Monday, May 04, 2009

Three Coins in the Fountains

Here's my book entering its swank hotel on Via Veneto. This is a nice, historic location with easy walking access to the Villa Borghese, Spanish Steps, and Trevi Fountain. It's also the setting of Federico Fellini's La Dolce Vita.

The hotel had an indoor pool, and you know I love my pools. This one was done up to be reminiscent of a Roman bath. Noice!

Via Veneto starts at Piazza Barberini, which is where you'll find Bernini's famous Triton Fountain.

Via Veneto hasn't fully escaped the progression of time and consumerism since La Dolce Vita -- there's now a Hard Rock Cafe on the lower portion of the street.
But it is still fairly sweet with many "Dolce Vita" cafes and bars still around.

Via Veneto used to host the movie stars with all the hot bars and nightclubs in Rome to party the night away. The hot spots for nightclubbing are now the Ostiense and Testaccio area, though. Via Veneto's stylish nightclubs have been replaced with places like this. Dolce, indeed.

At the upper portion of Via Veneto, you pass through the Aurelian Walls and then can enter the Villa Borghese Park. It's pretty awesome, with lakes and fountains and the incredible Villa Borghese Museum. It's also a great place to just sit and relax and enjoy a lovely day in Rome.

Just about ten minutes from Via Veneto, you can find the Trevi Fountain. It is, of course, awesome. Both my book and I took a stroll there and tossed a coin in the fountain, which is supposed to guarantee a return trip to Rome. A lesser visited, but kind of cool place right near the Trevi is on a small side street leading away from the fountain. You can go into this one building and see one of the aqueducts that feeds it and hear the water rushing through it. The water in the fountain, Romans tell me, is actually drinkable. They also tell me that it flows through the Trevi and then gets recycled in the Triton.

Oh the streets of Rome are filled with rubble
ancient footprints are everywhere.
You can almost think that you're seeing double
on a cold, dark night on the Spanish stairs.

Bob Dylan, "When I Paint My Masterpiece"

From the Trevi, it's another short walk to the Spanish Steps. Here's my book in the Piazza Spagna getting ready to make the hike up the one hundred and thirty-eight steps..

Here's a better shot where you can see all the way up to the first landing, and then see the second plateau above it, along with the church, the Trinita dei Monti. The second pic here is of my book, taking a quick breather on the first landing, looking down at the Piazza Spagna square.

And this is my book on the landing, looking up at the church and checking out what's left to climb. We already felt like doing the Rocky dance at the mid-way point.

And, here my book has made it to the top. It is so exhausted it can't even consider doing the Rocky victory jog. It was so tired it couldn't even hum the Maynard Ferguson theme at that point.
In fact, it needed some support to keep from passing out and falling over the railing and back down to the Spanish Square. When in Italy, my book was rarely at a loss for a charming Italian gentleman to hold it. (YAY!) This particular fellow giving it a hand is an artist who shows his stuff on the upper landing of the Steps, in front of the church. This is common, and some of the artwork, including his, will blow you away. He not only held my book, but also gave me a lovely ink drawing of Piazza Navona.
He wanted a copy of AC, and I was a fucking idiot and wanted to take it a few more places, so I said I'd meet him on the Steps a few days later to give it to him. My book started getting bitchy, though, still pining for Gondolier who'd held it and read it so wonderfully and so it absolutely refused to walk back up the Steps. So I ended up screwing over this darling Roman. Real American class on my part, huh? I'll be sending him a copy of the book to make up for it, because that particular copy still refuses ownership by anyone other than Gondolier.

The ink drawing of Piazza Navona inspired me to visit there in the evening. The whole area around Piazza Navona is a great section of Rome, with wonderful restaurants and pretty neighborhoods.
And the Piazza itself is a great place to people watch. Here's Bernini's Four Rivers Fountain. Some say that if you throw a coin into the Fontana de Quattro Fiumi and make a wish, it could come true. But since my wish was only to return to Rome, and I'd already covered that by tossing a coin into the Trevi, I figured I was good. But my book, of course, pines for a return trip to Venice, so we chucked a coin in to try to cover that city, too.

There are cafes and artists and musicians all through the square, all with an amazing backdrop.

My blowing off of the Roman artist came back around and karma-kicked my ass nearly immediately. On the the day I was to leave Rome, I boarded my plane, but was then kept on the runway for over four hours before they decided to cancel the flight until the next day. After de-planing, we had to go through customs again and my passport was once again stamped as entering Rome. Because I am unsure about the technicalities regarding the Trevi Fountain return trip deal, I decided to not take any chances. So that night, I made a return trip to the Trevi to toss another coin. I'll keep you posted if it works out.



Donna said...

Wow, your book certainly got around! Caressed by so many charming Italian men--they know sexy when the see it ;-). It sounds like a fabulous trip.

SusanD said...

Thanks for hanging in there, Donna!