We set off bright and early on Saturday, walking along the bank of the Tiber and crossing over into the Piazza di Populi.
On the way up from there, we stopped off and admired a couple of lovely churches. We stopped off at all sorts of churches in the course of the weekend, and loved the fact that all were open and we could just wander in, have a look round and say a quick prayer. In the UK these days, most churches are now locked most of the time that there isn't actually a Mass being celebrated.
In one of the churches, some latter-day successor of Michelangelo was busy working on the ceiling...
We reached the Spanish Steps before 9:00 in the morning - sadly, the Trinita dei Monti, like many of the other monuments we saw this weekend (including the front of the Wedding Cake), was shrouded in scaffolding and plastic sheeting.
The view from the top was great, and the best we'd seen so far, but not the best we were to see. We were also rather annoyed to find a couple of con artists waiting at the top of the Spanish Steps, waiting to scam any unsuspecting tourists. They easily relieved New Man of 20 Euros - I love the way he trusts people and always sees the best in them, but in future I'm looking after the cash when we go on holiday!
From there, we walked down lovely old streets, finding the occasional little hidden treasure in a courtyard or round a quiet corner.
The next stopping point was the Trevi Fountain, where we each threw in a coin - legend has it that a coin thrown in the Trevi Fountain guarantees your return to Rome. We were very impressed with this monumental structure - both of us had rather ignorantly expected a straightforward fountain.
We then walked to the Capitoline Hill, where we climbed the steepest set of steps to the beautiful Church of Santa Maria in Aracoeli.
There's a chapel by the sacristy in this basilica which houses a replica of the famous 15th century statue of the infant Jesus, which was carved out of olive wood from the Garden of Gethsemane and was believed by many to have miraculous powers. The original statue was stolen in 1994, and has never been recovered.
We came out of there by a side door and crossed round the back of the museum and the palazzo to come out at the back of the Wedding Cake, where our breath was taken away by a vista of Rome stretched out before us, with the Forum and the Colosseum to our right.
We stopped to admire the view, and New Man asked if I was happy. I said, "Yes, are you?" and he replied, "Yes, but I'll be even happier if you'll agree to be my wife." Of course I agreed, and as we were conveniently next to a terrace cafe, after he had put the ring on my finger we instantly went and bought a couple of glasses of champagne (by this time it was around noon, so we felt justified...).
I don't want to make my posts too ridiculously long, so the next instalment follows tomorrow.