One last day of exploring. Another scorcher — temperatures were pushing 100 again. We had two tours reserved today, both involving going underground: La Citta Dell’acqua, and the remains of the Stadium of Domitian. Both are under modern buildings, about 20’ below street level. The temperatures are much more doable down there.
The first site, La Citta Dell’Acqua, is part of the duct/cistern system from the Acqua Vergine that delivered water into the heart of the ancient city. Today, it feeds the Trevi fountain, and the three fountains in the Piazza Navona.
After cooling off there, we made our way over by the remains of Agrippa’s Baths and found a little restaurant for lunch. The waiter asked if we’d like to see the remains of the baths complex in the basement! They have their wine cellar down there. The conditions are perfect for storing wine, and it makes a nice place to seat guests in the winter. Not a lot remains of the baths, but I love finding little hidden pieces of the ancient city.
After lunch, we walked down to the cat sanctuary at Largo Torre Argentina. We’ve made a point of visiting them every time we are in Rome. They are a non-profit organization, completely run by volunteers, that care for colonies of abandoned, stray, and unhomed cats. They spay, neuter and release thousands of them. They find homes for the ones that want homes, and otherwise see to their care and health. If you love cats, they are an organization I recommend looking into. https://www.gattidiroma.net/web/en/
From there, we made our way over to Piazza Navona to explore the remains of Domitian’s circus (stadium). I’ve seen parts of it from up on the street, but this was the first time I got to go down inside. We explored the front of the stadium, with the remnants of the main entrance, and then portions of the side structure, across the street. Again, it was nice and cool down there, and not too crowded.
After that, we made one last pilgrimage to Giolitti for gelato, then back to the hotel to pack. It has been a crazy month here, for me. I’m trying to wrap my head around how fast time has flown, how much I’ve learned, how many new friends I’ve made. Central and southern Italy are tough in July and August. It’s very hot, very humid and crowded. But, you learn to deal with it. The ancient Romans managed it, so can I.
Now, I’m looking forward to getting home to my own furry kids, my mountains and my kayak. And, already pondering my next trip to Italia…