25 October 2007

La Dolce Layover

I recently had an unusual layover in Rome, Italy. Unusual in that I usually fly to the States, and flew with a former roommate I had not seen in a decade. (We lived together when I was 8 okay, stop with the math!!)

After landing and a loooong drive into the Eternal City ( complete with the eternal rush hour) we arrived at the FABULOUS hotel, located on Piazza Barberini. Took a quick little catnap and then hit the pavement before we met for dinner. Luckily I had a layover there in July so was familiar with the layout of the area.

First stop was the Monumental Cemetary of the Capuchin Brothers, which my guidebook described as 'one of the most horrifying sights in all Christendom'. It is something of a large tomb, several rooms, lined with the skeletons of over 4,000 Capuchin brothers. If you keep in mind that is was constructed when there was a 'cult for the dead' and spiritualists preached with skulls in hand, it is beautiful in a strange and eerie way. It is in the Church of the Immaculate Conception on Via Vittorio Veneto 27 ( metro: Barberini) and well worth a quick view if you are in the area.

After fortifying myself with a gelato after that visit, I headed towards the more traditional Trevi fountain to throw a coin in. It was so crowded I decided to return in the morning light before pickup to get photos. Next stop was the Spanish Steps. Note to others who are fans of the high heels, make sure yours have great traction before descending the WELL worn steps. The constant traffic has the steps as slick as ice in some areas. As crowded as it is there, it is part of the charm. People snapping photos, kissing, eating gelato and shopping all intermingled happily.

At the bottom of the steps are the ever important public toilets and an AMEX office, as well as a public fountain which is a great place to refill a water bottle of take a sip. The fountains of Rome were designed as places for the public to procure drinking water, it is perfectly clean and as nice as bottled. Really high end shops line the area, far beyond my budget, but I already had spotted my destination. Sermoneta Gloves.

Sermoneta Gloves is , to me, the holy grail of gloves. Truly. To look at it you would say I was crazy. it is a TINY storefront across from the steps. It could get lost amongst Chanel, Dior, Prada, etc, but stop here. You walk in and see a cashier only and think, what the hell...but press on upstairs. in a room the size of a small kitchen you will elbow to elbow with other shoppers who know... There are hand mannequins of all the styles possible. the ladies who work there ( and probably have since the 50s) speak 'glovese' in many languages. Point at the style you like, tell them your size. They will hoist up or down a wheel of gloves for you to choose from. You pick the color, the lining and try on after they have popped open the fingers with a special tool. Love at first feel. 2 pairs and 80 Euros lighter, I left with a smile on my face.

After a quick stop at Blue Sand for further retail therapy ( I can say 'sale' in every language) and a disco nap, I met the former roommate,Frank, for dinner. One delicious meal pf pasta,pizza and red wine later, we I took him to the Capuchin cemetary so he could see for himself next time. To our incredible luck there was an opera concerto going on within the grounds. We were able to listen in from the courtyard as we were too late to enter.Moments like that made us realize how very luck we are,music,friends and Rome.

I got up at sunrise to catch some more photos before pickup, and back to reality. I had the Trevi Fountain nearly to myself. Only a lone policemen was there. What a contrast to the daytime, when it is chock a block!!

A quick coffee later ( standing ,local style *also cheaper*) I headed back to the hotel to get ready for work. One last snap of the Fontana del Tritone and I was back to reality and getting ready for work.

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