The Cat Sanctuary in the Roman Ruins of Torre Argentina
Torre Argentina Cat Sanctuary is a cat charity and shelter in the most unusual of locations. While the shelter itself is underground, it looks out onto a below street level square of roman ruins. According to some sources, this is where Julius Caesar was murdered, but now it is full of fallen columns, overgrown weeds, and cats sleeping in the sun.
It took us a few minutes to spot the cats amongst the ruins, and even longer to find the shelter itself, as you have to go down a set of steps to enter it. Anyone can go in, talk to the volunteers and yes, play with the kitties. The cats are all fixed/sterilized, tested for disease and vaccinated, and the organization does sterilization drives through out Rome.
Despite their successes, the shelter itself has gone for long periods of time without electricity and water, forcing the volunteers to fetch water from the public drinking fountains to keep the shelter clean and the cats hydrated. Even now they do not have hot water or human bathroom facilities.
All the cats are all named, I heard one of the volunteers talk about one called Grumpy, and later she wanted a visitor to meet another named Lady Macbeth. Quite a few of the cats were blind. Since this is a long term no-kill shelter, many of the cats here are "un-adoptable", either being special needs or a bit too old to be re-homed.
I played with some of the kittens, while another woman sat with a very happy blind cat on her lap for quite some time, not having the heart to dump the sleepy cat off her lap.