments (5)


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Canine lawbreakers in the Borghese gardens

A  Sunday in Rome. “Shopping”, eating, Borghese gardens…

Window shopping is one of the prime pastimes of Rome.  Via Condotti starts below the 138 Spanish steps. Just to name a few brands: Bally, Burberry, Bvlgari, Cartier, Damiani, Dolce & Gabbana, Jimmy Choo, Gucci, Hermes, Valentino, Vuitton, Prada, Ferragamo, Trussardi.

Sunday is definitely a day for Via Condotti and people jostle for place in the narrow street – though most shops are closed. The story circulates that Madonna asked for one Designer outlet to open one Sunday – they reportedly refused. The Burberry store looked very open on our Sunday window shopping, but it had a very elegant man standing in the doorway looking coldly well dressed and tall, as if to intimidate those who cannot afford to buy.

Sunday is not the recommended day for tourists to visit the Vatican because of queues. We did though,  a long long walk down via Cola di Rienzo which needed  a stop in a street market to get linen trousers to beat the heat.

Though the huge paved piazza looked vast and empty with the locals fleeing the heat of July & August, there were still very long queues to get into St Peters.

On the other hand if you want to do what the Romans do. Sunday is the day for Borghese gardens. Everyone was there with their dog, their babies, or even their parrots. It was relatively cool under the trees and breezes reach this park on the hill (but still around 32 deg in the shade). We decided to walk though tempted to take one of the wheeled alternatives (our map cut off the park so we did not dare to risk not getting back within the hour). They all looked so happy whizzing past. But we were too.

Happiest though were the dogs that let off the leash jumped illegally into the fountains. One could see it was a Sunday routine. Other happy souls were rowing on the small lake and watching the little turtles swimming. The Borghese Gallery is a worthy destination over the other side of the park, though quite pointless to go there if you don’t have a booking.

Just getting to the park from the top of the Spanish Steps is a lovely experience, definitely to be recommended. The street Viale Trinita del Monte skirts along the edge of the hill and you have gorgeous views over Rome’s ancient rooftops and domes. One of the ways down from the park is from Piazza Napoleone with its triumphant columns to Piazza del Popolo, next to Hotel de Russie in cia Babuino.

The reverse direction might be better – first walk DOWN  the Spanish steps and then along via Babuino to Piazza del Popolo and proceed along a windy road up to the park (via Babuino is good for window shopping but also for pizza). That way we would have avoided our fourth walk up the 136 Spanish steps. We actually went down and up the Steps again that Sunday night. Destination was a place to dine in Piazza Mignanelli. I had a marvellous salad with smoked swordfish. The oranges added much sparkle: Price 13 euro – certainly worth it.

Note: I actually wrote this on a Sunday in late July 2012.

Images by Per-Olov Broddeson

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