Jan. 9 – Saturday in Rome, today was mostly rainy. I went out first with one other to find pizza and an umbrella for him. The rain had let up and we were only going nearby to Viale di Trastevere so I left my own umbrella at the apartment – which turned out to be a poor decision. We walked a few blocks down Trastevere and went into a department clothing store. This time of year all stores in Italy have sales (saldi so prices were extremely reasonable. We discovered a Standa supermarket in the lower level, where my friend bought a few groceries. On our way back it began to rain so he attempted to share his umbrella with me that he purchased from a street vendor. It’s amazing how easy it is to find someone selling umbrellas on the street once it starts to rain. We stopped at a small pizzeria along Trastevere for lunch. It was not as impressive as what I had yesterday and was more expensive – €6.50 for “pizza” and a can of Coca Cola.

Back to the apartment I played cards with some roomates to pass the time while more rain fell. Later in the afternoon I returned to the household goods store (from yesterday that had no towels) with the same guy from morning to find blankets. He took them back and I continued walking. I headed eastward through winding alleyway streets in search of the Piazza del Campidoglio, or captiol hill. This was one of the few places in Rome I remember from arch history at NDSU so was excited to see it. In the 16th century, Michelangelo was commissioned to design a renovated piazza space. I will elaborate on this is a later post for the sake of getting to sleep earlier tonight.

The church of Santa Maria in Aracoeli is adjacent to the square. From the its stairs I could easily see the dome of St. Peters in the Vatican. On the other side the Colosseum appeared just down the road. One thing about Rome is that everything is much closer together than you expect from looking at a map – which is a good thing a suppose.

I continued back toward the river on my way back and walked further south along its banks. The next bridge was at Via Marmorata, which I intended to cross and cut back over the Trastevere. Instead I decided to go the other direction (not cross the river) as it appeared to be another fairly vibrant district with restaurants and shops. Indeed it was, I passed several clothing, shoe, and furniture stores. Most were very tiny and compact. Several tabacchis (tobacco / “convenient stores”) were in the area and I eventually found a Tuodi supermarket where I picked up a few thinks to make lasagna for dinner. As I walked back I passed through Giardino Famiglia di Consiglio (see here) – a small park with a playground for children.

When I returned I discovered our apartments were not furnished with any sort of baking dishes, among other things, so I instead shared pasta and bruschetta with a few other friends for dinner. Tomorrow I plan to go to an English-speaking church with a friend and more exploring of the city. After a few days here the area is becoming much more comfortable and familiar. Hopefully I will have some photos of the apartment and some city shots up in the next day.