After our rest back at Gensola we decided to walk (hang in there, feet) toward the Pantheon. I really wanted to take one of those slick looking trams (streetcars) but I was low on coins for the fares and worried about pickpockets. So we walked... Lucas wanted to take a walk on the bike path down below the lungotevere river walls, so we did. Then back up the steps (Huff, puff) and across the Ponte Garibaldi and strolled a large viale (boulevard) up toward the Pantheon. Along the way Lucas spied a shop with sexy underwear and said we were going to the Panty-on. This kid!
The neighborhood here was more upscale with art nouveau apartment facades, caged elevators and grand courtyards like I remember in Paris. It was also very fast paced... dodgy crosswalks, helmeted, stylish young working women rushing about on scooters texting as they go, trams squeaking on the tracks, narrow sidewalks and bumping shoulders as people rushed by.
We turned down a narrow street and followed our little blue dot on my Google Maps app as we closed in on the Pantheon. We spied a fantastic bakery with breads, Italian pastries and cookies, and the breakfast choice of all Italians... cornettos. Note to self: On the way back pick up some stuff for tomorrow's breakfast. This street, as many in sidestreet Roma, was very narrow with no real sidewalk, so we had to be careful about speeding taxis and scooters.
We got to the Pantheon and were amazed by its size and state of preservation. There were hundreds of people flocked outside in the piazza grooving to a great electric guitarist doing a near perfect cover of The Wall by Pink Floyd. A real party feel, but intermingled with aggressive hawkers, gypsies confronting for handouts and the hidden pickpockets. You can hire a horse and wagon for a ride here... or a rickshaw. The fountain in the piazza has some beautiful creatures on it. What a lively place.
Built during the reign of Augustus, the Pantheon is almost 2000 years old and has the oldest intact coffered un-reinforced concrete dome in the world. It is 142 feet from the floor to the oculus at the top. Rainwater coming from the oculus in drains away on the gently sloping marble floors. The reason for its great state of preservation is because after the fall of the Roman Empire since around 700AD it has been in continuous use as a Roman Catholic church. The columns are huge single pieces of granite perhaps 60 feet tall. Again, it's a shame that in a place of worship you see signs as you enter to beware of pickpockets. Also, loads of tourists show little respect about it being a place of worship. It's very loud inside. By the way, like St. Peters, since it's a church there is no entry fee... thus the pickpockets. Amazing sight nonetheless...
Campo Di Fiori
Then we walked over to Campo di Fiori for dinner... A nice but touristy piazza known for its daytime market. There was little left of the market when we arrived--just some flower merchants. Dinner was fine... not great, but satisfying. Musicians played on the piazza and we people watched. I bought a little light up helicopter toy from one of the hawkers.... first it was six Euro, then he tried to sell me a dozen for 30 Euro... so I said I want only one... he came down to 2... I said "una Euro per uno". Deal. Jeepers... even buying a kid's toy is an effort.
Then bakery... home... talked about the day... sleep.