Round the corner is the magnificent Basilica Di Santa Maria Maggiore, a large domed church/cathedral with a cavernous, gilt filled interior. It shouts grandeur, highlighting it’s importance before the Vatican came in to being. The entrance is actually on the other side from Via Cavour, with the piazza on each side being separately named. It is large and impressive, but the outside is nothing compared to in. The main part is a single pillerless hall with chapels and confession booths off to each side. The ceiling is high with plenty of gilt, but it’s not quite as bling or in your face as my description may sound. You will need to check out the pictures once posted.
Post the basilica I headed south towards the little mentioned Porta Maggiore. This was one of the entrances in to the ancient city, though it’s importance mayhave been less over two roads leading to it, but more the fact that two aquaducts came in to the city through it. On my way down to it I passed through Giardini Piazza Vittorio, where it looked like there was another ancient ruin. Turns out is was not, but rather a gate, The Magic Gate, built in the 16th century.
I arrived at the gate via a side street. There is a long stretch of aquaduct here connected up to the arch, which still straddles the road – the central spans are used by trams. Back 1800 years ago it must have all been rather impressive, but now even with being in an open area, the gate feels a little hemmed in and lost. It was worth seeing but it could be argued that it is little mentioned in the guides due to there being little else around it and it having no real presence.
Wandering back I grabbed a sandwich and cold drink while considering my next move. The museum just north ofthe main station sounds interesting and close, but I decided to head back to the hotel first to rest and recover. By this stage I had been walkingt for several hours. The leg, for the most part, was fine, but I still can’t move too quickly (i.e. crossing roads) and do feel it when stepping off curves.
I might start procesing some of todays photos soon, while planning this evening. I’m tempted to try the museum, get the metro up to Spagne then head backdown towards the Trevi Fountain.