My mother and I applied for our Schengen visa in the last week of November and since it was APEC week and the holiday season, it took some time to get it. Our visa was approved mid-January.
Then it was time to pack. Honestly, this was the most challenging part of travelling and deserves a post of its own.
Our first stop was in the city of Rome, Italy. After 20 hours of travelling and a three hour layover in Dubai, we finally arrived at Rome.
Dulcis Inn is a small bed and breakfast located near Rome’s famous sights such as the Trevi Fountain, the Spanish Steps, the Castel San’Angelo and the Pantheon.
We were greeted by the hotel’s owner Barbara. Dulcis Inn is very dainty, made more so by the pleasantly light fragrance in the air. They have an outdoor breakfast area.
My mom wanted to sleep the entire day but I was too excited to stroll so on our first day, I was able to see the Spanish Steps, Trevi Fountain and the Pantheon.
The Fontana della Barcaccia (Fountain of the Ugly Boat) is a Baroque fresh-water fountain in Piazza di Spagna just below the Spanish Steps. It is so named because it is in the shape of a half-sunken ship with water overflowing its bows. The fountain was commissioned by Pope Urban VIII and was completed in 1627 by Pietro Bernini and his son Gian Lorenzo Bernini.
The shape was chosen because, prior to the river walls being built, the Tiber often flooded and in 1598 there was a particularly bad flooding and the Piazza di Spagna was flooded up to a metre. Once the water withdrew, a boat was left behind in the square.
On our second day, I woke my mom up really early so she can have the Trevi fountain all to herself.
The Roman Pantheon is the most preserved and influential building of ancient Rome. It is a Roman temple dedicated to all the gods of pagan Rome.
The emperor Hadrian (A.D 117-138) built the Pantheon to replace Augustus’ friend and Commander Marcus Agrippa’s Pantheon of 27 B.C. which burnt to the ground in 80 A.D.
When approaching the front of the Pantheon one can see the inscription above still reads in Latin the original dedication by Marcus Agrippa. The inscription reads:
“Marcus Agrippa son of Lucius, having been consul three times made it”.
Despite all the marvelous building projects that the emperor Hadrian produced during his reign, he never inscribed his name to any, but one, the temple of his father Trajan. That is why the Roman Pantheon bears the inscription of Marcus Agrippa, and not the emperor Hadrian.
The square in front of the Pantheon is called Piazza della Rotonda.
Rome has fifty monumental fountains and hundreds of smaller fountains, over 2000 fountains in all, more than any city in the world. I read that Rome’s never been a city limited in water usage. There’s lots of water that freeflows out through the little fountains placed around the city.
You can find public fountains which are called Nasoni (big noses) around Rome. These fountains contain clean water that is safe for drinking. This is the exact same water that comes out of the taps of Rome’s houses. So do as the Romans do and save your €1.50 and refill your water bottle at the nasoni.