Monday, June 11, 2012

Rome ~ Ancient City ~ Italy

Our train ride from Venice to Rome was a four hour trip with sunshine and different scenery to enjoy all the way, other than inside the many and some very long tunnels we travelled through.  The sky darkened with storm clouds as we approached Rome and once we were off the train and waiting for the taxi, we heard the loudest clap of thunder I am sure I have ever heard and the skies opened up and it poured!  Welcome to Roma!

The rain spattered windows of the taxi cab blurred the view in Rome.
Rain in Rome, Italy
We saw very little through the rain splattered cab windows on our way to the hotel but by the time we’d checked in and were back out for a walk with complimentary hotel umbrellas, the rain had stopped and we were enjoying sunshine and learning the neighborhood.  We found what became our favorite ‘happy hour café’ after our sightseeing days and with a great map from the hotel, we planned the next few days.

A view of the Colosseum from across the street.
The Colosseum in Rome
We set out after our complimentary continental breakfast and walked the few blocks to catch the Metro.  It cost us 11euro each for a 3 day pass and with only two metro lines and well announced stations, is very easy to use.  We had one transfer to make and within minutes and after walking up many steps, we stepped out into the sunshine to see the incredible Colosseum, what a thrill that was!  The station exit doors couldn’t have been placed any better to give that ‘catch your breath’ moment to remember.

Pillars shown as part of the ruins of the Ancient City of Rome
The ruins of the Ancient City of Rome
We planned to have a tour of the Colosseum and the ruins the following day so we were not going in but carried on to view the ruins that cover quite a bit of the area, many of them archeological digs that are roped off and not accessible but many of them are open to the public to wander and others, (for a fee) for tours. 
Grass and moss growing on the outside of an old building
Remains of ancient buildings in Rome
We climbed a nearby hill overlooking the Colosseum and wandered among more ruins of old buildings as we made our way to see even more down the street.  The Ancient City dates back to 753BC and Rome grew to become one of the largest empires. These ruins are many centuries old and it is so difficult to comprehend that these ruins we are looking at were built with such limited means.
The interior of a church, the dome and pulpit is shown.
Church in Rome, Italy

The doors were open so it was impossible to not go inside to see what this church looked like.  Many have the dome which extends above very high walls and sure does make it difficult to get a photo that will show that height, especially when the area is not that large.  The rules vary but the churches that do not allow photos to be taken will have a notice with a red line drawn across a camera at the front door so there is no confusion about that.
A view from across the street to the Parliament buildings
The Victor Emmanuel Monument in Rome

The Victor Emmanuel Monument, who was a King of Sardinia and a symbol for a united Italy, also houses a museum.  Statues of historical figures adorn the building, often called the 'wedding cake' or 'typewriter' by locals, and has grand stairs leading up to the front.  The Unknown Soldier is also buried here in this monument that was completed in 1911.
St. Peter's Basilica and the Taber River with bridge crossing.
St. Peter's Basilica in Vatican City, Rome, Italy

We used the metro once again and made our way to the Vatican for the tour we had previously booked to see at 2:30pm.  We found a nice restaurant to enjoy a quick lunch and cold drink before walking over to the site, which I will write about later.  
We look down the river to see the lights of the walks and St. Peter's Basilica 
St. Peter's Basilica lights up at night
We followed this walk more than once as it was within walking distance of our hotel and saw St Peter’s Basilica both at night and day.  It can be seen from many locations and seems to draw one’s eye to it and is the focus of several photos, this was taken from one of the bridges crossing the Taber River.
The bridge with arches as the base and statues bridges edge, crosses the Taber River .
Ponte Sant'Angelo on Taber River
The Taber River is a big part of the city of Rome and there are several crossings which we walked across during our days of sightseeing.  We took the metro to the farthest points we wanted to see then would take the whole day to make our way back towards the hotel as we did our sightseeing.  We’d stop at our favorite ‘happy hour café’ at the end of our day, we’d sit al fresco to have a nice cold drink and talk about our wonderful day in Rome.


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