Saturday, August 30, 2008


It was Sunday, July 6th when we disembarked after completed the 8-day Western Mediterranean cruise and began a three-day stay in Rome. I took the above photo on the way from our hotel to Fontana di Trevi. I saw "Il Messaggero" on the building and knew it was the Italian daily newspaper. I later learned more about the building from Steven Brooke's book, Views of Rome. The Albergo Select was designed by Arturo Dazzi in 1910, borrowed from the fin de siecle French architecture. It was a hotel and is now used as an office building for Rome daily newspaper Il Messaggero (The Messenger).
Piazza di Spagna, the Spanish Steps, inundated with tourists, sitting around the fountains. CP and I walked slowly up the 137 steps and went inside the church of Trinita dei Monti (Trinity of the Mount). The steps were built between 1721 and 1725 by Fr. De Sanctis, as a gift to the Italian people from France, yet known as the Spanish Steps when the Spanish Ambassador to the Vatican resided there in the 17th century. Most of the travel guide books mentioned that Piazza di Spagna is known as the shopping district in Rome. At the foot of the Spanish Steps are gallaxy of boutiques of clothes, accessories (leather handbags, the famous Italian shoes) with glamorous labels such as Gucci, Prada, Louis Vuitton, Bottega, Veneta). There are blocks after blocks of shops, large department stores and upscale restaurants catering to both tourists and Romans. CP said he was thankful that I was not a typical woman who spent hours shopping while the husband sat around waiting. I told CP that it would be a waste of precious vacation time shopping for things that I could get at home. Besides who cares whether the handbag or that pair of shoes I purchased was from Famous Barr in St. Louis or in Rome. Furthermore, I could not afford designer labels with my limited budget!

Great views from half way up the steps and after walked up from the three divided landings, we reached the top of the hill. At the base of the steps is the Fontana della Barcaccia (Fountain of the Old Boat), designed and built by Pietro Bernini, father of the famous sculptor and architect Gianlorenzo Bernini (1598-1680). Gianlorenzo famous work included statue of Constantine the Great and Scala Regia, the ceremonial entry to the Vatican Palace.

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