First thing this morning we visited the Crypt of the Cappucin Friars. It was a short visit (and no photos were allowed) , but was pretty neat. The site is the burial ground of 4,000 Cappucins, whose bones have been displayed in decorative fashion (best way to describe it). After returning from the crypt we purchased our bus tickets for the trip to Siena, and visited an Italian gun store – couldn’t help myself they had a big Beretta sign out front. After a quick bite to eat and stop back at the room, the day really began.
We left the room a little after twelve and headed for the Castel San’t Angelo. It sits right on the Tiber River and was originally the mausoleum for the emperor Hadrian, but later served as a fortress for the Popes. We tried to see as much as we could in an hour or so, but had to hurry because we had scheduled our entry to the Vatican Museum, The Sistine Chapel, and St. Peter’s Basilica for 15:00.
If I had to use one word I would say “Overwhelming”. While there were definitely many interesting artifacts in the Vatican museum, the Sistine Chapel and St. Peter’s were amazing. The pictures we had seen of the ceiling really didn’t do it justice, and St. Peter’s is just too much. The place is huge, and every inch of it is ornately decorated. Michelangelo’s Pieta is also on display there, and it was very cool to see in person.
Neither of these posts really do a good job of describing the days – there’s just not enough time right now. We managed to cram an incredible amount into 2 very full days. Rome was a little interesting to navigate (no map is good, and no street is straight) so we saw a little more of the city than we had anticipated. It’s now 22:30 Thursday night, and we will be on a bus to Siena at 10:40 tomorrow morning. We have to clean up and pack…
Day 5 – Rome. We are kind of short on time for posting because we have been running around like crazy for the majority of the past 40 hours or so. Day 5 was a blur that began with arrival at the Colosseum and Arch of Constantine at around 8:30 AM. This day ended up including (in no particular order): Arch of Constantine, Colosseum (with tour of the basement and upper level), Palatine Hill, Roman Forum, Pantheon, Trevi Fountain, Spanish Steps, Piazza(s) Navona, di Spagna, Fonatana di Trevi, Venezia, Campo di Fiori, Campodiglio, Colonna, di Pietra, del Quirinale, and others I am not remembering right this second – this post will need amending at a later time. For now, we are going to post pictures of some of the above.
Day 4 – another travel day. We packed up last night, got up early and headed to the train station. Sadly, Bar Tavernusa was not open this morning for the awesome pastries we had gotten the previous 2 days – so we tried another place and they were still pretty good. We managed to catch the 8:26 Circumvesuviana train toward Naples. It was a much different experience this morning with the school and work travel than it was mid afternoon over the weekend.
Instead of taking the train straight through to Naples, we decided to stop and tour Pompeii en route. We arrived at Pompeii a few minutes after nine and ended up following a self-guided tour, with some modifications, from one of our guidebooks. Melissa was interested in the ruins, but also very much enjoyed her own personal stray dog safari. Seriously though, Pompeii was very cool. It’s amazing how well preserved things are, and some of the technology that they utilized almost 2000 years ago is amazing. It was a good thing we got there early, because by the time we headed out around noon the place was crawling with huge tour groups.
After leaving Pompeii it was back on the train to Naples. We made a small error in train stops and ended up having to walk through Naples a bit, but it only amounted to a ten minute detour that ultimately had no effect on our catching our train to Rome. We did encounter some gypsies in the Naples train station who were all too willing to assist us in getting our tickets. Apparently my Italian is crappy, but my facial expressions cross language barriers and I managed to shoe them away pretty quickly. We ended up taking the 14:31 train out of Naples to Termini station in Rome. I have had enough of trains for the time being, so we’re working on maybe doing a bus for our next travel day. Our train arrived at Termini station pretty much right on time, around 17:10.
A short walk and a little frustration with a poor map, and we were at the Hotel Aberdeen before 6pm. We walked around a bit trying to find a Roma Pass, but apparently all of Rome is out of them. We were told this at the airport, but thought we would check a few of the small vendors anyway (As I post this from the little Wi-FI area, Melissa is on the phone in the room trying to work some things out).
Tomorrow it’s up early again and off to the Colosseum in the morning. We will probably also try to hit the Spanish Steps and the Trevi fountain.