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A Trip to Italy (and maybe some runs) Part 3, Rome is For Runners

Piazza del Popolo

Somehow when you jump time zones, time disappears. And somehow, I lost Friday. I’m sure it was a good day, I just feel kind of bad that I have no recollection of it (unfortunately, that may become a more “normal” happening  as age creeps in).

So upon awakening at what we will describe as “my normal time,” I am off to take on a real run in Rome. I decide that I want to run from the hotel to Estadio Olimpico (the Olympic Stadium). The prescribed route is simple, a nice out and back. 

The early section (mile and a half or so) was through the streets of Rome, the Strada di Roma. Early enough to not be to busy and full of the buzz of a potentially hopping Saturday.

Church of Saint Mary

The route took me through the Piazza del Popolo, site of Rome’s oldest obelisk and of the city’s northern gate. Right there as well is the Church of Saint Mary ‘in Montesanto’ which is like these two identical churches that sit across the street from each other.

From the gate I continue North through a cute little coffee shop/market neighborhood before heading over to the road that parallels the River Tiber. I thought this was going to be much cooler as the map showed it to be along the river. Well, “along” the river meant up on a road lined with tennis courts and condos. Then finally, to the left, was the stadium. I crossed the bridge, avoided some traffic, and then looped the place looking for the possibility of sneaking inside. No dice.

Instead, I hit the practice track, the Stadio del Marmi. Now I’m not sure what that means, who is Marmi after all, but I do know that the track is lined with these awesome statues and columns. It also references Pietro Mennea, the great Italian sprinter of the 70’s. Well, if you’re stuck on a practice track, this is the one to be stuck on….. beautiful. I looped a few times, hit the outside trail around the big stadium and decided to head back as we were off to Tuscany later in the day.

Stadio del Marmi

Happily I made it back to the hotel without incident even though I neglected to have the hotel’s address for GPS purposes. I relied on my natural instincts. On the way back, I passed a Nike store and decided that it would be how I would kill the post shower/pre train to Florence time period. I would love to tell you how great it was but I have slowly learned something in life: a Nike store, is a Nike store, is a Nike store. Nothing overly cool. Nothing uniquely Italian.

We bid Le Hotel Feniche a fond farewell and we’re off to Firenze (Florence) by train. From there it would be rental cars to the villa, just outside of Camigliano.


First, the Florence train station is, pardon the expression, a train wreck. Massive confusion everywhere, tons of people attempting to navigate the correct ramp, not the finest accommodations for waiting (unlike the Rome train station which was awesome – well except for the catacombs – but that’s for another day). All in all, not the most pleasant experience. So, slightly on the crabby side, I am informed by my Brother-in-law, John that we will have to get our rental cars separately instead of together as we thought. Okay, no problem, I’m good at this.

I get Chiara. John gets “other girl.” John begins by having some kind of paperwork hassle with “other girl,” while I score MAJOR points being able to pronounce Chiara in a way that makes me sound Italian. “Wow, you’re one of the few people who can pronounce my name,” she said. I could go on about this and relate it to my vast travel/rental car and kissing up

Chiara’s Car

experience, but I won’t, except to say this: John got a Citron, ugly green hatchback without air conditioning. I got a Fiat 500L Black with leather, sunroof and air. Enough said.

The drive to the villa was about 50 minutes. As mentioned, the villa is outside Camigliano on the hillside. It’s a heck of a climb even in Chiara’s car but worse on the run as I would find the next day. We arrive, meet up with the rest of the gang (Blane, Leslie, Kevin, Alex), pick roms and get settled in. Cutting to the chase, the place was gorgeous. Here’s a link if you’d like to check it out: 

The rest of the evening was spent exploring, eating, chatting. Much wine was consumed (not by me, I don’t drink), much catching up was done. By 10 pm, I am BURNT! It was perfect, just like home, early to bed, early to rise. Ciao.