Our Copper Wedding Anniversary - Rome, Italy
On 20th - 24th November we were in Rome, Italy. John and I had our Copper Wedding Anniversary (12½ years married) on the 21st of November and instead of having a great party with lots of friends we had decided to go away for a few days instead. Very romantic J
John had never been to Rome and it was 20 year ago that I was there last time. My mother had promised to look after the boys. I had made out a week plan for her so she was able to get into our daily routines. John and Axel picked her up at the airport Sunday evening and Monday morning John and I were off.
Everything went well and we arrived in Rome as scheduled. We hadn’t planned anything ahead not even how to get from the airport to our hotel. As we were landing we decided to try for the express train to the city centre. But as we got to the train terminal and asked at the information desk they offered us to go with a shuttle bus instead. And so we decided for that as we didn’t know how to get from the main train station in Rome to our hotel, San Remo. It turned out that our hotel was just 5 minutes away from the main train station and it would had been cheaper to go by the express train that goes non stop from the airport to the main train station in Rome.
We checked into our hotel and straight away we left again as we wanted to check out the area and get a beer and a snack. At first we had decided to go and see the Vatican the next day but then we spotted the sightseeing buses. We remembered our recent trip to Edinburgh where we took the sightseeing bus the last day and learned that it was best to start with the bus and then decide what to see, it that was the obvious thing to do.
There were some lovely restaurants in the area around the hotel so it would be very easy to pick one for dinner later. Back in Our hotel we unpacked. The hotel had many rooms but only a breakfast restaurant. Our room no was 516 on the 5th floor. It was a nice clean hotel nothing fancy.
We had our dinner at one of the many local restaurants. The weal was lovely and the wine too. We had a Rosso di Montalcino – an almost Brunello.
The next morning we were anxious about breakfast. We still remembered what breakfast was like five years earlier, when we were in Sicily for John’s 40th birthday. But it was great even though my tea was cold.
As we had decided we took the sightseeing bus at about 9 o’clock. Our first stop was the Coliseum. Just as we got of the bus we got a guided tour of the place. The Coliseum is about 2000 years old and was able to hold up to 75.000 people at one time. It was originally built I four floors but not much is left.
The statues are Aphrodite, Hermes and the Trojan Horse.
After the Coliseum we went past Arco di Constantino which was built 3 years after Canstantinos victory over Maxentius in the famous battle at Monte Milvio in 312 – a victory that also has been called the victory for Christianity over the Roman Empire.
We went though the Arco di Tito to get to Palatino where the history of the western world began. It is said that Romolus build his Roma Quadrata here. Excavations have later shown that Palatino was inhabited in the year 753 B.C. And even in the Bronze Age.
We went on to Pizzia Venezia where we saw the tomb of the Unknown Soldier. There were very strict rules as this is a sacred place for all Italians.
The white part on the map shows the Roman Empire at its greatest.
Then a quick walk back to the bus and head for the Vatican and St. Peter’s Church. But before we went in we had a lovely pizza and great Chianti Classico to go with it.
After we had crossed St. Peters Square we went though security an in to the tombs of all the popes before we went into St. Peters Church. The amount of marble in the church is amazing and all the statues, paintings and ornaments make it an incredible experience.
At St. Peters Square they were preparing for a mass the next day. Before we got on the bus again it was time to enjoy the lovely sun.
Back in the bus we headed for the Fontana di Trevi passing the Castel Sant Angelo. Fontana di Trevi is built in 1751 and is a marble sculpture of the sea god Oceanus riding his sea horses though the water masses. As a tourist you are supposed to throw a coin in to the fountain if you want to see Rome again. Over 1 million DKK a year is thrown in to the fountain. The film instructor Frederic Fellini recorded the key scene for La dolce vita in 1959 here.
By now we were very tired and wanted to get back to our hotel and rest before we went out for another lovely dinner – our Copper Wedding Anniversary dinner.
The next day we had planned to try out the Metro in order to get to Piazza di Popolo. We past it yesterday on the bus but went so fast past it that we wanted to go back again. Getting on the Metro was easy. It was great that John had bought his GPS with otherwise we would have had a difficult time finding the Piazza di Popolo where you find not less than three churches. Just before the heavy rain started we had gone into one of Rome’s historical cafés Canova. The obelix in the centre of Piazza di Popolo is from Egypt. It used to stand in the Circus Maximus with a similar obelix that is now in St. Peters Square. Unfortunately it was being repaired and was covered with scaffolding.
From Piazza di Popolo we walked on to Piazza di Spagna with the Spanish stairs. It was still raining and we tried to keep out it out side the first tea house in Rome – Babington’s. Since we were there we had to walk up all the stairs and down again before we went on to the Fontana di Trevi because we hadn’t thrown in a coin yester day and we wanted to be sure that we would come back again some day. We were hoping to get our lunch in Il Chainti but it was closed when we got there so we headed back for our hotel safely guided by the GPS. On our way back we stopped for a pizza.
We had our dinner at restaurant Zeus in via Nazionale – no microwave as the doorman said. It was a lovely meal – the best so far. In our search for the restaurant we had passed an Irish pub so of course we had to go for a pint of Guinness before we headed back to our hotel.
Thursday – the last day of our touring – was great. We had lovely sunshine from early on. It was a great day with 15 °C. We got on the Metro to go back to the Vatican. We had missed the Vatican Museum and the Sistine Chapel when we were there last time. There was a very long queue to get in but it didn’t take long before we got in through security and got our tickets at 12 Euro each.
inside we had a look at some of the lovely Vatican garden before we went to
another garden called Cortile della Pigna after the huge pine cone in bronze.
We then went on to the Cortile Ottagono – the octagonal yard – with a huge bath tub in marble and marble statues.
Through the door we got into the Sala degli Animali – with a lot of animal statues, Galleria delle Statue, Gallarie del Busti and Gabinetto delle Maschere.
Though several rooms – one more astonishing than the other we then came in to the Sala Rotonda with a huge porphyry bowl from the Emperor Nero’s Golden House. The floor was mosaic from a villa in Otricoli and there was a huge golden statue of Hercules found at the theatre of Pompeii.
Just outside the Sala Rotonda in the Sala a Croce Greca two Egyptian statues were guarding the room. The mummy is an Egyptian woman and the statues are Antonio – Osiris and the god Anubis.
Through the 80 meter long Galleria dei Candelabri we got to the Galleria degli Arazzi – the room with goblins showing the life of Jesus and Roman goblins from the 1600 century. Then we went on to the 120 meter long room Galleria delle Carte Geografiche with paintings of maps of Italian areas and cities.
There are so many rooms to see before you finally get to the Sistine Chapel but we weren’t allowed to take any photos. The paintings of Michelangelo are fantastic. John got out his mobile and took a photo – even though. Now we headed for the exit. It was a long way away and we saw a lot more before we got to the Vatican post office where John got a postcard for Maisie. Then it was time for lunch.
Should you ever get to the Vatican be sure to spend at least two hours in the museum and the Sistine Chapel! Have a break for lunch and then on to the St. Peters Square and the Church.