Rome – Day 2
Our second day in Rome started very early at 4.30am due to waking from Jet lag. I was so excited and so tired at the same time but was determined not to waste a minute of my holiday. I thought I may never get to see Rome again so get up and explore!
The Trevi Fountain was glowing like a sparkling jewel in the early morning light, so magical without the usual crowds. Truly a magnificent fountain that you will never forget.
We kept walking through the City and decided to walk all the way to the Colosseum. It was around 6am, still early, lovely cool temperature and the best part, minimal people.
After half an hour of walking, I felt a band of pressure across my temples and a weary feeling. My body was begging for an espresso. Thankfully we came across a little bar just open. The aroma of freshly ground coffee beans and warm pastries lead us by the nose and in broken Italian we ordered. “Buongiorno, due caffè espresso e pasticcini per favore” So reasonable at 2.50 Euro we felt we should indulge in two rounds of espresso and pastry!
We finally arrived outside the Colosseum at 7.30am. All I could hear was my footsteps padding on the dusty ground outside. I walked around marveling at the size of this historical monument, imaging Gladiators fighting to the death. It is as amazing as you would expect considering how many centuries it has endured.
We decided not to wait until the opening time as we had already booked our tickets to the Vatican for 11.00am. We made our way back through the streets to our hotel with a few stops along the way for more photos of monuments.
As you can imagine, we took thousands of photos on our trip. I spent many weeks making a photobook of my trip to Italy which had 100 pages. I have only done one book so far and only a quarter of the way showing my full Italy trip. The hardest part is picking which out of over 4000 photos to use! There’s so much to see in Rome. Everywhere you look, is something old and beautiful.
We refreshed in our hotel with a quick change of clothes as it was already steaming hot at 10.00am. We set off and made a quick ten-minute walk to the “Spagna” train station to take a train to the Vatican City.
Right next to the station is The Spanish Steps. Of course, a quick photo session was required. We were so lucky to get some nice photos without a horde of tourists surrounding us. Within minutes of taking this photo below, the steps swarmed with people!
The train trip was 15 minutes to Vatican City. Then we followed the signs in the street to the Vatican. Suddenly we saw a line of people that went for a long way around more streets up to the Vatican. I’m sure there were at least 100 people lining up. Fortunately, we had pre-bought online the “skip the line” entry tickets for the Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel AU $48.76 and St Peter’s Basilica Self Guided Tour AU$34.76 through the app Tiqets. This was an excellent idea and the tickets went straight to our smartphones. We walked up to the front entrance and straight inside to get our tickets validated and receive our headphones for the self-guided tour.
There is so much to see and you really need a whole day. Also if going in summer, best to go as early as possible due to the heat and crowds. We had an 11.00am admission and the day was incredibly hot. The museum section was bearable and not overly crowded. As we went further in to see the sculptures, the crowds increased to the point it was so tightly packed shoulder to shoulder. You couldn’t move an inch. The crowd moved as one being. I only could stand a quick look and felt so hot, claustrophobic and faint. I realized I couldn’t face being shuffled along in the crowd with what felt like no air. I went to the guard and begged him to let me under the rope to go down towards the exit. I made actions with my hand over my mouth as if I was going to be sick. He gave in and let me and my partner through. Even then we had more crowds as there was a fair way to go to get out and it became a single file down narrow steps. Eventually, the area opened to a wider space.
This area wasn’t so crowded so I enjoyed looking up at the spectacular ceiling and along the walls. I would have loved to stay longer and just look at things in detail. It was too hard with the crowds. We finally got to the outside garden area cafe, took a break and a Aperol Spritz. Then off we went into the heat and made it to St Peter’s Square.
Inside the Basilica was also impressive and well worth a visit. We almost didn’t want to go in as the heat was getting too much. Once inside the Basilica, thankfully it was cooler.
We have been up since 4.30am and feeling weary but still wanting to go out later in the evening to dinner. Outside it was like a heatwave, so dry and hot. We got lost and couldn’t seem to find the direction to the station so we jumped in a taxi which was only a quick 15-20 minute ride back to our hotel. Thank god I had made sure we picked a hotel with air conditioning. It was pure bliss to collapse on the bed for a rest before dinner.
We had in mind to visit the Trastevere area for dinner which is known for being a colourful funky bohemian area where you can dine until late or enjoy live music, cobblestone streets with a lively atmosphere. Unfortunately, we were so tired that we only made it back to the laneways behind Piazza Navonna. I loved this area the previous evening so it was still so lovely.
We loved our last night in Rome, just strolling around the streets after dinner with a Gelato. So much still to see on hopefully my next trip to Rome. The next morning we did some quick shopping, bought some special outfits that I could only buy in Rome, jumped in a taxi and took only a 15 minute drive to the main train station to catch our pre-booked seats on the fast train to Naples.
My next post will be fabulous Naples, truly unique! Gritty, colourful and vibrant!