On our third day in Rome, I was suffering from a bit of a cold so we decided to take it a bit easier and head over for a relaxing stroll in the second largest park in Rome, the Villa Borghese Gardens. According to Wikipedia it is 148 acres. They are filled with walking paths, beautiful trees, and delightful gardens. We found a nice bench and sat down to read our book, Prince Caspian, of the Chronicles of Narnia.
As Woodley read to me I enjoyed watching the pigeons search for food in the fall leaves scattered over the street. From time to time a gust of wind would come up and send more leaves falling down upon us. It was such a delightful afternoon!
All too soon we finished Prince Caspian and decided to set out and head over to the Rome Zoo which is on one edge of the gardens. We had visited it last time we were in Rome and were excited to see the animals again.
After buying tickets, we started strolling and quickly discovered some adorable monkeys who were putting on quite a show for us.
There really seemed to be no shortage of monkeys at the Rome zoo. A little while later we came upon a great big circular area that was home to a huge gathering of monkeys. There were so many, all doing different tasks and activities, that we could have easily stayed there and watched them all day. Around the outside of the circle was a wide border of mulch where the monkeys sat grooming each other and looking for grubs.
And in the center was a raised area that they could climb up to which had a variety of ropes, swings, perches, and toys for them to play with. As we watched, I noticed two mothers carrying small babies on their backs! Eventually I began to wonder just how many of them there were. I did a quick count of the ones I could see from my vantage point and ended up at 60. Because there were so many on the other side that I couldn't see, I'm guessing there were at least 80 monkeys in that area. I've never seen anything like that at a zoo before!
The animals weren't the only thing to see at the zoo. There was also a lovely display of fall color that seemed to pop up everywhere we looked.
Close to some of the most beautiful trees was the home of 3 adorable seals. Their tank was strewn with fallen leaves and they seemed to really enjoy swimming through them. They put on quite a show for us and were so much fun to watch!
Next up was the big tiger! I have to admit, he seemed a bit near. (especially as I kept thinking of the San Francisco zoo incident)
I love these little flowers! They were found on bushes all over the zoo. I looked up the name but sadly have now forgotten it.
Everyone seemed to be enjoying the fall sunshine. As we turned another corner, we came upon the elephants receiving their lunch. The way they use their trunks is really impressive!
Close to the elephants lives the two hump camel.
And a strange bird with very bright colors!
Our last stop at the zoo was to visit the ring-tailed lemurs. They have always been one of my favorite animals. I love their stripy tails and playful personalities. I just wish you could have one as a pet... :)
Upon leaving the zoo we strolled back through the Borghese Gardens. I just love these fun trees! They always remind me of something out of a Dr. Seuss book!
It was such a lovely afternoon for a stroll. The sunlight filtering through the leaves of the trees was delightful and it was fun to be out with all of the Romans who were clearly enjoying the park just as much as we were.
As we were approaching the edge of the park, we were surprised to see an area closed off for a bike track. There was a ramp set up that formed a start gate and then there were a series of ramps and hills in place for the bikers to ride over. They appeared to be practicing for a race that would happen later in the day. We sat down on a nearby wall and enjoyed seeing how high they could jump! That was a very exciting way to end our visit to the park!
One last glimpse of the beautiful fall leaves:
As we exited the park, we came out to a terrace from which there was an excellent view of the entire city. As you would expect in such a beautiful place, a painter had set up a canvas to capture the scene. It made a very romantic picture.
The lovely scene that was being painted:
On the way home, we once more passed by the Spanish Steps. This time they were quite crowded - so much so that it was actually quite hard to get through.
The neighboring streets appeared to be completely taken over by pedestrians although a few cars were valiantly fighting their way through.
And on the corner, in the midst of it all, a roast chestnut vendor. We saw many stalls of this nature throughout Rome and it was quite fun to imagine eating roasted chestnuts for the holiday season. Sadly, we never got around to trying them before we left. Maybe next time...