For our 10th Wedding Anniversary we decided to book a short break in Rome. We caught the 6:10am flight from Stanstead Airport bound for Rome, which meant an early wake-up call 3am !!! Much too early – what we put ourselves though just for a Ryan Air cheap £1.99 return flight each !!
We arrived in Rome at 9:30am local time and managed to catch a train to the city centre straight away. Our Hotel Ducale was very close to the station just a 15 minute walk.
Our room was on the ground floor and has an en-suite shower, mini-bar and wonderful air-conditioning!! There is also a door which leads directly out to the garden patio where a continental breakfast is served.
It was our base for our 2 night, 3 day stay in the Eternal City.
After we’d checked in we relaxed on the patio with a coffee – a cappuccino for Graham and Café Laté for me.
Day 1: Roman Rome
When in Rome ….. visit the Roman sites first! That was our idea anyway. We orientated ourselves with a city map and walked to the Colosseum
Il Colosseo (The Colosseum)
We approached the Colosseum from the South East and joined the queues to enter – deciding to go on a guided tour. Outside there were men dressed as Romans who were looking to advertise their tour – we had our picture taken with them but chose a tour which did both the Colosseum and Forum (Il Foro).
The guided tour which turned out to be well worth it. The guide made it all come alive especially the forum section that would have otherwise just looked like a lump of rocks!
Il Foro (The Forum)
Leaving the Colosseum we followed the guide along through the Great Square towards the Forum passing the Arch of Titus.
Palatino (The Palatine)
After the tour we climbed the Palatino, a hill reckoned to be the origin of Rome to take in the ancient ruins.
Circo Massimo ecc (Circus Maximus etc)
Colosseo e il Foro di notte (Colosseum and Forum at night)
We decided to return to the Colosseum area for our evening meal and took in the splendour of the ruins at night.
Day 2 – The Vatican
The second day dawned and we made our way on the underground towards the Vatican. It was certainly impressive.
We started off going to the museum, with the aim of visiting the Sistine Chapel, but on route we discovered a museum of Egyptian Artifacts made more interesting by the audio guides we’d hired.
Courtyards and Views
As we moved from museum to museum we passed through some spectacular courtyards.
We then moved on to the Vatican Museum, which leads to the Sistine Chapel – unfortunately photos are banned in the Chapel itself – but not in the approaching corridors.
Basilica Di San Pietro (St Peter’s Basilica)
Exiting the museum we walked around to St Peter’s Basilica, where we bumped into an American student who offered us us a tour. There was no payment but if we wanted to donate then we could. Hence we had a good tour of the basilica for a reasonable amount.
Piazza Di Spagna (Spanish Steps)
We headed back into Rome (The Vatican is a separate country – the smallest in the world – completely surrounded by Rome) and headed off to The Spanish Steps. We sat for a while at the steps along with hundreds of others watching the sunset. Alongside the steps is a building associated with the British Poets – Shelley and Keats. At the top of the steps Anita posed for one of many street artists who drew her portrait. We don’t think it was a particularly good likeness. Do you agree?
Day 3 – Renaissance Rome
For our third and final day we decided to follow one of the recommended walks from our guide book. It was great to see the sculptures and Roman architecture around
Piazza Del Popolo (Popolo Square)
At Villa Borghese we hired a pedal car and toured the grounds viewing all the follies and fountains.
Leonardo Da Vinci
Piazza di Spagna e Fontana di Trevi (Spanish Steps and Trevi Fountain)
We returned to the Spanish Steps on route to the Trevi Fountain – we were quite surprised that the large fountain was in such a small square. We also grabbed an ice cream at a roadside cafe.
Castel Sant’ Angelo (St Angelo’s Castle)
Our final destination took us along the River to Castel Sant’ Angelo. This was reasonably impressive, it made good use of time with another great view of Rome and the places we had already visited.
All too soon the hours had flown and it was time for us to fly too. We returned to the hotel and picked up our things before heading to the airport.