Jeremy's radar is off. He told us about this place the first night in Rome but at the time we weren't interested in a trek. So he strikes a path in the same direction he was aiming for then. It is hot. We are coming to realise that it is unseasonably hot weather, certainly hotter than normal. We buy water from the first street vendor we see and probably pay too much. We consult the map. Finally realising where we are, we decide to keep going and take a circuitous route to get there. This takes us past Circo Massimo or Circus Maximus. Anyone who remembers the chariot race from the film Ben Hur will recognise instantly the purpose of Circo Massimo. One even more remarkable fact is that in a city where real estate is premium, there is an extra large, unused race track right there in the centre of Rome. I bet there is a string of property developers just itching to get their hands on it.
Our circuitous route eventually brings us to Piazza Venezia which is the location of the imposing and controversial structure, the Victor Emmanuel II Monument. A relatively modern building by Roman standards, Il Vittoriano was built in the early 20th century and much of the original square was altered to accommodate it. Some historic buildings were demolished and one was relocated. Looking a lot like an overgrown wedding cake, the monument dominates central Rome and sits squarely at the junction of several main thoroughfares.
Just off to one side of the Piazza is the lovely Santa Maria di Loreto, a twin domed 16th-century church which offers a striking skyline in partnership with Trajan's column. We bought a lovely painting at a street stall featuring this landmark yesterday so I was keen to see the real thing. By now the kids and I are hot, tired and cranky, and keen to find our way home to the apartment. It takes some trial and error but finally we find a bus stop which promises buses going in our direction. Fortunately, the train station near us is a destination so it will be easier to get the right one.