I’m back in Croatia tonight, sitting on the balcony of a b&b in Cavtat, watching the sun sink towards the Adriatic Sea. And I finally have the time and energy and mental space (and wifi) to write about our Italian adventure. I’ll separate the posts by city rather than by day. I suspect that it will take me a while to work through the backlog of stories and photos that I’ve accumulated, but I have to start somewhere!
When I left off, we’d just finished a full day of Roman tourism. And what a day it was!
One thing worth noting is that as soon as we arrived in Rome we bought Roma Passes for both of us. They cost €34/each, but ended up being well worth the expense. They provide unlimited use of public transportation (buses and metro), as well as free entry to your choice of two of the listed attractions and discounted entry at the rest. More importantly, Roma Pass holders skip the line at major attractions, which made visiting the Colosseum and Palatine Hill significantly less stressful!
We actually did a bit of wandering around the night we arrived, including a quick walk past the Colosseum, and a visit to the train station to get Alex’s SIM card. We also had dinner there at the self-service cafe, where the food was unspectacular but good.
Sunday the 19th was our big Rome touring day, and the weather cooperated in a spectacular way. We had temperatures in the 60s, and blue skies dotted with white clouds. (And thank goodness for Foursquare, because without my checkin history to refer to I’d never be able to remember all the place we visited!)
We used a slightly modified version of the “Rome in One Day” itinerary from Frommer’s Online, and began with a bus from our flat (which was very conveniently located on several major bus lines) to near the Piazza del Campidoglio. From there we worked our way along the Imperial Forums to the Colosseum, and used our Roma Pass to walk right in–skipping the line of hundreds of people waiting to enter. (Score one for my pre-trip planning process!). After the Colosseum, we walked past the Arch of Constantine and over to Palatine Hill, where we once again used our pass to skip the line.
We then took the bus back towards the Pantheon, and stopped at a restaurant on a side street for lunch. The food wasn’t bad, but the accordion players who kept stopping by our table were awful :/
From there we visited the Pantheon, then walked to the Ponte Cavour over the Tibur River, and from there to the Spanish Steps and then the Trevi Fountain–both of which were insanely crowded. We did climb the steps, though. At the top we found a number of artists selling their sketches, mostly portraits that they do while you wait. For reasons we did not understand, the majority of them use Nick Cage as one of their sample sketches.
Then we headed back to the Pantheon neighborhood, where we took a break to have an excellent cup of coffee at Sant’Eustachio il Caffè. From there we wandered the Piazza Navona for a bit, and finally sat down and had dinner at an overpriced restaurant on the square before heading back to our flat to crash. All in all, it was a pretty great day.