The sun was shining Tuesday morning, our travel day to Rome. I can’t say we were disappointed. Walking in the rain with luggage isn’t much fun :) We left our countryside apartment at 10 AM and drove the rental car into Center City to return it. Once that was accomplished, we headed for the train station. The new train service, Italo, had a very nice lounge for us to wait in so we settled in and did a little reading while we waited on our train to Rome.
High speed rail is pretty cool. This photo has a lot of glare, but it shows us going 300 km/h :)
We knew our hotel, Mercure Roma Piazza Bologna, was within walking distance of the Tibertina train terminal, so I plugged it into Google maps on my phone and we headed in that direction. Less than 10 minutes later we were in the lobby. Love Google maps :)
We settled into our rooms and then headed out to find something to eat but it was the wrong time of day. Most restaurants close around 2 PM and don’t reopen until 7 or 8 PM for dinner. The Italians like to eat late. You know what they say, “when in Rome, do as the Romans” :) We had gotten used to eating late from the very beginning because that’s just the way it is here. Today, however, we hadn’t had any lunch due to travel so we were hungry. No problem! We found a little meat market around the corner, purchased some cheese and some wine and headed back to our rooms :) We had crackers left over from a previous grocery stop, so we snacked nicely until the restaurants opened for the evening :)
Wednesday started out nice and sunny and we headed out somewhat unprepared for the rain that would eventually come, but all in all, we didn’t even melt :)
We spent the better part of the day touring the Colosseum which is amazing. We toured the inside but frankly, getting off the Metro, stepping onto the sidewalk and looking across the street to see this
was awe inspiring for me. Here was the remains of a structure built 2000 years ago!
Right next to the Colosseum was the Roman Forum, the center of public life in ancient Rome.
A closer look shows some of the cables used to hold things together.
The entire area surrounding the forum was filled with ruins.
We also toured Palentine Hill, where the Roman Emperors’ built their palaces.
The garden area of the hill gave a splendid view of Rome
After all of that, we stopped for a wonderful late lunch/early dinner and returned to the hotel for the night.
Thursday was a beautiful day and we headed out early to see Vatican City. It was hard to believe that just a few days earlier a new Pope was elected in this very same place and he said his first Mass as Pope here yesterday (Wed).
St. Peters Square
St. Peters Basilica
All visitors were required to go through security but it didn’t take much time and shortly after we were at the doors of St. Peters. Us and 1000 of our friends that is :) Keep in mind, this is not tourist season yet. It’s not even close to being busy like it will be in another month. I can’t even imagine.
Our first glimpse at the opulent interior
The artistry was magnificent
The entire perimeter of the Vatican is enclosed by a brick wall.
We wanted to walk the perimeter but no one was allowed into the private areas.
That didn’t stop us though! We walked around the outside of the wall and now can say we’ve walked around an entire country :)
The Vatican also sports it’s own Post Office and there were many people posting items at this drop. It must be a popular thing to do.
Once we left the Vatican, we took a walking tour of part of Rome. I’m including links to these stops should you wish more information. This post is long enough :)
The Spanish Steps
and The Pantheon
We also did a little shopping before stopping for dinner. How about the size of this salami?
It was a very full day and we all slept well that night.
We left Rome on Friday, the first day of a city wide transit strike. I think our timing was pretty good on that one :)
We enjoyed a yummy Italian pastry and a coffee Americano at a little cafe close to the hotel before checking out.
We took a train to Napoli (Naples) just for an overnight stay. Sheila and Vern were flying out of there first thing Saturday morning while Rick and I were going to continue on to the Amalfi Coast on Saturday.
I have no photos of Napoli. What we saw was a run down, dirty city. I’m sure if we had spent more time there, we might have found a few things to enjoy, but an overnighter was all we were inclined to do. The unemployment rate was 30% and pick pockets were everywhere. It was the only time on our entire trip where we did not feel comfortable.
I think this post has gone on long enough :) Next stop: Vietri sul Mare. Stay tuned.