Centro Storico, Rome, Italy

Today, we decided to brave Rome’s tourist hoards and headed into Centro Storico after enjoying one of the sights nearest our hotel: the Villa Borghese! Our room at the hotel actually overlooks the beautiful park, and we enjoyed a rooftop breakfast which inspired us to see the sights in the park before heading down into the center of Rome.

View from the hotel rooftop.
View of the Villa Borghese from the hotel rooftop.

Unfortunately, the primary Borghese museum was sold out of tickets, but we ventured on, passing the Museum of Modern Art, until we reached a different exhibit: the National Etruscan Museum, which was fortunately free (a rarity here!). The museum has a huge series of exhibits, but sadly little context on who the Etruscans were (or at least, limited from what we could understand in the English signage). That being said, the artifacts are amazing and quite varied.


The grounds are also beautiful, and include a couple nice balconies.


After the Etruscan museum, we headed back towards Centro Storico, which is a neighborhood with many of the sights Rome is known for, including the Pantheon and Augustus’ Mausoleum (which, according to the owner of a wine store I met later in the day, has been under construction for at least the last 30 years, which is a short timeline in the overall age of the site).


The nice thing about Rome is that there are no wrong turns – honestly every single piece of this city is beautiful, from the shopping districts to the downtown districts which hold a mix of ancient and modern architecture together.


Of course, we made our way down to the Pantheon, which unfortunately was a little less exciting than I had initially hoped (not sure what I expected – but it was a nice structure and clearly full of history).


After the Pantheon, we made our way to my favorite place of the day: the Doria Pamphilj gallery, which is part beautiful estate home and part gallery for works such as Caravaggio’s. The home is beautifully done, with an amazing array of artworks and different color schemes.


The main area of the home is essentially a series of large, ornately decorated rooms, each of which has a different color scheme and many works of art.


You can also pay 2 Euro extra to visit the ‘apartments’ which are more of a ‘lived’ area than the rest of the home, which is arranged as a gallery. I’m glad we did; the rooms were not only similarly ornate and beautiful, but they also had Italian themes, such as the Veneto (Venetian) room, which is decorated in greens and has beautiful Venetian glass chandeliers.


The most beautiful piece in the collection!


The gallery also has many artworks in the basement and in different gallery spaces, not all of which seemed to be in the primary ‘residence’ part of the building.


Honestly, a couple hallways reminded me of the halls of Versailles – just unbelievably ornate and over the top in a way that only medieval / recent aristocracy alike could enjoy!


Then, we headed back to the hotel to regroup and enjoyed a late dinner at a restaurant near us in the north of Rome. We enjoyed a caprese salad, porcini pasta with fresh fettucine, veal marsala, and an almond cake soaked in some kind of almond liqueur, which was delicious. Of course, they also brought a fresh, free glass of dessert wine and a biscotti to ensure we got our fill! Overall, another great day in Rome.

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