A long weekend in Rome…

I have been away from Internet, my computer and my blog since Saturday morning, when Stefano and I left for Rome. We went there mainly to attend the wedding of one of his cousins, but we decided to stay on for a few days, taking advantage of the long holiday weekend—Monday was Ognissanti, or All Saints’ Day, which is a national holiday here in Italy.

We arrived in Rome in time for lunch on Saturday.

After visiting the catacombs of Saint Callixtus (= oooh…spooky “Halloweeny” atmosphere!), we spent the rest of the day/early evening wandering around the center of the city…the not-to-be-missed Piazza Navona (this is a shot of one of its lovely fountains), Campo de’Fiori (=  literally, “Field of Flowers”), famous for its (morning) vegetable and fish market, the Jewish ghetto area and the Tiber Island, or Isola Tiberina.

The best part for me, though, was when we visited, again!, the Torre Argentina Cat Sanctuary (see: http://www.romancats.com/index_eng.php).

We had already been to this large, no-kill cat shelter a few years ago (I published a post about our first visit, in fact) and had been verrrry impressed with this fabulous volunteer organization.

We are still impressed…even more so, this time…

My advice: if you are in Rome and are a cat lover, you must visit this extraordinary sanctuary. At Torre Argentina you can get some great shots of cats playing or sitting or sleeping on fragments of ancient Roman columns. This photo (above) of a handsome black kitty sitting on a column, looking around and checking out the other cats is just one of many of the adorable photos I took, as you can see…

But even if you do not care for cats, this archaeological site (see panoramic photo below) is well worth a visit. The cat shelter, you see, is located inside a well-known archaeological area…a holy area dating to the Republican period. Here you can take photos of the ruins of four Roman temples (the street unfortunately covers part of the fourth temple) and of the famous Theater of Pompey, where apparently Brutus stabbed Julius Caesar to death in the year 44 BC.

The square surrounding the ruins, called Largo di Torre Argentina, is a very attractive one. Besides, it’s not far from Piazza Navona, so now you have no excuses to skip it!

Before you leave the Largo di Torre Argentina, though, please walk down a flight of steps to visit the cat shelter where you can pet/admire a few of the more gregarious cats, talk with the volunteers, buy some cat-related souvenirs (T-shirts, calendars, ceramics, magnets…all sorts of things, as you can see in the above photo…and no, the kitties are NOT for sale 🙂 ) and, most importantly, leave a donation for the 250-300 abandoned kitties that live here.

Big or small, any donation is greatly appreciated (and needed!).

The cousin’s wedding took place on Sunday; it was an all-day affair. Since I really hate getting all dressed up, uffa!, I will skip this part, even though it was actually a lovely wedding, held in an ancient church…

On Monday morning we went to see a new Van Gogh exhibition, see http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PuLapFyRF0k. Fabulous fabulous fabulous paintings, but the place was packed, absolutely packed…so it ended up being stifling…quite horrible, in fact. Well, that should teach us to go to a popular exhibition on a holiday weekend! 😉

After leaving Van Gogh, we walked down to the Coliseum where we stood in a long line, under the pouring rain, in a thunderstorm

Luckily, Stefano and I were wearing our Skomer Island raingear, so we didn’t mind the downpour. But my photos didn’t come out well at all…eh.

The bad weather ended on Tuesday, the last day of our long holiday. Typical.

We decided to visit the 2nd century Villa of Emperor Hadrian, located near the town of Tivoli, not too far from the center of Rome. See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hadrian’s_Villa

What can I say? It was spectacular…massive…stunning…We had no idea! Stefano and I took more than 200 photos…each! The last two photos you see here were taken at the Canopus and Serapeum, a well-preserved area that commemorates Emperor Hadrian’s visit to Egypt (I think…).

Stefano and I walked around the large rectangular pool. Absolutely gorgeous…and so peaceful and quiet…At one end, you can admire a Corinthian colonnade (not seen here, but there is a photo of it on Wikipedia, see above link)…at the other, an artificial grotto (above photo)…

In the middle (last photo) are marble copies of Greek statues.


We got home on Tuesday evening, but between work, laundry and whatnot, I haven’t had the time, until now, to write and publish a post…

P.S. Here is an interesting article about the cat sanctuary, with some historical/cultural titbits: http://goeurope.about.com/cs/rome/a/rome_cats.htm


  1. Thanks for the great picture of the sculptural fountain in the Piazza Navona. When we were there, it was covered with scaffolding because they were cleaning it. It’s so nice to see what it looks like with all the scaffolding gone.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *