Rome at night Is unbelievable! We headed out to Campo di Fiori (Field of Flowers), just a hop, skip and jump from Piazza Farnese, that was used in times past as a market and hostel area for pilgrims making their way to see the Holy Papa. Today it is filled with stalls of goods, hawkers and outdoor restaurants. There are people everywhere since this time of evening is known for the passeggiata, when everyone, young and old takes a walk. It is still warm out and the glow of faint street lights on the cobblestones and marble buildings is breathtaking and magical. Around every corner is another small lane with an enoteca or outdoor restaurant. We choose an establishment with red checkered clothed tables and I order wine, which is cheaper here than bottled water. We soon discover our neighboring table mates are Russian Jews who left Russia thirty years ago and went first to Austria, then Italy while waiting on paperwork to get them into the US. Our government took care of all their bills and living facilities while they waited. They love Italy and come back often. It was interesting to talk to them especially so close to the Boston bombings and since they too sought asylum in the US. They came with two thousand dollars (all the government of Russia would let them leave with) and left a beautiful large home, careers and their families behind. He owned a mining company in Russia. They had their choice of going to Israel or the US. After arrival in the US he drove a cab in New York for twenty years. She left Russia with twenty pairs of long yellow plastic gloves prepared to clean toilets if she had too. She never had to. She became a nail technician instead. They have two sons, who both graduated from college. They now are retired and split their time between Manhattan and Miami where they own homes. She said they could not totally leave Manhattan because they love the pizza too much! They looked very well to do, spoke very good English and we had fun chatting with them.
After dinner we decided to do Rick Steve’s Heart of Rome Walk which took us through the major piazzas, winding cobblestone streets and then to the really fancy shopping areas of Gucchi and Pucci, ending at the Spanish Steps. Most shops here open at 10AM, close at 2PM for a couple of hours and then reopen and stay open until 10PM. Except for the restaurants that open early or late deciding if they do breakfast or not, then close around 2PM and reopen for dinner and are still open late into the night. We rested on the Spanish Steps and then retraced our footsteps and also meandered on some different small streets back to the Convent of Santa Brigida. The Convent is locked at night but there is no curfew. Inside, at the desk, was our key to the room on a big wooden orange spinning top that designated our room. The key fob looks like a Pinocchio toy. When you leave the Convent the nuns take the key to your room so you don’t lose it. We settled in briefly around midnight before all the excitement began. Next…… Late night in Rome