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Friday, November 23, 2007

Rome - Day 2

The internet is still dropping out at the apartment so I've emailed the agency to let them know and see whether there's something we've missed. It could also be another case of flaky Italian internet.

I have a few rolls of 120 film that I need to use up so we're taking advantage of the rather photogenic Forum to accomplish this task.

On the way we pass by this site - Ludus Magnus

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Built around 81AD it was the training academy for gladiators and was discovered by chance in 1937, though it did exist in engravings from the 1500's.

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The complex closed in the 6th century when gladiatorial competitions were abolished.

We're walking the Forum in the opposite direction of our previous visit, this time we begin at the Colosseum and are walking up.

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This is the Chiesa di Santa Francesca Romana and it is built upon the ruins of the Temple of Venus and Rome.

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View to the Palatine Hill - you need to buy a ticket if you wish to visit the Palatine but it's a combo ticket that also gives you entry to the Colosseum.

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This circular structure is the Temple of Romulus which is now part of the Basilica di Santi Cosma e Damiano and stands in the area known as the Forum of Vespasian or Forum of Peace.

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The remains of the Tempio di Antonio e Faustina (Temple of Antoninus and Faustina) are part of the 17th century Chiesa di San Lorenzo in Miranda and stands in the Forum Romanum.

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The temple was originally dedicated to Faustina, the wife of Emperor Antoninus Pilus. When he died it was re-dedicated to both Antoninus and Faustina.

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Conversion of the temple into a church dates from around the 7th century, the current structure a result of work in the 17th century.

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Next up a view of both the Temple of Vesta and the Temple of Castor and Pollux

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The remains of the Temple of Vesta - all temples to Vesta are round.

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The ruins of the Temple of Castor and Pollux - Castor and Pollux are the twin sons of Zeus and Leda and the temple was built to celebrate the victory at Lake Regillus.

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Looking further afield is the Chiesa di Santi Luca e Martina - on the left is the Monument of Victor Emanuel II and to the right of the Church is the rebuilt Curia Julia

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At the centre: Colossal Column in Marble

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The Colonne Onorarie

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The Column of Phocas is located in the Forum Romanum and is dedicated to the Emporor Phocas.

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In context, Column of Phocas, Arch of Septimus Severus, Chiesa di Santi Luca e Martina and Curia Julia

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From left to right, Chiesa di San Lorenzo, various columns and the remains of the Temple of Castor and Pollux

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Made from white marble the Arch of Septimius Severus celebrates the victories of Emperor Severus against the Parthians. Four panels depict the various battles.

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This panel depicts the siege of the Parthian capital and eventual victory by the Emperor.

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In the lower portion of this panel it shows Seleucia under attack with the Parthians escaping on horses while the top portion depicts the Parthians surrendering to the Emperor.

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The remains of the Temple of Vespasian and Titus

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The remains of the Temple of Saturn date from around 500BC.

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The inscription reads "The Senate and People of Rome restored what fire had consumed"

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In context, the Temple of Vespasian and Titus and the Temple of Saturn

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Once we finally reach the upper levels of the forum we go through this laneway

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and find ourselves here, at the Museo Capitolini

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The Piazza del Campidoglio dates from the 15th century and was designed by Michelangelo - to the left is the Palazzo Nuovo in the centre is the Palazzo Senatorio and to the right, Palazzo dei Conservatori

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The Palazzo Senatorio was built in the 13th and 14th centuries. The double stairs were designed by Michelangelo, the bell tower by Martin Longhi the Elder and added in the 16th century.

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This statue of Emperor Marcu Aurelius dominates the centre of the piazza.

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Statues on top of the Palazzo Nuovo - it was built in the 17th century and is copy of the Palazzo dei Conservatori that stands opposite it.

By this stage I've finished my rolls of film, all I need to do now is find some place to process them. I do know that there was a lab near here but unfortunately for us, it doesn't seem to be there anymore.

With the sun shining and both of us feeling a little weary, we decide to head back to our apartment to regroup over a late lunch - we decide to try the Osteria Il Bocconcino

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It certainly ticks all the boxes with its decor and menu!

For starters:

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Paalo's choice: Crostini Bocconcini, four delicious bites. From the front going clockwise, cheese, wild mushrooms, capsicum and chickpeas

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My choice: the Eggplant Polpettini - wonderfully crisp but soft on the inside without any trace of greasiness.

Onto mains:

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Paalo's had the Pasta with Rabbit Ragu - it disappeared very quickly and having sampled a bit of it I can understand why. Simple but with amazing flavour, who knew rabbit could be this tasty.

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I opted for the Spinach and Ricotta filled Ravioli in a Tomato Ragu - lovely, the pasta is all made in house.

With our savoury dishes we enjoyed a bottle of Casale del Giglio 2005 Shiraz from Lazio.

The final test is dessert

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Paalo has the Zabaglione - at the bottle of the dish are marsala soaked sponge pieces. I don't get to taste much of this as Paalo eats it way too quickly.


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I try the Rosolio with assorted biscuits all made in house. The Rosolio is quite a potent liqueur and you basically just dunk the biscuits into it. There are fennel rings, cantucci and almond biscuits, all excellently made.

We're quite impressed with this place.

When we return home the internet is still not working and not long after we get a visit from our host from yesterday. She calls the help line and just like here, is stuck on hold. Eventually she does get through and as they tell her to turn things off and on we interrupted by a parade coming down our street.

Paalo whips out the little Nikon to take video of the procession - the Church nearby is having a celebration and is carting a statue down the roads complete with marching bands! I'd like to add the video but it will have to wait as it wasn't taken in Landscape but Portrait orientation so I need to flip the video to be able to show it correctly. I'll just add that to the other things I have to do when we come back.

The saga with the internet continues and eventually we do get a connection but we've seen that before. Rather than have her sit her to see if it stays connected she goes off for a little shopping. For a while it looks good, the most we've ever stayed connected was about 10 minutes but at about the 20 minute mark, it drops out again. It reconnects another two times for about a minute and then nothing.

It isn't good news when she returns. It does look more and more that there is a fault with the telephone line so she's going to call in a serviceman to look at it.

For dinner we return to a place we just loved 2 years ago, another small wine bar called Enoteca Kottabos, where we developed our love for the Lazio wine, Cesanese and you can pretty much guess that tonight we drank Cesanese.

Cesanese is the only thing Paalo has waited two years to try, once again he orders the Cavallo Carpaccio (that's horse carpaccio)

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and it is just as good as he remembered.

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I have the Pork ribs with forest mushrooms - I don't know how he cooked that pork but it was the most amazing piece of pork I've ever eaten. Crisp on the outside, the meat just fell apart, leaving the bones perfectly clean. Unbelievably good.

As we finished eating and were contemplating our next course we were interrupted by a series of loud bangs, stepping outside the source of the noise became crystal clear

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If the procession wasn't enough, a huge fireworks display capped off the night of celebration.

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To cap off the night's entertaining, a little coffee

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