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Rome Diaries – Pantheon and Trevi Fountain

by Rachna

You can catch up with the previous two posts Italian Diaries – Sneak peek of Rome and Rome Diaries – Colosseum and Palatine Hill before reading ahead . Continuing on our Roman adventure, we decided to do a self-guided tour of Pantheon, Trevi Fountain and Spanish Steps, all architectural delights.

We got off on the same Piazza Venezia and walked in a different direction than what we took for the Colosseum.

As you walk through the narrow streets and follow the map, you suddenly round the corner and come to a plaza called Piazza della Rotonda. You will have your aha moment as you see the centuries-old Pantheon — impressive, huge and so well maintained even after centuries.

 

Pantheon means a temple to every God in Greek. You can see a large Dome on the top and a set of pillars in the front that lead to an entrance. It has been used as a Church since later. It was completed by 129 AD. It attracts a large number of visitors and hence is very crowded.

pantheon-1

 

As you enter and look up you see the massive dome with an uncovered opening to the sky. The day we visited, it was bright and sunny. Take in the architecture of this ancient monument which is the world’s oldest unreinforced Dome to date. You can see an altar for prayer.

pantheon-3

 

There is no entrance fee and you can have a look and come out in minutes.

pantheon-2

 

As you come out you can see the Fountains of Pantheon where you can sit and relax while you marvel at its marble structure which was later reinforced with a stone base. The water from the fountain is potable so you can refill your water bottles.

pantheon-4

 

After spending some time watching the Pantheon from some distance and absorbing its beauty, we headed to the Trevi Fountain which is a beauty in marble. People do throw in cents and make wishes here. As a matter of fact, I have found that people throw cents in most water fountains across Rome. 🙂 This is again clogged with tourists. You can drink from the fountains here. This is a site of an aqueduct that supplied water to ancient Rome.

trevi-fountain

We then moved on to finding a rest room. There is a McDonald’s close to here which has free toilets. It also has our favourite gelato though the burgers were clearly overpriced. This McD was very close to Spanish Steps which was our last halt on this walking tour. Unfortunately some repair work was ongoing and hence a large part of it was cordoned off. Tired after an afternoon worth of walking, we proceeded to the closeby Metro station to catch a train and a bus back to our Apartment.

At the Metro, a good looking Italian policeman warned us about pick pockets whose favourite targets were tourists. He told us in fluent English to keep all our backpacks hung from the front. Wallets and purses must also be in the front pockets or slung in the front. He also told us that it was kids who most often engaged in pickpocketing on trains and in subway stations. We were grateful for his tips and in the Metro, we spotted 2-3 boys fitting the description he had mentioned. One of them even tried to strike a conversation with us while an Italian lady frantically signalled to my husband not to talk to those boys. Did we have a close shave? We don’t know! It felt like it. But we were very careful for the rest of our trip and were lucky enough not to be robbed.

Take care of your documents as well. For audio guides and in some places, they will ask to see your ID. But for audio guides even our Indian IDs like DL were accepted. It is good to have a Euro currency debit or credit card with you. That is a safer way of carrying money and cheaper as compared to using your Indian CC or Debit card. Keep cash low and use it only where they don’t accept card. Also distribute the cash among all members. That way you reduce your damages in case robbed.

Next post, we visit the Vatican. Hope you are having fun exploring Rome with me.

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30 comments

Sulekha May 30, 2016 - 4:48 pm

Rachna, I have to read your earlier two posts to really see Rome through your eyes but I loved what I read and saw here 🙂 The tip about pick-pockets is very helpful, keeping backpack in front is a must in our metros too.

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Rachna May 31, 2016 - 7:47 am

Thanks, Sulekha.

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Rajlakshmi May 30, 2016 - 7:23 pm

I have only seen them in movies. Wow it must be quite a moment to admire these structures in real.
Kids as pickpocket!! One has to be so careful every time.

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Rachna May 31, 2016 - 7:48 am

Oh yes, Europe is rife with pick pockets. Warnings are everywhere and apparently gangs of pickpockets operate.

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alkagurha May 30, 2016 - 8:51 pm

Son went on a solo Europe tour last year. Your pictures remind me of his tales and experiences. Similar stories about guides and petty crime.
Looks like you had loads of fun.

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Rachna May 31, 2016 - 7:49 am

How lovely! The solo trip! Europe is beautiful. This was my third trip and can’t wait to explore more.

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Arvind Kumar May 31, 2016 - 8:16 am

Awesome pictures. Want to visit once.

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Nabanita Dhar May 31, 2016 - 9:58 am

I have heard about the pick pockets..It was good to know that the police and even people tried to help..I’m loving your posts..exploring Italy at a comfortable pace through your words and eyes 🙂

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Rachna June 1, 2016 - 7:12 am

Thanks, Naba. I guess the locals are already careful so perhaps they inform the tourists.

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Asha May 31, 2016 - 2:26 pm

Lovely to read about your adventures Rachna. Rome has such a rich history, isn’t it. Lucky you people escaped from pickpockets. I have heard of a joke where somebody told me that ppl go in drives from places like Italy to rob and then come back in the evening 🙂

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Rachna June 1, 2016 - 7:11 am

Yes, we were lucky in that sense. They have warnings put up about pick pockets in all travel networks. Yes, apparently there are organized gangs operating. Scary stuff! India feels easy safe in this aspect.

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Rahul May 31, 2016 - 3:10 pm

I am reliving the moments of recent Rome visit! Romans certainly got a fair share of leadership in cultural and architectural beauty in last 2000 years old history:)

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Rachna June 1, 2016 - 7:10 am

Oh yes! They did. It’s interesting to see the modern and the ancient co-exist so well together. 🙂

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C. Suresh May 31, 2016 - 7:13 pm

THAT was one of those things that they warn of while touring in Italy 🙂 Pantheon – maybe THIS is the root of the English word pantheon – as in ‘pantheon of gods’

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Rachna June 1, 2016 - 7:09 am

Maybe. I just heard that the word originated from Latin and Greek. 🙂

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Prasad Np June 1, 2016 - 1:01 pm

Good to read more details about the Roman Holiday, must appreciate the maintenance and wonderful condition these hundreds of year old monuments are even today.

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Rachna June 1, 2016 - 2:04 pm

Thanks, Prasad.

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Colleen June 1, 2016 - 1:42 pm

Ah, so interesting to read of your adventures in Rome! Such a truly beautiful city, your photos took me back.:) I visited twice with my husband, both times right before Christmas and I feel like there is something so magical about Italy…even the air felt amazing! I am so glad you guys enjoyed your trip! What an awesome experience for your sons as well! What did they enjoy most?

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Rachna June 1, 2016 - 2:09 pm

Yes, ltaly is magical. And exploring it with the kids when they are slightly older was a treat. I think each monument Colosseum, Pantheon, the Duomo at Florence, Vatican, the Tuscan landscape, the Pompeii ruins and all the fabulous food were all wonderful. Difficult to pick one!

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Destiny's child June 1, 2016 - 5:19 pm

Wow that dome looks HUGE! I am sure the Vatican post is going to be super awesome. I have wanted to visit that place ever since I started reading Dan Brown 😀

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Rachna June 2, 2016 - 11:56 am

That Dome is huge! The entire Pantheon is Big! You have to look up and gape. 😀 Oh yes, Vatican! That book did cross my mind when I visited the place.

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Sid June 1, 2016 - 11:07 pm

Aha! Robbery there too ? Italian thieves! 😀
Keep them coming, Rach. I’m going to use your posts as a guide when I finally visit Italy.

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Rachna June 2, 2016 - 11:23 am

Thanks, Sid. Apparently there are organized gangs. Same in Paris as well. Mostly from Eastern Bloc countries. It was a bit unnerving to be careful at all tourist locations and in public transport. Even in India, we don’t feel so unsafe about our belongings. 😀 But the people seemed nice and helpful. And those Italian men. *drool* 😀

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Beloo Mehra June 2, 2016 - 10:06 am

Some nice shots there! Your post made me recall one of my favourite romantic movies – Roman Holiday, with Gregory Peck and Audrey Hepburn. Do watch it if you haven’t already! You will enjoy it, I think 🙂

By the way, it was the word pantheon that led some western Indologists to wrongly use the word ‘pantheism’ to describe Hinduism! Talk about misunderstanding of differences!

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Rachna June 2, 2016 - 11:21 am

Oh yes, I loved that movie. But I watched it a long time ago. Need to see it again. 🙂 We came to know so much about the bloody history of Church in the past. How pagan temples including this one were converted to Christian worship places. It is all quite fascinating.

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Shailaja Vishwanath June 3, 2016 - 8:22 am

I absolutely have Europe on my travel list like I told you when we spoke 🙂 Italy sounds magical and yes, I heard of the pickpockets very often from other people too. Isn’t it incredible how much we have in common with them in terms of architecture and temples? I love when they preserve such ancient monuments with abundant care.

Your holiday was lovely, I can tell 🙂

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Rachna June 4, 2016 - 7:17 am

Oh yes, that is what struck me as well. The similarities between the two countries. But the larger cities in Europe do have a problem of pickpockets. Yes, the monuments are really well preserved and places are tourist friendly. Oh yes, a beautiful holiday. 🙂

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Tales of travelling sisters June 3, 2016 - 5:37 pm

Lovely post on your Rome experience, Rachna :). Did u make a wish at the Trevi Fountain?? 🙂

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Rachna June 6, 2016 - 12:49 pm

Oh yes, absolutely! Thanks for dropping by. 🙂

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The Untourists July 31, 2016 - 9:06 am

Gorgeous, isn’t it? I love Rome…

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