Our Hop On/Hop Off ticket was still valid from the day before. And similar to the previous mornings, we made our itinerary while having our breakfast of another Italian pastry (similar to an apple strudel) and a cup of freshly brewed coffee inside the apartment. Yum!
The Hop On/Hop Off bus stop was not too far from our AirBnb apartment. After breakfast, we walked toward the bus stop and decided to drop by Castel Sant’Angelo first. Similar to the Colosseum, we didn’t buy tickets to get inside and just appreciated the surrounding area and the magnificent view. The former mausoleum, fortress, and castle is truly picturesque. Especially if capturing a photo from the end of the Aelian Bridge, the angels’ statues lined up leading toward the castle was truly a magnificent sight against the clear, blue skies!
Tip: Are you a bookworm? Apart from souvenirs, there are secondhand book vendors around the castle’s premises you can check out.
After we were content with the photos, there was another church I badly wanted to see: Church of Santa Maria della Vittoria. For those of you who read (and watched) Angels and Demons, this was the site where the Spanish Cardinal was burned alive while branded with the FIRE Illuminati symbol. The entire ceiling was adorned with beautiful frescos but the true highlight of the Church was definitely Bernini’s masterpiece called Ecstasy of Saint Teresa, which was also featured in Dan Brown’s book. There was something about the sculpture that I found so mesmerizing and if only I have all the time in my hands, I’d spend more time looking at it than I did back then.
Tip: The Church entrance doesn’t have wheelchair access and has about 10 stairsteps to get inside. Unluckily for us, this was also the day we decided to use the stroller for my son. So my husband had to carry the entire thing with my son in it so we can get in!
After my son woke up from his catnap, we decided to have a quick lunch together before heading to Villa Borghese – a family-friendly park/zoo we intended to bring our son to spend the entire afternoon. We thought that we will stay for a good 2 hours in the park so he can play and then walk around the zoo so my son can fall asleep while looking at the animals on display. Sounds like a good plan, eh?
We took the Hop On/Hop Off bus again and alighted at the entrance of the park’s premises. It didn’t take long before we saw the play area for kids. We can hear the kids laughing and screaming happily while we were a few feet away so we definitely know we were approaching the right place. It was the first time for my son to see a “big” playground so he was really excited when we brought him there! He was not too interested with the swing or seesaw but somehow, really liked the slide. Despite being too high for his age, he wouldn’t budge to leave!
If my son had a way, he could stay in the slide forever. However, we noticed there were other kids who want to use the slide, too. So we took him away from the slide and that resulted to tantrums of epic proportions. Good thing, there was a small amusement park not too far from the play area. The merry-go-round had lots of cars but my son decided to ride on the fire truck. I had to pay for a Euro for each “round” and my son had 3 or 4. Eventually, he stepped out and went straight to his stroller. We were just pushing the pram toward the zoo when my husband and I noticed he was already asleep!
So instead of going to the zoo, my husband and I decided to walk towards Piazza di Spagna from Villa Borghese. The view from Villa Borghese en route the Piazza was absolutely breathtaking. While atop, you can capture a bird’s eye view of the city.
Tip: It was a nice walk but there were a few broken pavements to the Piazza coming from the Villa. So be mindful of those while pushing your child’s pram. Plus, the road towards the Piazza is also very steep so mind your step!
At last, we reached the Piazza. We had to find an alternate route instead of going down thru the Spanish Steps so it was not that straightforward, we ended up needing Google Maps’ help. It was really busy and filled with locals and tourists when we arrived not to mention there was a big parade passing by. We had to go around the side streets to avoid the sound coming from the parade so my son doesn’t wake up too early from his nap. And as we did, we took a quick break to have a bite and a drink.
We didn’t wait for my son to wake up but only went around the Piazza, looked at the high-end brands on display the square, walked a few more to take some photos, and called it a day. It was also our last day in Rome and we were happy to have the chance to see these famous landmarks in person! I wish I was able to capture more photos but, to be honest, Rome is just too grandiose, and it is hard to capture it in photos – especially for an amateur like me. And at the end of the trip, I can truly say, “Grazie, Roma!”