Thursday, June 15, 2017

Rome VI: Aventine Hill

Remember when we went to Austria and met the family who lives in Rome? (the post is here if you need a reminder) Well, as I said we might in that post, we did see them in Rome! In fact, we stayed in their apartment. They own a property that they rent out on, but they also have an apartment that they used to live in and haven't started renting out yet, and that's what they offered to us. They said that because they considered us to be friends (based on one afternoon last August in Austria), we could stay there for free. It was so unbelievably generous of them!

As if they could top that generosity, they also offered to spend an evening with us showing us around the Aventine Hill and the neighborhood of Trastevere. 

They picked us up outside the Mouth of Truth and we drove up the hill. We went into the basilica of Santa Sabina, an early fifth century church that is simple, but really neat to see. There was a wedding that was just ending there, what was to be the first of four wedding parties we saw that evening. 

This little hole looks into an orange garden!

These fifth century carvings are original, and some of the oldest depictions of Christ dying on the cross. Silvia told us that before that point, depictions of the crucifixion were uncommon because it was thieves that usually died on the cross, and nobody liked that association. All of the panels here have a story from the Bible or depiction of Biblical things.

Next, we went to a keyhole, where you can look through the garden of the Knights of Malta onto a perfectly framed view of St. Peter's Basilica. My camera had a more difficult time capturing this view, but it was neat. Little Marco told us that we were seeing three countries at one time - we were in Italy, looking through Malta (the garden is considered a sovereign state) at Vatican City, which is considered another country as well.

We walked to this very pleasant garden up there, with a spectacular view of the city from the top. Because of where the sunlight was, we asked for our picture together to be taken without the view of Rome in the background. Here we are missing their daughter Sara, who was at a birthday party.

We decided to walk instead of driving down, and enjoyed this path down the Aventine Hill. Silvia is a wonderful guide to the city (and is an actual tour guide in the Vatican! With City Wonders tours I think!) and told us all kinds of things about Rome that we didn't know before.

This glass is so that pigeons don't sit here.

Marco showed us this face in the stump. He said that there is an artist who does things like this in the city.

We went to a restaurant in Trastevere for dinner that night. At their suggestion, Carson had oxtail and I had Carbonara. They also encouraged us to eat appetizers I never would have tried - zucchini flowers, fried (but not fried like we'd think of fried) artichokes, and these little whole fish. Everything was so good and we were stuffed.

Carson was encouraged to sop up the rest of his sauce with the bread. The waiter in particular seemed concerned that Carson understand how good the sauce was, and even offered to bring out pasta to enjoy the rest of the sauce if he didn't want to eat it by itself.

We went back to the keyhole to see the view one last time. My camera captured a blurry image of St. Peter's, so I confess, I did a little photo editing from a different (clearer) picture of the Basilica that night and merged the two together. This is basically how it looks though!

We ran into the Kings as they were coming home from dinner, which was a nice coincidence. We enjoyed some conversation on the patio with them as we unwound from the day.

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