I've seen lots of photos of the Trevi Fountain. None of them really do it justice. The first thing that you notice is that it isn't a sculpture in the round. Rather than being a structure that can be viewed from all sides, the waters of the Trevi seem to spill out from the wall of the Palazzo Poli, the palace which forms a majestic backdrop to Oceanus and his shell chariot. A celebration of the supply of fresh water to the city, this 18th century monument is actually more like a waterfall or cascade. We have arrived at a time when we can actually find a small position on the rail to get an unobstructed view of the fountain with enough room to take turns stepping back to take photos. When we come back past here later in the day on our way home, the crowds are so tightly packed in to a piazza too small to accommodate the sheer number of them, we find it difficult just to shove our way through. At least one of us does the traditional over the shoulder coin toss which is supposed to ensure a guaranteed return to Rome.
It turns out that we are quite close to the Pantheon. Distances on the map, or at least our grasp of them at this point, are deceptive. We strike out along narrow cobbled streets lined with eateries and restaurants with trays of produce out front to entice patrons' custom, and come across a large columned structure and at first we think we have arrived at our destination. This is the remains of the Temple of Hadrian. What I love is the fact that these huge columns still stand and have been incorporated into a later construction of a 17th century papal palace. Much of ancient Rome was pulled down by its wealthy citizens for the materials to build their own villas.
The Pantheon is truly magnificent. This ancient Roman Temple, commissioned by Marcus Agrippa and rebuilt by Hadrian after a couple of fires, has been in constant use through the millennia. It survives as a Catholic church boasting the world's largest unreinforced concrete dome. The columns at its entrance are colossal. Once inside the sheer expanse of the dome is breath-taking and remarkable for the fact that the only illumination is provided by the oculus, the single round opening in the roof. We join the reverent and the not so reverent (those ignoring the modesty and silence requests - not my kids I promise) and simply try to take in the enormity of it.