Pantheon and Piazza Navona

Helle opens the window to the back yard where a choir of birds is greeting the new day. Breakfast is served from 7:30 in newly decorated rooms with creamy yellow colours and quality furniture. When we enter at 7:32, 35 Danes are already busy chewing. Two Danish priests with clerical collars are the tour leaders. They are probably going on a church crawl.

A week-pass for the buses and metro makes sense even for four days. A ticket machine at Termini is tested; it is easy to buy a train ticket to Pesaro, and the machine knows practically everything except Danish.

The antique hole at Largo di Torre Argentina

A man sleeps on a marble bench

The new bus passes take us to Largo di Torre Argentina. There seem to be fewer cats among the ruins than in 2005, but maybe they hide in the shades? A street musician gathers strength for the day's work and a man sleeps on a marble bench.

We visit the neighbourhood of Pantheon and Piazza Navona. It has become a ritual, when we come to Rome, to greet Bernini's elephant on Piazza Minerva and to stay a while in awe below the mighty dome of Pantheon, where the light shines through the oculus.

Piazza Navona is teeming with tourists. Each flock has a guide who either bores his audience with learned facts about Bernini's fountains or walks with an umbrella high in the air. The cosy back alleys with workshops and laundry are not on the list of sights to see.

In Monti

Back in our own neighbourhood we go to Piazza d. Madonna dei Monti for lunch, an ok spaghetti carbonara.

A catholic procession

On the way back to the hotel we stop to watch a catholic procession. A beggar turns towards us with a jerk, and from his outstretched plastic cup glittering coins shower the black cobblestones. My first impulse is to help him pick them up, but instead I walk on - my help could easily trigger paranoia. Further down Via Urbana a choir is singing in the Evangelic church. They sing much better than the procession, but regrettably stop - apparently the vicar wants to say something.

Later I return to Via Urbana to visit the Internet point. They don't ask for ID or register me as required by law. Neither do I get a receipt, when I leave. They are probably good-natured and want to save the tax authorities the trouble.

We want to visit another of the restaurants recommended in the Danish book. It is called Osteria Tempio di Macenate and is situated in Largo Leopardi, a small side street to Via Merulana.

Osteria Tempio di Macenate

The restaurant opens at seven, and when we arrive at ten to eight there are just a few vacant tables outside. Before long every table is taken inside too and people queue on the pavement. This must be a popular place.

We have a carafe of the house red plus some water and bread. Helle orders Parma ham for starters and I a vegetable soup. The soup is a meal in itself. It is good, but needs a pinch of salt and I have the guts to ask the waiter for some. Back home there is always salt and pepper on the table, but not in Italy.

Lemon sorbet

Helle's main course is scaloppine (veal) in lemon sauce, and I have abbacchio al forno (lamb) with potatoes. We share a mixed salad and my potatoes. It is excellent. The lamb is very tender with a fine aroma of garlic and rosemary.

We cannot leave without dessert: mixed ice cream for Helle and lemon sorbet for me. The sorbet is served in a hollow lemon - delicious. We are reluctant to leave and order coffee and Vecchia Romagna.

We wait for a surprisingly long time, until the headwaiter with chopper-view notices and bark an order to the younger waiter, who had forgotten. An excellent place, and for three courses plus coffee and brandy we are billed 70 .