Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Roman Monkey Business: Villa Borghese, Roma, Italy

Villa Borghese

Lazio, Italy

We are masters of the Metro.  We’ve got Linea A from Anagnina covered.  It may be the only way besides driving to get from here to the super-turista sites, but we’re in the groove.  Except of course when the parking payment machine isn’t working and we keep getting stuck trying to get out of the gate at the garage, (I know enough Italian to see that it thinks we didn’t pay).  Or perhaps when we get out the wrong exit of the Metro at Spagna and spend an extra twenty minutes climbing ALL of the Spanish steps to the Villa Borghese, in the rain.  Of course, otherwise we would have missed the view from the top.

The Borghese family clearly wielded more power than just a couple of Popes and cardinals in the family.  They were not messing around.  Up until recently, (the last couple centuries, a drop in the Roman historical bucket), they owned four square miles of prime real estate within walking distance of central Rome.  In a city of princely palaces on every corner, the Villa Borghese stands above the rest.  We didn’t drag the boys through the art museum, but evidently the collection is one of the finest in a city of fine private collections.

No, we had one destination in mind: the Zoo.  Amidst the beautiful wooden paths and mini-camper concession stands, the zoo stands alone in the minds of our boys.  We have hit zoos in every city we’ve visited.  We even sing along to the book, "Going to the Zoo," by Tom Paxton.   It is a bit of a calling card for our family.  This time, for some odd reason Liji was ambitious about the antelopes.  We never found them, we found all sorts of related deer, but along with the lions and tigers, they must have been on vacation.  We did run across some very friendly mandrills that seemed to be talking to Sydney; too bad it was in Italian.  The rain continued to fall, as we sprinted back to the Metro with a sleeping Lij in the stroller and a quickly fading Sydney.  At least this time we found the right entrance.