On Christmas Day, we slept in a little bit to recover from our midnight mass. Our hotel had a huge all-you-can-eat Christmas brunch so we all had like 5 courses ranging from normal American breakfast food, to pasta, to meats, to cheese, to pastries, to fruits, to desserts. Let’s just say I felt very sick after finishing….
Because it was a public holiday, we had no plans, except just to walk around and explore the city.
We started off walking to the Spanish Steps. From where our hotel was situated, we ended up at the top, meaning we only had to walk down (always a plus in my book). There was a church atop the hill, which was unfortunately covered with some pretty ugly advertised scaffolding which kind of killed the atmosphere, but it was still cool to finally see the steps and the area around them!
We then headed over to Piazza del Popolo. While Michael went off to an area above the fountain, I used this time as a little break to relax and observe my surroundings.
Churches in Italy are gorgeous. I am used to French & British Gothic cathedrals but Italian churches are much different. Instead of plain stone walls and minimum decoration, the walls and ceilings are so decorated and very Baroque. Almost all of them are laid out like a basilica, which was originally a public court building in Ancient Rome, used as a gathering place as it was near the forum. When Christianity was legalized by Constantine, Christians had to decide how to lay out their new houses of worship. They didn’t want to model their new churches after the pagan temples for obvious reasons so churches took up the form of basilicas (a central nave and aisles). I loved experiencing all the beautiful Roman churches.
After much wandering through the streets and various piazzas, we were exhausted. At around 4:30 we were so hungry we stopped for a snack at the first restaurant we came upon, which was on this tiny little street where no one was speaking English. The best kind of street in a foreign country. I got bucatini again and was expecting a much smaller portion. We also got Michael a bib because every meal he ate in Italy, Michael ruined his clothes.
After our “snack” we made our way back to the hotel where we decided we were too full for dinner so we headed off to bed early… Such a wild life I lead!