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Rome March 09

Rome Travel Blog

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Constantines Arch

Lack of Euro football meant that since last summer I'd only been away once, to Zakynthos in October, and I was starting to climb the walls. Sat one Friday and decided I needed to get away and looked at the options and decided on Rome. Only for 3 days but it would do.

Was sitting booking it up and decided to see if my son wanted to come to Rome next Tuesday , like he wouldn't ( I did the same sort of thing with my daughter when she was 9 when I took her to Paris) . He would get to get time off school,it would be educational after all ;-) , and it would be company for me and nice for us to get time on our own. He was even more made up as it was somewhere his sister hadn't been.

Coloseum

Flight was out of Prestwick at 2pm to Rome Ciampino, so had to drive down there and leave the car in the car park. Checked in and bought tickets here for the Terravision bus transfer into Rome Termini Station. Flew out on time and arrived in Rome 3 hours later and found the buses no problem. They drop you off outside the Terravision lounge (on the street to the left if you are facing the station from the front). Had booked in the Hotel Le Petit on the Via Torino, as it was a short walking distance from the drop off.

Odd hotel in that the building it is in also has offices, and the hotel reception is on the 2nd floor but the rooms ar on the 4th floor. No a big issue, and we got into the room to find it OK and had a small balcony looking over the street below.

Cheap seats at The Coloseum
It was now nearly 9pm and didn't want to go wandering to far round the city centre, with my boy in tow, so went back down to the reception and he recommended a small Trattoria a couple of streets away, at the bottom of the Via Napoli. He gave us a map of central Rome and marked it on for us, though I think I could have managed to find it, but it was very good of him.Very quiet when we went in, but the food was great and from previous trips to Italy knew to order side dishes of chips and vegetables. Sat and took our time over the meal and then decided it was time to get him to his bed.Found a wee shop open on the way back to the hotel and got a few bottles of beer to take back. Strange shop as they obviously did their own lables and had a Fuhrer Wine with a picture of Hitler on the label and other Nazi themed labels on stuff, I just stuck to Peroni.
 Sat with him and worked out what we were going to do the following day before he dropped off to sleep. I sat out on the balcony for a bit before calling it a night. 

My son is an early bird and he was up and raring to go, while I was still struggling to get my head off the pillow. Breakfast was in the dining room adjacent to our room and I let him go ahead (I'm not that fussed about eating in the morning) and by the time I got there he was already tucking into his croissants and hot chocolate . I had 2 cups of tea :-) and then we were ready. Repubblica metro  station was just up the road and we headed for there. The Rome Metro system isn't going to tax anyones brains, you have Line A and Line B and they crossover at Termini.

Repubblica was on Line A ,so we got off at Termini and  changed to to down to Circo Massimus, to see the Circus Maximus. Didn't do that the last time I was there, but can only assume someone told us not to bother as you can't get into it and it just looks like an abandoned running track with a few piles of bricks.

Walked up from there to The Coloseum and there was harly any queue to get in. Went to buy the tickets, and the girl at the counter asked where we were from and when I told her asked if I had my sons passport, as under 16 EU nationals get in for free. Had left the passports in the hotel but the girl gave us the free ticket anyway. Took our time looking about, went down to the old cages and found one of the doors, that had a no entry sign on it, lying open so ,as you do, went in and had a look about the bits your not meant to get into.

Vittoriana from Coloseum
 Reading the information signs(see photo) we were laughed at how the Romans would amuse themselves during the lunchbreak by throwing unarmed criminals into the ring, with the animals,to be torn to pieces.

Came out and went into the Forum to have a look about,walked up past Trajans Colum and Market and then went up to 'The Wedding Cake'', the Monument to Victor Emanuelle or the Vittoriana,take your pick as it's referred to by all 3. Can't believe anyone would slag it off and think it's ugly. Got stopped going in by the Carabinieri as we were drinking from our bottles of coke :-O. Stuck them in my jacket pocket and everything was Kool and The Gang, but they take their monuments seriously there :-). My son was actually interested in all the carvings, and the soldiers at the flame of the tomb of the unknown soldier, but we went up to the top of the steps and round the back to the lift for the 'Rome From The Sky' experience.

Cages
It costs €7 to go up on it, but it's well worth it for the views,as you can look back down to The Coloseum,over the city centre out to the Olympic Stadium and across to The Vatican . The binoculars(free) that they have up there are incredibly powerful as away in the distance you could see the outline of blocks of flats on the horizon, and through the binoculars you could practically make out the colour of the curtains in each flat.

After a good look about we set off for the Pantheon and in a square behind it found a nice small colum that had an elephant carved in it. Had a quick look round the Pantheon, not that much to it, and set off up the way to try and find the Trevi Fountain. Followed the signs and must have missed one, because we ended up at the river, but a quick look at the street names and the map and we were back on course.

Day out at Coloseum (worth reading)
Decided to detour on the way back down to go to the Spanish Steps and have a look. Here for the fist time my son mentioned that he was hungry, and since it was nearly 4 O'Clock I thought I would let him off. Went to the nearby McDonalds , as at least there you know what you're going to get in quality,you're not going to get ripped off, they always have a toilet and it's somewhere you can take the weight off your feet for a bit. At home I can't stand them, and always told the kids when they were younger that their was more nutrition in eating the box they came in, but when away I find them comforting in that they have an international standard of cr@piness.

Refueled and fit again we followed the yellow brick road( well the signs) down to the Trevi Fountain.

Cross
This was the busiest of all the attractions that we did inour couple of days, and we had to jostle a wee bit to get into the front, but there was plenty of room therre to move about. Spent a while taking in the detail and listenting to the sound of the water. It was getting on, but we decided we had time for one more thing and we headed for the nearest metro station,Barberini, and headed for Piramide.

Apart from the obvious pyramid here that we wanted to see, there is also, behind that, the Protestant cemetry where the poets Shelley and Keats are buried. Having done all this decided it was time to head back to the hotel.

I lay on the bed when we got in and then thought I better go out and buy some stuff to take back. For the first time my boy complained that his legs were aching from all the walking.

Me
I knew he wasn't at it, because mine were as well, so I gave him the option of staying at the hotel and he decided he would rather lie on his bed and read his book than start tramping the streets again. I wasn't going to be long anyway, as I knew exactly where I was going and it was only in the next street. Got back and lay down myself with some of the beer I had left and read my magazine, as I didn't want us going out for dinner to early.

At 8-30pm we went back to the same place we had been the night before,don't know that I could have walked any further, and it was completely diferent, the place was mobbed. They managed to get us a table, but then came along and moved half of it for another couple, it was that busy. Had longer to wait for meals, but were in no rush and again the food was excellent.

Him
Headed back to the hotel about 11pm and lay about for a bit with another couple of beers and made him hot chocolate before we both crashed.

next morning let him go off for his breakfast again, while I got our stuff together and then joined him for my tea. Went down to reception to check out and they had a bit at the back of the reception where they let us leave our bags, so that we could get off and out and about. back up to Repubblica and got the metro up to The Vatican. It was raining a bit when we went into St Peters Square and there was a massive queue to get into the basilica, so I decided we should go to the museum first. No pain getting in here very quickly and we started going round. I had the idea from when I visited it years ago that it was much better than it turned out to be.

History
Eventually we gave up even kidding we were looking at stuff and just followed the signs for the Sistine Chapel.

The rest of it might be a pile of tat, but the Sistine Chapel is something worth seeing. Big change from when I was last there was that you just walked in and there were hundreds of people milling about and despite the notices folk were taking pictures and using their video cameras. Ah well, when in Rome....... Last time I was there you were only allowed in in groups of 20 and were escorted by 4 Vatican employees and it was made very clear that any sort of photography was prohibited, which is why the picture I got the last time was kind of blurred as I had to do it sneakily. Having done the chapel it was time to leave and as we were on the way out I naively asked my son,knowing that he hadn't been that interested, what he thought was the best part (given that he just been in The Sistine Chapel) and he turned straight faced and said ''The Exit Sign'' :-D

Just remeinded me of the old adage that you shouldn't ask children questions if you are not prepared for the answer.

Outside
  

Went back round to St Peters and the queue was way down, so we went into the basilica.Then went down to the tombs and looked around them,and came across the tomb of Pope John Paul II , which,unlike the rest, was all lit up and had stuff placed all round it like a shrine and a security guard standing in front of it. Struck me as a bit garish and part of the celebrity culture, and I was really surprised at it here.

On the way into the tombs there are two channels,one for the tombs and one for the dome. Having clocked the dome my son wanted to go up, and feeling guilty( is that how you're meant to feel in The Vatican) about dragging him round the museum, against my better judgement I agreed to take him up. Again it was a freebie for him and we got the lift up to the first stage and went in above the basilica.

Street View
we then started the climb adn though it was narrow and spiral staircases it was OK, until we actually got to the dome itself. The steps are still as steep butit is really narrow and being in the dome going round and round. At 6ft 2'' I couldn't stand up straight and was having to to it all leaning in with the curve of the dome, and it made feel dizzy.When we got to the windows before the last stage I had to stop and get my head together. Was worth it on the top as it was a good view down into St Peters Square and out further afield, the reverse of the view we had the day before. With that done we climbed back down and got the metro back to the hotel. Went to McDonalds at Repubblica before going in and collecting our bags and going round to the Terravision lounge to wait on the bus.
Forum

No probs getting to the airport, but Rome Ciampino airport isn't somewhere you want to be stuck for any length of time. Very crowded and a lack of seating, and there was a distinct lack of choice when it came to gettinfg something to eat. Our flight wasn't until 9pm and my son was hungry and we went to look in the one cafe/sandwich bar that is there. Now he like his grub and eats practically anything yet there was nothing there that he would touch. Ended up just getting him something on the plane. Nice smooth flight back to Scotland and no fuss as the car was sitting waiting in the airport car park and we managed home just after midnight.

Give my boy his due, after sitting up and telling his mum a nd sister about the trip, and having been on the go for 3 days, he had the option to stay off school the next day, but he chose to go.

Statue

Really enjoyed my time in Rome, and got the major things done. Could maybe have done with another day to look at some of the more obscure bits but quite happy at what we got done. Great place for walking about and soaking uo the atmosphere.

 

 

vances says:
Excellent write up, glad our paths crossed.
Posted on: Jun 19, 2012
troysgonewalkabout says:
I'm with your son on the Sistine Chapel :)
Posted on: Mar 15, 2010
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Constantines Arch
Constantines Arch
Coloseum
Coloseum
Cheap seats at The Coloseum
Cheap seats at The Coloseum
Vittoriana from Coloseum
Vittoriana from Coloseum
Cages
Cages
Day out at Coloseum (worth reading)
Day out at Coloseum (worth reading)
Cross
Cross
Me
Me
Him
Him
History
History
Outside
Outside
Street View
Street View
Forum
Forum
Statue
Statue
€4 bottle of coke :-O
€4 bottle of coke :-O
Vittoriana
Vittoriana
Tomb Of The Unknown Soldier
Tomb Of The Unknown Soldier
Flag
Flag
Coloseum from Vittoriana
Coloseum from Vittoriana
Sky Of Rome
Sky Of Rome
View from Vittoriana
View from Vittoriana
Chariot
Chariot
St Peters from afar
St Peters from afar
Elephant colum
Elephant colum
Inside Pantheon
Inside Pantheon
Pantheon
Pantheon
River Tiber
River Tiber
Palace of Justice(mabybe?)
Palace of Justice(mabybe?)
Spanish Steps
Spanish Steps
Trevi Fountain
Trevi Fountain
Coin In The Fountain ( Ok it was j…
Coin In The Fountain ( Ok it was …
Pyramid
Pyramid
Repubblica
Repubblica
St Peters Square
St Peters Square
St Peters Square
St Peters Square
I dont know. Dinosaur Egg thingin…
I don't know. Dinosaur Egg thingi…
Big Bath
Big Bath
Vatican Museum
Vatican Museum
Sistine Chapel
Sistine Chapel
Ceiling Sistine Chapel
Ceiling Sistine Chapel
Front Of St Peters Basilica
Front Of St Peters Basilica
Inside St Peters Basilica
Inside St Peters Basilica
1st stage climbing the dome
1st stage climbing the dome
Top Of The Dome
Top Of The Dome
View of the square from the top of…
View of the square from the top o…
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photo by: vulindlela