And so today is our final day here in Roma. We've had a wonderful time here, even better than expected. Having one glitch doing web check in with Alitalia, but we will just have to work that out at the airport tomorrow.
Today we were picked up by a van from Greenline Tours. (I booked this tour online through Viatour, mainly because they did the Villa d' Este and Hadrian's Villa on Tuesday and it ws a half day thing--still have to pack up!) So were were driven to a location where we transferred to a nice 50 person bus, and then driven to Tivoli. It was a nice drive, a few sprinkles along the way. We had a tour guide who was adequate in her explanations, and awesome in her ability to switch languages.
We first arrived at Villa d' Este, built in the 1500-1600's. It's a UNESCO world heritage site, and features beautiful restorations of the villa and the magnificent gardens. If you have never heard of this place, you should do a search about it. The fountains are wondrous, even an organ fountain, which was playing while we were there. It is mesmerizing, and once a light sprinkle began to fall, it was enchanting. The amount of work necessary to divert a river to run all these fountains is mid boggling. We stayed there about an hour and a half, and most of that was free time for wandering around with a map--my favorite kind of tour! Once we all loaded back into the bus, we made the short drive to Hadrian's villa, a second century classical complex of buildings. The site is enormous, and it is a bit of an uphill walk to it, but it's through groves of olive, umbrella palm, and cypress tress, just stunning. I noticed a kind of wild cyclamen blooming everywhere, quite beautiful. We entered the main building to look at a model that had been built of the site to give some idea of where we were and how large it was. According to the guide, much of the restoration is being funded by the Pirelli family (of Pirelli tires etc.) Then we were loosely escorted around the site, and given some information about it. It too had an almost ethereal beauty, you could use your imagination to see what it must have looked like in its day. We were pretty awestruck. Our time came to an end too quickly, but that was all we had--so all in all, I would say that tour was worthwhile. They have longer ones, but we just didn't have the time for it.
On the way to our apartment, we stopped at the local salumeria and bought a bottle of wine, then went home and emptied everything out and started packing again. Much to our surprise, everything fit! We had only bought small flat gifts for people who took care of the house, the cat, etc, but still we were happy that it all packed up well. According to our scale (wouldn't be without one on international flights, have seen toooo many people repacking their stuff in airports!) I think it was because I had been shedding possessions as we went. For example, my trail hiking shoes were about shot, so Amalfi was their last sight to see in the world. Then my flip-flops were old and saw their last in Rome. Add to that a t shirt or two and an old curling iron that went on the fritz and we were lighter than when we left! Yahoo!
We decided to go to a restaurant down the street called La Locanda di Bacco-the Inn of Bacchus--seemed appropriate when you saw the interior, decorated with lids and sides of wine crates from everywhere. We had smoked tuna for an appetizer (shared it) and it was delicious. Then Rhea had carbonara and I had cacio e pepe. Both were divine with house wine. We really wanted to try a grilled fish, but were just too full, the pasta servings were large for Italy and too good to NOT eat! So we had coffee and a lemon delight dessert-lemon cake with lemon filling and lemon sauce--pucker up! It was very good, our waiter was kind and efficient even though the place got packed--with Italians and tourists too.
We walked slowly home, wishing we could have a little more time in Rome. Hope our coin toss into the Trevi works and we come back someday.