The ‘happening’ event yesterday evening was ‘Notte dei Musei’ when museums in Rome are open for free until the early hours, and there are free concerts in and around the museums. Knowing that it would be impossible to see everything we wanted, we planned an itinerary starting at the Campidoglio (City Hall) on the Capitoline Hill. Eager to be in time for the Quartango concert, we took the bus there. We should have known that the evening would not turn out as anticipated when the bus got stuck behind a religious procession in a narrow street in our neighbourhood. There we were, inching along in the bus behind a throng of people headed by a statue of the Virgin Mary held aloft in the front. Between the time that this picture was taken and when we managed to turn down the main road, darkness had fallen. What amazed me most was that there was no irate honking of horns by the traffic jam which had now formed, or complaints by people on the bus. All was silent and surreal.
We arrived at the Campidoglio, expecting to find the concert in full swing but nothing seemed to be happening. Then we found out that the entire events of the night had been cancelled owing to the bomb blast in Brindisi earlier in the day, which was news to us as we hadn’t listened to the radio or caught the news during the afternoon. There must have been some hint that the Mafia were responsible since the Commune di Roma had put on an anti-Mafia sound and light show in the Piazza del Campidoglio replete with political slogans projected onto the the top of the building such as “We will fight every form of Mafia violence”; “Shut 5 mouths, open 50,000” and so on.
After this 10 minute show, we decided to just wander around so we strolled around the back to the Foro Romani. What a sight greeted us! Some of the ruins were illuminated and looked spectacular against the backdrop of the night sky.
Then it was time for gelato and what better place to enjoy this than the Fontana di Trevi just 10 minutes walk away?
Needless to say, we were not the only ones who had come up with this idea and it was quite the hive of activity around the fountain. At least we were able to sit at the edge as opposed to during the day when one can barely get close enough to take a photo. Legend has it that Agrippa’s soldiers were searching for water in the countryside and were shown a spring of very pure water which now feeds the fountain and is called Virgin Water. This legend is depicted on the bas reliefs in the top corners in case you ever get close enough to see them. Not that there’s a lack of things to see around the fountain. The tourists posing for photos is enough to keep one entertained for hours. That nobody fell in while performing these acrobatic poses to get the best picture, was a miracle!