Post our Vatican tours and in need of sustenance to power us through jet-lag and into the afternoon tour of the Borghese Gallery we headed through backstreets off the tourist beaten path and find a good place to eat. To our surprise we found Romeo Chef & Baker, a modern twist on Italian cuisine. There we had a few delicious micro brews, a buffalo mozzarella with prosciutto, and gnocchi on pecorino fondue with fried artichokes. It was rich and fantastic and well deserved after the 12K+ steps my Fitbit had registered that morning.
After lunch we took the subway back to Spagna and got out to see the Spanish Steps before walking back to our hotel (The Grand Flora). Upon entering the piazza we saw a scene of near riot (another blog post to come) with Dutch football fans disrespecting the famous Roman landmark.
We quickly got ourselves out of there before things became dangerous and headed through the Borghese Gardens to the Borghese Gallery to see a few Bernini statues we had heard about. They were incredible.
Bernini’s Apollo and Daphne with Daphne turning into a laurel before your eyes had motion and transformation carved into marble with intricacy and detail that was hard to believe.
Bernini’s other master work of Pluto and Proserpine was also spectacular. With the weight and pressure of his hand wrapped around her and pressing into her flesh made the marble seem soft and pliable and, well…fleshy.
We were also impressed by Canova’s carving of Paolina Borghese in repose on a marble mattress so detailed you could see the sense the weight of her body pressing down into the mattress which was hard to imagine as marble.
There were many paintings (most of them titled “Adoration of the Bambino” and equally “Madonna & Bambino”) as well as paintings by Caravaggio and Raphael.
But most impressive to me were the detailed mosaics.
After the gallery we headed back to our hotel for a glass of vino only to be denied. Two hours earlier, because of riots from futbol fans across Rome (mostly drunken Dutch) all alcohol sales across Rome had been suspended. But that’s a story for another blog entry to come. Instead we headed out to Piazza Navona and to a restaurant recommended by a friend (which was great btw) called Osteria Del Pengo (where it was too dark and intimate to take any pictures of the food).