DAY 40: Fifth Day in Rome
Naples. That was the goal today. I’ve been planning on walking the Pompeii ruins 35 minutes outside the city since I conceived this trip. Packed everything: camera, phone, chargers for phone and internet mobile device… Hauled ass to the train station and arrived at Roma Termini at 11:30a. Next train to Naples Central was in 15 minutes; I wouldn’t arrive there for another 2 hours. Rummaged through my bag searching for the mobile internet device so I could confirm the routes I needed to take from here to Naples, then Naples to Pompeii… I’d forgotten the goddamn internet mobile device at "home". It was probably still lying on the bed.
On top of not arriving in Pompeii until the afternoon, I had no plan once I got to Naples. “Fuck it”, I thought. “I never needed a GPS to navigate before, why do I need it now?” But it wasn’t worth it. I’d only be allotted a limited time at the Pompeii ruins. I needed to leave earlier.
Whatever. I wanted an authentic Italian pizza anyway. Took the train back to Spagna station, which was halfway back "home". Bought a white fedora that I’d likely never wear in the states but I didn’t want my cranium roasting. Funny negotiating with the merchant over the price. Tried to charge me 25 Euro for a longer-rimmed white hat but I wasn’t prepared to spend that cash. When he mentioned the price, I didn’t say anything, and that’s all I needed to do. He was concerned about the multiple other customers circulating his market to dedicate too much time to my silence. Before I even spoke another word, he’d lowered the price to 20 Euro. I opted for the white fedora and knocked that down to 10. I didn’t have to do much to negotiate for a reasonable price.
Walked through Villa Borghese park before proceeding into the city. Ancient headless and limbless statues were scattered along the rocky path. Sculpted heads of politicians and philosophers. Skies were grey but not from overcast. Reminded me of Los Angeles smog in it’s thickness. There was a balcony overseeing the entire city, which helped determine my direction. I saw what I wanted to of the Vatican, so I headed toward a large white building called, "Altar of the Fatherland". While photographing the monument, an older American gentleman approached me inquiring as to what the monument actually was but I couldn’t recall at the time. Think I said, “the monument”, which wasn’t true.
“Guess that’s all Rome is, monuments and statues.” Yep.
There were two soldiers standing outside this monument (pictured above) on either side of a memorial known as the "Tomb of the Unknown Soldier". Two corresponding gold bowls with blazing flames resided close by. A statue towered over the men wielding an eternal flame, which represented the goddess Roma. This was a monument containing one unknown soldier from 1926, who was chosen among 11 unknown remains by Maria Bergamas, a woman who's only child was killed in action during World War I.
There were two corresponding gold bowls with blazing flames. Walked through the monument before realizing I’d already been here. We were right next to the Roman Forum, down the street from the Colosseum. I was ready for pizza by this point. Put Italy to the test. Found a nice pizzeria hidden down an alleyway. I specifically wanted a nice sit-down. Got sausage topping. It was good… But as good as New York Style or Chicago deep dish? Not even close, in my opinion. Lou Malnati's in Chicago still has the top spot.