On Saturday (9th July) I had a slow morning and took my time to catch up on a few bits and pieces. I also did some holiday admin, booking myself in for tours and loosely planning the rest of my time in Rome. I decided that I would use today to take myself for a walk to have a look at the Trevi Fountain. It was crazy! Sure going to look at it in the middle of a hot Saturday isn’t the most ideal time, but it was fine. There is a cop there whose entire job it seems is blowing a whistle at all the idiots who think that crossing into the fountain or trying to access certain parts of it is a good idea. It is one of only two fountains I think that you are not allowed to drink from. I then wandered over to the Pantheon. On weekends you need to pre-register to enter so I just checked it out from the outside.

It was getting to food o’clock so I found somewhere to go grab a bite and get away from the tourist trap crowds. While I was sitting down I had a bit of a look on Google maps to see what else was around and came across the Galleria Spada. It was the private residence of Cardinal Bernardino (1594 – 1661) and Cardinal Fabrizio Spada (1643-1717) who are mainly responsible for the art collection on display inside. The gallery operates across 4 rooms on the first floor and is full of 16th – 17th Century pieces.

One observation I had looking at some of these paintings was how realistic they were. Such detail and honest portrayal was captured. It made me think about how this art created hundreds of years ago show more accurate depictions of what people really look like than anything anyone captures these days. Photographs with photoshop and filters are less truthful and honest than a baroque artists paintbrush. Sure, people hated how raw some painters depicted them, the same as we want to delete photos of us that make us look bad. However all these years later, I’m grateful that these exist and remind me that everyone isn’t a size extra small, or has wrinkle free skin, or any of that stuff.

After looking around the gallery I decided to head back to the hotel and chill out for a bit before heading out in the evening. About an hours walk away from my hotel there was a local community summertime event called Aniene Festival happening. Mike the tour guide from the previous days Catacombs tour had also mentioned he was in a band and they were playing there. He had sent me the deets for it so I decided to head there to check it out.

I am so glad that I did! It was a super cute community festival held in a local park. There were a handful of market stalls, a bar, food, and a stage/dance floor set up.

I got there a bit before 9pm and had a look through the market stalls. The woman at the CBD stall was chatty so I stopped and talked to her for a bit. She just wanted me to try all her things and let her know what I thought. I let her know I couldn’t actually compare it to anything else as I haven’t ever had just CBD products. I ended up taste testing some of her oil. After all the walking I had been doing I figured something that might help inflammation couldn’t hurt and she was persistent. CBD has been legalised in Italy for about 4-5 years I found out and buds cost $5EURO for a gram.

I then went to the bar and got myself a drink. That was an interesting experience. So you line up in the order line which took about 30 minutes. At which point you order all the drinks that you want really. I was just having one so I got my Negroni order in. They then print you drink dockets with what you’ve ordered which you then give to the bartender to give you. This is for waters, cokes, alcoholic drinks, whatever. It was a different drink token system than I have experienced before. I then bumped into Mike and was introduced to his wife and 2.5 year old, and some of their friends. So it was nice to wind up having some friendly inviting people to socialise and end up on the dance floor with.

The gig was great. No Funny Stuff play a bunch of fun instruments and covers of popular tunes. It was such a spin out to hear them do a rendition of Tones & I ‘Dance Monkey’. The crowd was fantastic. All the kids were up the front and they were mostly sitting down and pretty chill. I guess by 10 pm-ish they had already been running about for a bit. I really enjoyed having stepped off the tourist trap conveyor belt and ended up at this local community event. There was such a great energy in the atmosphere and it’s the experiences like this one that I think end up having a deeper impact on me in same ways then seeing historical sites. I guess it’s a living in the moment thing instead of a looking into the past one.

I went and caught my first taxi in Rome afterwards. It wasn’t as difficult or horrible as I had so far been led to believe catching taxis in Rome was. Perhaps I was just super lucky, or the fact I did my research helped too. I did know what tariff should have already been applied to the meter for the trip and to make sure it was on and working. Where I am staying is near the Termini. The central huge station hub, which means it’s just a bit of a potentially dodgy neighbourhood. While during the day it’s fine to walk around, it’s so busy. I can just tell that after dark, it’s not really a place I want to navigate on my own. Even in the daylight you have to expect to have comments made at you, people asking for your number, etc. With what happens during the day, I just can’t be bothered with that at night when there are less people around. So taxi’s if I am out that drop me to my door are worth it.