Monday, 8 May 2017

Italy part 4

When in Rome...
Pic - tourist taking a photo of St Peter's Basilica from a bridge on the Tiber.

It's my last evening in Rome - tired legs and feet - I'm having a rest, and it's well earned. I've been busy for the last two days and I've given the car some well earned rest.  In Rome they have the Metro which is an underground train that takes you around the city - only two lines though. There are plenty on other modes of transport including Tram. Bus, Boat and a good number of more tourist options.
I took the Metro from my B&B as it was close and I got off at the Colosseum. This is an impressive building and I was impressed - it looks old and my word it is old! They started building it in 72AD and it was finished in 80AD... They had no cranes back then. I didn't join the hordes and go in, just took various shots from the outside - then I started to walk, in Rome, most of the famous sites are well within walking distance and it is the best way to see them. I also walked along the River Tiber which runs an olive green colour - very fitting. The Pantheon was free entry and although a long queue I only had to wait about 15 minutes to get inside - more impressive sights! 
As you know I'm a fields, meadows and mountains kind of guy but Rome really clicked with me - I found it similar to London in many ways however, they could improve the signage for walkers. 

Today I went to the Vatican. Well what can I say here without upsetting at least one person - ok lets start with the good. I got a pre ticket on the web the night before for the Museums and the Sistine Chapel, with lunch thrown in - cost - 38E.. I thought this was ok and when I arrived I didn't have to queue and I got straight in - great! The place is quite incredible - I mean beautiful, I can compare only with places like Versailles in France. Ornate decor and paintings wall to wall and ceiling of course - an absolute delight..  The food you get was also worthy of the money, pasta, sausage and chips - yes you heard right, and tiramisu - and water...  

Pic - under the main dome, St Peter's Basilica

Ok so that sounds great right?  Well not for me; we were herded like sheep down corridors it was quite a crush at some stages - you could not really chose where to go - it was more like you were carried. Also - I arrived about 9:30 and my meal was for 11 - by 10:30 I'd walked out into St Peter's Square - I had to get back to where I'd started from... Ok easy right? No. You are not allowed back the same way, out you go, around the city and to the entrance - here I found you were not allowed re-entry! So a bit of begging and Ito-English and I was in - go my meal served after asking 3 different English speaking people where I would get it..  Any more complaints?  Yes.. They took my rucksack - no charge but I was not allowed it with me, however, I did see other gusts with rucksaks.. what?! Annoying do com, I had to carry water, camera and other essentials. Lastly but by no means least it was difficult to find your way about to start off the tour - the signs all seem to point in the wrong direction and speaking with some other visitors they were having the same issues.

Pic - little red Fiat on Piazza del Popolo

In balance I thought they could have done better with the service. The buildings themselves and all the history - well you can't put a price on that. Tomorrow I drive through 2 national parks as I make my way to Sienna which starts my Tuscany experience off - and I cannot wait to get out of the city!

Notes - 
  • Metro - very busy on a work day on the A line from Termini Station. I had to wait for 3 trains to get on and it was a squeeze. 
  • Admission - you can avoid queues but will pay extra for it, there are plenty of guides around.
  • Horse and trap - there are plenty of these, I spoke to an American couple who tried and liked.
  • Basilica is pretty much a cathedral.
  • Don't drive in the centre of Rome - park away near a Metro or Train and ride in.
  • Disabled - it is tough getting about Rome in a wheelchair.
  • Get an App on your phone with a map to let you know where you are and where the sights are you are looking for (I used Rome Guide by Ulmon)

More images from the trip..

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