Took the bus downtown this morning to the Palatine. Truly unbelievable for a newbie to finally see the old city ruins! We started with a visit to the original Palatine oval huts dug into the tufa bedrock with bronze tools, then visited the Palatine Museum, which takes up part of the old Domus Flaviana (you can see the foundations inside the museum).
From the Palatine, we proceeded down the Via Sacra (!) into the Forum. We discussed the Sepulcretum (the old burial ground down used there before the one on the Esquiline), but could not see it (fence–there is a fair bit of construction and excavation work going on in the Forum).
We then walked down the Via del Fori Imperiali toward (and then up) the Capitoline Arx, where saw the remains of the Temple of Juno Moneta (where the sacred geese were!) from the 4th c. B.C. We walked down the back of the Capitoline to the Sant’Omobono (patron saint of tailors–seriously) sanctuary, which is the site of an archaeological dig working on an archaic temple and a couple later temples to Fortuna and Mater Matuta.
Next up was the Capitoline Museum, where we had lunch in a lovely cafe that had a terrace with great views of the city. In the museum itself, we saw the Lupercal (!), the foundations of the archaic Temple of Jupiter Optimus Maximus (interesting note: during the festival of Jupiter, the face of the statue was reddened with cinnabar), as well as the equestrian statue of Marcus Aurelius and the Constantine head/hands. We also walked through the Tabularium (which houses many funerary inscriptions) and got more great views of the Forum.
Left on our own after the museum, Jeanna, Cynthia and I wandered around the Campus Martius before heading back to the Centro. I bought a hemp messenger bag (so hopefully I won’t have to check my bag at museums anymore), we checked out a bookstore, briefly visited the Pantheon (!), and got some tasty gelato.
After a yummy dinner at the Centro (salad, pasta carbonara (with prosciutto), peas and carrots, veal saltimbocca, and apple cake), Mike, Matt, Laurie, Janet, Sam, and I headed out to explore the nearby park, Villa Doria Pamphili. The park is huge and gorgeous and has an old villa called Casino del Bel Respiro with a huge formal garden. The umbrella pines here are amazing! We stayed a little past dark and had to hop a gate, but I think we could have gone out another way (now that I have looked at a map).
Fun day. As you can see in the pictures, I sometimes find it hard to remember to photograph the sheep. But he is there in one. Ciao!