How would it feel if you get to know that the place for which you kept just one day was actually worth at least 3? This is what exactly I felt when I was in the middle of my day tour in Rome. This blog post of mine is exactly for the same reason, to tell you that you have to have more time in hand to feel the place. Although I did manage to see most of the beautiful places in Rome along with Vatican Museum tour in the same day I still have that itchy feeling which was refraining me from writing this well-deserved blog post since long. Anyways but I must say I still had a very delightful day clubbed with some humane experiences during my time in Rome.
So I reached at 6 in the morning via Flix bus from Venice and it was still little dark so I decided to the best thing at the time – have some cappuccino along with Bomboloni since it was my last day in Italy. Bomboloni is an Italian doughnut filled with lots of Nutella (Which was actually too much for my palate) and powdered sugar coating. Once it was brighter, I made my way to inquire about the day tours at the nearby metro station (Tiburtina). You can freshen up at this metro station for 1 euro and then can decide to opt for a day pass for unlimited rides to metro or can opt for hop-in hop-off double-decker buses which take you to all the sightseeing areas along with a guided audio tour.
Anyone who has less time in hand and wants to do a carefree tour should opt for these hop-in hop-off double-decker buses. I did the same thing in Paris and that was a good decision too. You get these buses near the central railway station – Termini. I took a metro ticket and it was not easy. I couldn’t get into the first metro, which came due to too much crowd of office rush hours. I almost felt like boarding metro at Rajiv Chowk, New Delhi 😀
So after boarding the bus from Termini, I went to the world famous Colosseum which is an oval amphitheatre in the centre of the city. It is the largest Amphitheater ever built during 70-80 AD. It is said to be able to accommodate 50 thousand to 80 thousand spectators. It is one of the most iconic buildings in Rome, standing tall since ages with earthquakes and overtime weathering. It still looks magnificent and is a living storyteller of the Roman empire.
Temple of Antoninus and Faustina:
Also, the temple of Antoninus and Faustina which is inside the Roman forum was dedicated to Antoninus and his wife Faustina but then got converted into a Roman Catholic church later. The Arch of Constantine is a triumphal arc, which is also very close to the Colosseum and worth a quick visit. Being naïve in architecture, I found it quite similar to Arc De Triumph of Paris.
Theatre of Marcellus and Circus Maximus:
I also saw Theatre of Marcellus while sitting on the bus, it is a semicircle in structure. Interestingly it is older than the Colosseum but its popularity declined with time after Colosseum and Circus Maximus were built which had better event and were capable of holding a bigger audience. Next, I got down at the next stop – Circo Massimo or Circus Maximus which is an ancient Roman chariot racing stadium in ancient Rome with a very big open area covered in grass and trees which looks perfect for a lazy afternoon book reading or for just enjoying the sun.
The bridge – Ponte Sant’Angelo over river Tiber that leads you to the Castel Sant’Angelo and eventually to St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City. Ponte Sant’Angelo was constructed in 134 AD for the pilgrims to reach the basilica. This bridge is a marvel of beauty and architecture. It has statues of 10 angels, which were sculpted by different artists. I wasn’t too interested in the Castel Sant’Angelo and was short on time too so I made my way straight to the Vatican City. Be careful when you cross roads in Rome in general, quite a lot of times traffic signals are not followed and a fast moving car can ram you.
On reaching the Vatican City you will see a lot of tour guides offering you ‘skip the line’ and ‘guided tour’ of the Sistine Chapel and Vatican museum. Don’t feel bad in bargaining since they try to overcharge. I paid 40 euros after bargaining from 50 euros for a guided tour of Vatican museum, Sistine Chapel and the basilica. I almost felt like bargaining for a Hindu ritual in Varanasi. 😛 😛
The guide was quite good and knowledgeable but at times I found him biased towards Christianity (which is quite natural to him I must say). But the annoying thing was he was referring to other religions in a quite disrespectful way. Looking at the number of instances I see now on social media of such sort, it looked quite a routine. Focusing on the interiors I had many Ahaa moments with beautiful sights, sculptures and painting. I will let the pictures do the talking for the interiors which I am sure is a treat to the eyes for art lovers.
Interestingly, there were two things, which I found little misfit and got no answers from the guide too. Two bronze peacock statues (I mean Peacocks are only found in the Indian subcontinent, why on earth there will be peacock statues inside the Vatican) and another big box like thing that had Indians painted on it. Let me know if anyone of you has the answers.
Few other clicks of the Vatican city:
It was already late afternoon so I decided to hop on the bus again to see Spanish steps. The Spanish Steps are a set of steps for climbing a steep slope between the Piazza di Spagna at the base and Piazza Trinità dei Monti. It was the most crowded place that I saw that day. It was difficult to click pictures too but I managed a few not-so-perfect shots. By now I was running short of time and hopped on the bus again just to see the monuments while sitting on the bus. Here are a few clicks:
I got down at the termini again and did some Souvenirs shopping; spotted a Gelati shop. While in Italy you ought to have one, right? So this shop was actually quite old, it was run by the third generation. It was in existence even before world war 2 and then resumed once everything was normal. A friendly chat with the owner and I got to know their legacy. One quick info – cafes in Italy have two prices for everything, one for taking away and one for sitting and eating.
I was so exhausted by now that I even couldn’t remember the metro station I have to go to 😀 But with some explanation, I got to know the name and was sorted for some time. But while chatting with some locals I was almost dead to know that Rome has two international airports and my air ticket had no mention of which one I have to go to. I was shit scared since I even had no Internet on my phone. Looking at my pale face same guys helped me in figuring that out too. So I got to know that all the flights going to Asia fly from Fiumicino. It is another town close to the sea which is at least a 40 mins metro ride from Termini so you should plan accordingly. With all this last minute information I just made it to the airport with a strange mixture of being silly and bit careless in a foreign land. It was an eventful day with so much to look at, explore and soak all I had were 12 hours.