Beginning of our fifth day in Rome we dedicated to National Roman Museum. Ground floor and first floor is devoted to sculptures of the period between the late Roman Republic and the early imperial period (2nd century BC to 1st century AD). Second floor exhibits contains mainly frescoes, stucci and mosaics and Basement is the home of the numismatic collection that is the largest in Italy. It was not too many tourists there and we had a good time enjoying of 2000 years old historical artifacts.
After museum we visited the Basilica of “St. Mary of the Angels and the Martyrs” that is a titular basilica church in Rome, built inside the frigidarium of the Baths of Diocletian in the Piazza della Repubblica. Michelangelo himself worked there from 1563 to 1564 to adapt a section of the remaining structure of the baths to enclose a church.
It is a good idea to see parts of Rome where you can rare encounter a fellow tourist. After lunch we took a subway to The Pyramid of Cestius that is an ancient pyramid in Rome. The pyramid was built about 18 BCE–12 BCE as a tomb for Gaius Cestius and today is one of the best-preserved ancient buildings in Rome. We walked along ancient roads Via Ostiensis and explore the life of regular people of Rome: construction workers pave the street, children playing on playground, office workers returns from lunch to offices.
We reached Centrale Montemartini museum that is a former power station of Acea (active as a power-station between the 1890s and 1930s) and the machinery has not been moved out. Its permanent collection comprises 400 ancient statues, moved here during the reorganization of the Capitoline Museums in 1997, along with tombs, busts, and mosaics. It was a lot of fun for Teddy to navigate between power station machinery and statues. Other advantages were a cool temperature and just few visitors. Considering hot temperature +35C outside, we were able to relax and take a rest.
We moved towards St Paul's Outside-the-Walls Basilica and spotted a children playground. Teddy missed our playground close to home and eager to climb, slide and swing forever. We couldn’t convince him to go further and spent at least half an hour playing with local kids.
Eventually, we reached “Saint Paul Outside the Walls” basilica which is one of Rome's four ancient major basilicas. The presence of the monastic community dates back to Pope Gregory I (590-604). Pope Gregory II established a stable Benedictine community, which is still present there today. We were impressed by variety of liqueurs that are made by monks using almost 1500 years old recipes. Those recipes were improved during all these years and number of different liqueurs can be purchased in basilica’s gift shop.
We bought classic Benedictine and Anisette to try. When we got back to Canada and tried them we regret that we didn’t buy others. They have truly unique and pleasant taste. If you are in Rome – find few hours to enjoy “Saint Paul Outside the Walls” Basilica and all what its gift shop has to offer. I guess the rule is that after 5 days you fall in love with Rome. It is happened to us. Good thing that we had one more day to improve our feelings.