We arrived in Rome early on Monday morning after a not too bad flight and some good sleep to be greeted by the usual traffic jam and the blaring horns of the frustrated drivers, ahhhh Italia.
We both felt good and decided to attempt a quick adjustment to time and avoid hitting the sack straight away.The weather was perfecto and when we finally weaved our way around road works on the one way streets of Campo Di Fiori we found our apartment ready and Fredrico waiting to hand over the keys.
It was a very pleasant surprise as the apartment was spacious modern and lived up to its name “high tech” with all the mod cons laid on. For the same price as a 3 star hotel this was excellent value and we love it that we can go to the markets and get our fresh produce for breakfast lunch and dinner if we so desire especially as Campo De Fiori is just 100m from our door.
Our first day was spent wandering without a map around the old town at the back of Piazza Navona through to the River Tiber stopping for a pizza margherita along the way and dropping into every church we came across.
After a nap we decided to pass on dinner and instead strolled down to the Campo to watch the” passeggiata” with front row seats enjoying a few cocktails playing spot the “LOCAL” or” TOURIST”.
We woke early the next day with the time adjustment factor and jumped into our walking shoes and off we went, first stop, The Pantheon, with no one but the cleaners and pigeons around.
Rome was just waking up so it is the perfect time get around and we wandered through the streets to Palazzo Chigi & Montecitorio, the Italian Parliament and through to the famous cafe Giolitti a mid 19th century cafe for a stand up cappuccino at the bar for 1euro. BELLISIMO!!!.
We then found ourselves at the Tiber again at the Ponte Umberto 1 near the Castelo San Angelo, the old Papal Fort.
It was then time to head back through the Piazza Navona to pick up supplies at the Campo for breakfast on the way back and after a bit of fun at being ripped of by the stall holders it was time to sample the beautiful melon, juicy ripe tomatoes, plump pears, fresh basilico & rocket as well as the fresh bread and delicious parmesan reggio cheese that we sampled…. and none of it disappointed.
In the afternoon we hopped on the hop on hop off bus touristica for a open top tour of Rome and also decided to check out the train Termini to book our tickets to Orvieto. Our first stop was the Ara Pacis and the Augustus mouseleum, it is truly amaxing what they find underneath rome.
While there we wandered down to Santa Maria Maggiore, one of Rome’s finest basilicas and took in its majesty before jumping back on the bus to finish the round trip.
Wednesday came and after breakfast we walked down to Basillica San Pietro for our tour of the Vatican museum to be met by a mass of humanity lining up to enter the Piazza for the Popes Mass, classic Italian organised chaos..brilliant.
Our Tour of the Vatican museum with our guide Alfredo was very informative but the crowds inside the Sistine chapel were crazy however the Raphael rooms were the treat for me.
The antiquities were a treat and the big hall of maps and the intricate detail of the ceilings and floors were mind boggling.
the flooring also really caught our eye with whole sections of mosaics lifted from ancient roman villa’s and used throughout the museum.
the amazing corkscrew staircase is one of my arcitectural highlights and a real engineering masterpiece.
Of course there were masterpieces everywhere but a few really stood out, both the sublime and the ridiculous.
We arranged for Thursday a trip to Tivoli and that is dealt with in a separate post. LISTED BELOW
That night we took a walk up to the Trevi Fountain and saw the glamourous female polizia parading around. we then left the masses and wandered some more back streets away from the crowds
On Friday a nice cruisy day was in order as our feet had been really feeling the effects of all those cobble stones and a sleep in was on the cards as we had adjusted quickly to the time zone.
A quick trip to the markets to top up the supplies and a delightful breakfast later we were ready to hit the streets again. This time we went to Trastevere via the Chiesa del Gesu and Theatro Marcellus and stopped for a cafe on the way near an old Roman temple ruin that is being restored.
An old man was playing a beautiful tune on the piano accordian and that really capped it off.
We copped a bit of rain on the way so hid out under the arches of the ancient theatre
Over the Ponte Fabricio to the Isola Tiberina and then onto Trastevere where we had lunch in an old taverna full of old local paintings.
we then went on through the medieval streets to the oldest church in Rome, Santa Maria, which was so richly decorated in mosaic and beautiful fresco’s.
And then before our eyes an old German gentleman of about 70+ stepped backwards at the top of 6 stairs and flew through the air onto the marble floor below , the sight and sound was terrifying and so was the blood( mopped up quickly by the staff). Luckily he did not break anything but had a massive cut above his eye and was in shock but was generally ok.
On Friday I took an early morning walk up to the forum to take it all in before we said farewell to Roma.
Next its off to Orvieto in Umbria .