After meeting the new Pope, visiting the Vatican, and seeing some of the great sites during our first two days in Rome, we were ready to venture out into the city. With the Roma Pass, you get free entry into the first two museums or sites where you use it. Since the Colosseum was one of the more expensive sites, and it was near Palatine Hill and the Forum, we decided to go there first. Public transportation is free with the Roma Pass, so we walked a few blocks to the Rinascimento stop right near the Piazza Navona to catch the 87 bus to the Colosseum area. This was the same bus we took back to the apartment.
Getting off of the bus, it was really weird to just see the Colosseum right there in front of you so close to the street. Even in it’s state of deterioration, the shear size of it is awe inspiring. We spent a little over an hour exploring all of the levels available on the regular ticket, but you had the option of spending a little extra to get down closer to the floor area and up higher on other levels. I felt like the regular ticket, combined with the free Rick Steve’s audio tour I downloaded before the trip, provided enough details and information to satisfy my curiosity. This was one of my favorite things during the trip. Nerd alert…Just looking at the Colosseum floor and all of the passageways, compartments, and elevators below gave me a real appreciation for the ingenuity and engineering present almost 2,000 years ago.
We had made a plan before we left the apartment about what we were seeing that day, which is why when we ended up getting separated from half of our group, so my sister, Mr. B, and I made our way over the the Forum and Palatine Hill. It was a gorgeous day, and both the Forum and Palatine Hill were full of people out for a stroll. It was really nice to just walk around and take in the ruins and architecture still intact. Making a plan in the morning paid off, because we met up with the rest of our group towards the end of our time at the Forum.
That night, we made dinner at the apartment with plenty of bread, olive oil, and wine thrown in for good measure. I still miss all of that wine and delicious bread! Many of the reviews I read in preparation for our trip said that the Campo di Fiore had some great restaurants and was a great place to hang out, so we headed there after dinner to get some drinks. The Campo di Fiore is set up with restaurants on both sides of an open area with statues in the middle. Somehow we got the crazy idea to turn the night into a bar crawl and run (yes, literally run) from one side to the other. Needless to say we had a great time and even picked up a person or two as we were crawling along. We ended the night with some pizza from a pizzeria we found on the way home.
The next morning was kind of a wrap up day. We hadn’t been inside St. Peter’s yet, so we went over bright and early. St. Peter’s Basilica is breathtaking. The first thing I thought when I walked inside is how small I felt. With glittering gold mosaics above, and a towering alter, it’s hard not to be amazed. I swear I don’t work for Rick Steves, but I downloaded his free tour of the basilica on my phone and found it really informative. He provided a bit of history on the church, as well as some architectural tidbits that I found really interesting. The gold tile bordering much of the basilica is actually 11 feet tall. Hard to believe, right? The sculptures throughout the church were beautiful; I loved seeing the Pieta by Michelangelo.
Climbing domes and towers in other countries is my thing. I love it. So I wasn’t going to miss an opportunity to climb up to St. Peter’s Dome. The line was a little long, which made the climb take longer than it should have. I should also mention that if you’re claustrophobic, you may have a hard time with the route since many of the spaces are really tight and there isn’t much of a view. They do offer an elevator to the roof for an extra Euro. On the way up to the roof we stopped off at the cupola for some pictures with the gorgeous mosaics.
Looking into St. Peter’s Square from the top of the basilica was totally worth the climb, especially on such a beautiful day. There’s even a little stand at the top where you can get refreshments and light snacks to refuel for the walk back down which was much easier.
After our climb, we had lunch at DueCentro again and then stopped at the Frigidarium Gelateria on the way back to our apartment. The gelato here was good, and the crepes were just ok. We weren’t ready to go home yet, so we stopped at the Abbey Theater Irish Pub for some drinks and soccer watching. That night we packed and booked a taxi to the airport using Coopertiva SarHire. They were very responsive, the driver was on time, and he even took 5euro off of the total, because he had forgotten the credit card machine. The ride to the airport was about 35 minutes, and the entire time I kept wishing that we were just going to another city instead of home. I loved my time in Italy, and I could see myself easily spending more time there in the future.
How many times have you been to Italy? What cities are on your must visit list?