Bouncing Bella Bambina

Fountain, Victor Emmanuel Monument

Fountain, Victor Emmanuel Monument

I awoke to thunder shaking the windows. I thought of the ancient Romans sleeping through similar storms and went back to sleep. The rain trapped us within our small abode for most of the day. Ada was delighted.  She celebrated by drumming against the shower stalls, squealing with joy at the echoed rattles. She transformed the living room furniture into a playground by standing on the coffee table and bouncing on the sofa. Our reprimands only ignited her rebellion; signs of the “terrible twos” showing themselves early.  This morning, my bella bambina became my bouncing bella bambina.

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The moment the rain stopped we rushed out the door. Fresh air, streets washed clean, we were thrilled to be on the move. Ada once again snuggled against Aaron’s back. She peeked her head around her Dad’s, filtering the sights through her little toddler mind. She attracted attention with her bobbling head and bright blue eyes. Street performers stopped performing to yell “Bella bambina!”

We revisited the Pantheon and let Ada out to run through the piazza. Italian women patted her head cooing Italian complements. Non-Italians weren’t as pleased to see a toddler skipping through the square.  Especially after she ran into a few. I received a few nasty looks and we plopped her back onto Aaron’s back.

We stumbled onto Via Corso, the main shopping strip, which was congested with traffic; its wide sidewalks clogged with people. Aha! So this is the chaotic Rome I read about. In the distance stood Victor Emmanuel Monument (aka: the wedding cake) and it was our next destination.

This glaring white marble monument was built to honor Italy’s first King, Victor Emmanuel II. It was also plunked on  Medieval ruins, which still ramble out from its sides.  Fountains at the base, large Corinthian columns and horse statues at the top, plus the promise of spectacular views, convinced us to take a look. Tour buses, taxis and Vespas zipped past it’s base at various breakneck speeds. We only dared to cross this major thoroughfare with a colossal group of tourists. Safety in numbers, I thought.

Trajan's Forum

Trajan's Forum

I gasped with excitement at the top. Lying before me was the Trajan’s Forum and in the distance – the Coliseum.  But that adventure would have to wait another day. It was already late afternoon, it began sprinkling, and my bella bambina was getting hungry.