I'd been to Italy once before, travelling and working around the Tuscany area, as well as Sardinia, but we never managed to get down to Rome at that point. For this trip, I'd been lucky enough to have an all-expenses paid trip, for a Project Management Training course, through work. As a bonus, I got to take Asia along!
- Population of just under 3 Million
- Makes it the 4th most populous city in Europe (within city limits)
- The city's history dates back up to 28 centuries!
We travelled through on the Friday afternoon to make the most of the weekend before my training began on Tuesday. We figured we'd have time to see quite bit over the 3 full days we had, but failed to account for the sheer size of the city, and also the intense heat. As such, we aimed way to high, and on Monday afternoon we eventually just crashed, and headed back to the hotel to sit by the pool and recuperate.
A quick break down of our weekend:
Friday - probably the most relaxing time we had while there - we took public transport through to the Colosseum, and walked from there all the way through the centre of the city, ending up in Vatican City. It was late afternoon by the time we started, so the worst of the heat had already passed.
Saturday - Churches. Just Churches. Hundreds of them. No, thousands! Or so it seemed, anyway. In truth, we saw maybe a dozen. They're all spectacular, none more so than St. Peter's basilica, but after 4 or 5, they do start to blur together.
It was on Saturday afternoon, dying from the heat, that we discovered what is probably the best Ice-Cream shop in the whole wide World. For the life of me the name eludes me, but it was somewhere in Quartiere III Pinciano (North East of the City centre) - All homemade, with an amazing variety of flavours - prefect for a hot summer afternoon. By the time we got back to the hotel in the evening though, we were exhausted.
Sunday - We started off at the Colosseum, getting there very early. As such, it wasn't too full when we got in, and was quite a nice relaxing walk around. Dating back to 72AD, it's the largest Amphitheatre in the world, and could seat up to 50,000 spectators. They have audio guides available in several languages, which guide you through from highlight to highlight. After, we walked through the Foro Romano, which is a Vast excavated area of Roman temples, squares & government buildings, some dating back 2,000 years.
Monday - We figured we'd leave the Vatican Museum for last, as it was potentially the highlight of the weekend. This turned out to be a bit of a mistake, as we never fully recovered from the previous day's exertions, and after waiting 1 1/2 hours in the queue (we were there very early, but so was the rest of the City) I was already ready to just give up. We did get into the Sistine Chapel at least - the Ceiling truly is something to behold - but couldn't see anything besides the ceiling as it's literally just a solid mass of people hiding the floor and walls!
Once we'd made it through the Chapel, we both realised there was no point in punishing ourselves any longer, and we caught the next tube back to the hotel, spending the afternoon sipping beers by the pool. Bliss.
My training started on Tuesday, but Asia continued to explore the City in her own time :)
Some of the other sites we saw during our travels include:
- Trevi Fountain
- Spanish Steps
- The Pantheon (Smaller than I thought it would be)
- Piazza Venezia
- Piazza Del Popolo
- Altar of the Fatherland