After spending the morning, first at Santa Maria della Vittoria and the Forum (more about these on future blogs!), we found ourselves a bit spent, thirsty, and hungry. Walking around in the Forum on a warm day can take its toll even on those in the best shape, so we were in need of respite. Our original plan included mounting the Capitoline Hill for a view over the Forum, a visit in the Musei Capitolini which are reported to contain eating accommodations. However, it became quickly apparent that a walk up the Hill and/or finding a taxi to get our elder friend Harry up there was more than we were prepared for at that moment. As we worked our way along the Via dei Fori Imperiali toward the Vittorio Emanuele Monument, looking for a taxi stand, I spotted a sign way across the Via for a “ristorante.” The awning looked inviting and we made our way. After we crossed the Via, I suddenly realized we were virtually in the shadow of Trajan’s Column.
That’s one thing about Rome, you are always bumping into antiquity. One moment we are gazing at the Roman Forum and the next we are looking down into what I now know are the Imperial Forums (Caesar’s, Augustus’ and Nerva’s). These were built to replace and/or enlarge the existing Forum and created a vast public complex. These forums were subsequently abandoned and buried, only to be discovered when Mussolini ordered construction of the grand Via dei Fori Imperiali.
I could not say lunch was exceptional, but it was justifiably acceptable, especially accompanied by a large draft of Peroni (and a bathroom!). But, the view from our table under under an open-air awning across to what I believe to be the remains of Trajan’s Markets and the Basilica Ulpia was.
We left refreshed and with enough energy to scale the Capitoline Hill for a view of the Forum. Along the way we passed closer to the Column, and turned to face the grand Monument del Vittorio Emanuel II (sometimes derogatorily called the “typewriter” and the “wedding cake”).
The reliefs on the column document Emperor Trajan’s victories over the Dacians (107 AD). Unfolded, the “scroll” is 656 feet long. A spiral staircase ascends within and is lit by 45 “loopholes”, a couple of which can be seen in the photo above.
Ascending a relatively steep street on the left of the Victor Emmanuel II Monument, we arrived at the top of the Capitoline Hill. As much as I wanted to enter the museums up there, I was not willing to take the time and to pay the entrance fee. So, I satisfied myself with a glorious view of the Forum spread out below us. Click on these photos to enlarge and click again to get superb detail.
All photos shot with a Canon 7D with a 24-70mm f/2.8 L lens. Also a circular polarizing filter – gotta love those blue skies!