Whenever possible we like to walk around a bit the first evening after arriving in our destination. It helps to get some exercise before bedtime and adjust to the jet lag. Besides, evening is an interesting time of day to observe the local happenings – people are getting off work, going out to eat, doing some shopping on the way home, and whatnot.
Our hotel in Rome (which I will review later) was located on Via Firenze just off of Via Nazionale, so we soon found ourselves headed southwest on Via Nazionale – no particular destination other than to wander until we felt like turning back around. It was a pleasant evening for the first week of March – a light jacket easily sufficed.
We found a very yummy sight right away – the Verde Pistacchio (Green Pistachio) gelato shop – decorated with a green scooter in front and the outer shell of a VW mini-bus, also painted pistachio green, inside. This was some of the better gelato we had, although in Italy even when the gelato wasn’t the best, it still beat the hell out of any we have here in the States.
I always pay attention to cars and trucks that pass by. Growing up with a car dealer father, we lived and breathed the automotive world and I still like interesting cars. We saw quite a variety including the little dark-grey number you see here.
Before we knew it, the Piazza del Quirinale was spread out before us and the sun was set. The statues and fountain in the middle of the plaza, while perhaps not as spectacular as the more well-known spots in Rome, are nevertheless quite attractive…and not nearly as crowded. From one side of the plaza one can see the huge dome of St Peter’s Basilica off in the distance. This plaza takes its name from the huge Palazzo del Quirinale looming beside it. The Palazzo (Palace) del Quirinale is presently the President of the Italian Republic’s official residence. Begun in the 17th century, the Quirinale has previously served as the residence of Popes and kings. The building is located on Quirinal Hill which is one of the Seven Hills of Rome.
Since it isn’t a far walk from the Quirinale to Trevi Fountain, we decided to have a quick look at the famous spot after dark. Even in late evening the tiny square was packed with people. Unfortunately, but not unexpectedly, the usual hawkers and touts were among the crowd…trying to shove a ‘free” rose into my daughter’s hand; pretending to need directions/help in English; selling overpriced light-up junk toys. The fountain is very pretty and quite the work of art, though, and worth seeing. Just be patient and look for an opening in the crowd so you can get down closer for a good look.
By this time we figured it was wise to begin walking back to the hotel before we were worn out. We noticed a Burger King advertising some new desserts, including a waffle with fudge sauce and ice cream for a very reasonable price – around €2 if I recall correctly. Being choco-holics, we couldn’t turn down a cheap, sweet treat like that!
What can I say, we love sampling local food but also are on a budget! Anyway it was actually pretty good for fast food…not anywhere near an authentic waffle in Belgium but quite tasty!