The Pantheon & the Capitoline Museums

After sleeping in and eating cookies for breakfast (we can at least pretend to be Italian), Joey and I took tram 8 to Torre Argentina. The cat sanctuary was open so we went down the stairs and played with the cats for a while. The cat sanctuary at Torre Argentina is where to take a stray or injured cat you may find around Rome. The sanctuary takes in cats who are crippled, blind, or any sort of problems you can think of. Most of the cats are really sweet and friendly. I am afraid if I lived in Rome I might want to adopt one of the less fortunate cat… I do not think Deuce would appreciate that too much though!

cats!
cats!
cats!
cats!

Our next stop was the Pantheon, my first visit of the summer during opening hours. We entered with a huge crowd. The most striking feature of the Pantheon is certainly it’s impressive domed roof. How incredible that this structure has been around since 126 A.D. Joey and I decided that we are going to try to enter the Pantheon right after it opens one morning, to try to enjoy the space with slightly less crowds. Since it was early afternoon, we stopped for a coffee at nearby Tazza d’Oro, one of the most famous coffee shops in Rome. The coffee was good, but I later read that we missed out by not ordered the chilled espresso with whipped cream. So, we will return and try it next time.

Pantheon
Pantheon ceiling
strong coffee
strong coffee

We spent more than 2 hours touring the Capitoline Museums collections of ancient Roman statues, artifacts, and paintings. The Capitoline collection was originally opened to the public in 1734 by Pope Clement XII and as such is largely considered to be the first museum in the world. My favorite parts of the museum are 1) the Palazzo dei Conservatori with original frescoes and tapestries from the 16th century and 2) the Tabularium with stunning views over the ancient Roman forum. You really can not beat this view encompassing the majority of the forum! I think many visitors miss this part of the museum because it is not well marked and you need to go a bit out of the way from the paintings and sculptures to reach it. Both on this visit and when I visited a few year ago, almost no one was around whereas the regular part of the museum is typically crowded.

the Capitoline she-wolf
the Capitoline she-wolf
medussa head by Bernini
medussa head by Bernini
view of the forum from the Tabularium
view of the forum from the Tabularium

Upon exiting the Capitoline Museums, it began to rain. We decided to get back on tram 8 and head back towards the apartment in case the rain got worse. It stopped raining shortly after we crossed the Tiber, so we decided to investigate the side of Trastevere not as frequented by tourists, but still near to the river. I stopped into the Antico Forno di Tratevere for some cookies… I was starving! The cookies tasted as good as they looked in the store window, quite possibly the best almond biscotti I have had in Italy thus far! Just in case I thought that while hungry, I will go back and test it again.
We crossed the Tiber to take a stroll through the Testaccio neighborhood, and all of the families were out playing soccer or walking their dogs. Restaurants here do not open until 7:30 or 8, so we needed to kill some time. Around 7:30, we crossed back into Trastevere to enjoy dinner at Galeone Corsetti, a restaurant which has been open since 1927 in the Piazza San Cosimato. I ordered a primi (first course) of ravioli in butter and sage sauce, while Joey ordered the Roman specialty of cacio e pepe (spaghetti with cheese & pepper). Both were delicious. We then continued with my order of veal cacciatore and his of roasted lamb. The sauce for the cacciatore was amazing! We ordered no wine or dessert to cut costs. After dinner we continued to explore some of the side roads off of the Viale Trastevere near our apartment before turning in for the night.

ravioli with butter & sage
ravioli with butter & sage
veal cacciatore
veal cacciatore
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