Published: March 16th 2011March 16th 2011
22.2.2011 - Rome - St Peters Church
Baldaquin with Chair of St Peter behind it
Monday 21st February 2011.
Had good intentions but ended up calling it a rest day. Tom fixed the fridge door while the girls went grocery shopping across the road from the campsite and the day just disappeared.
Tuesday 22nd February 2011.
Megan stayed home and Tom and I went into Rome.
We wanted to see St Peters Basilica and to have a look at Travestere, the 'heart of Rome', a quarter which is rich in old churches and buildings, and to get an sense of the old city.
So into St. Peter's we go. We opted for a guided tour to get as much information and be able to ask questions rather than just wander around on our own. The tour was in English. We had 45 minutes to kill until the tour, so we went down into the catacombs to see where all the previous popes are burried and then into the Basilica to look around to absorb it . Lucky for us there were only 6 people on the tour. It was certainly massive. The guide told us that the paintings that used to be in the building had been removed due to the moisture in
22.2.2011 - Rome - St Peters Church
The Baldaquin - created by Bernini - the detail in the bronze work is incredible. The bronze was taken from the Pantheon and used in this sculpture
the building. They have been replaced by moziacs made of very small tiles, in fact there are 50,000 plus in some mozaiacs. The craftmanship in the baldaquin by Bernini was incredible.
Had some lunch and then found the oldest church in Rome - 'Santa Maria in Trastevere'. There were people setting up for a concert , and they said that it started at 3pm, so we walked around for an hour to kill time and then went back. They then told us it would not start until 4pm. We didn't want to wait another hour, so we headed off and went to the Isola Tiberina (the island on the Tiber) where two bridges join the island to the rest of the city. Further along we came to the Round Temple. It was built in the 2nd century BC and is the oldest Roman temple built of marble that exists today. Across the road is the church of 'Saint Mary in Cosmedin' with its romanesque bell tower. This church stands on the ruins of a Temple to Hercules, which are visible in the crypt of the church. Inside the portico of
the church it has a marble mask called the 'Bocca
22.2.2011 - Rome - St Peter's Church
Looking down the central nave of the church.
della Verita' (Mouth of Truth): according to legend, a liar who puts his hand in the mouth will have it bitten off, so of course we had to have a try. Whew, my hand still is attached !!! Tom says it didn't bitefor us, so we don't tell lies. Hello...... :-)
Off again, to walk down the length of Circus Maximus - which was once used for the chariot races. It runs along the base of Palatine Hill and is 664 metres long and 123 metres wide. It accommodated 150,000 spectators and with later additions it held 250,000 spectators.
Exhausted after a long day, we headed home.
Wednesday 23rd February 2011.
We all went into town to see inside the Pantheon. Some of Italy's most famous kings and artists are buried here - one artist being Raphael. The construction and design of the building is interesting. It is 43.4 metres in height and diameter.
As we wandered along we ended up in the bespoke tailoring area of Rome and Megan spies an outfit in one of the windows. It was a piece done for the World Expo in China - so was a one-off - it suited her
- so she decided to buy it. It needed some alterations, it would be ready tomorrow afternoon to collect. After that, Megan was high as a kite, we went to see the Piazza di Spagna and the Spanish Steps, with the Fountain of the Barcaccia at the bottom.
We were ready to head home, but being hungry, we got some Pizza slices and sat in the Piazza in the sun.
Thursday 24th February 2011.
Internet not working, and so it needed to be fixed as well as lots of postage for Megan and had to collect Megans outfit from the tailor. So Tom and Megan head out . The postage was a nightmare but got done, and then into town. It took another hour for the tailor to check the fitting and Megan to do the tax rebate paperwork. By this time it was getting dark, so the internet didn't get done. Home at 7pm, dinner was ready and waiting as I had stayed home. It was a long day for Tom and Megan, but worth it.
Friday 25th February 2011.
Rome - Pisa.
Up and leave Rome and head off to a beautiful campsite on the
beach just out of Pisa - photos on the net look very inviting, which was great as not many campsites open at this time of the year - you have to really search them out. The campsite being 'Camping Pineta'.
Well, when we got there, it was open and only 750 metres from the beach, but next to a construction site and derelect buildings. It is mostly permanent residents and a short strip of dirt for caravans and motorhomes.
The campsite is at the end of a development strip of about 20kms, so as you get closer to Pisa, it becomes more touristy, and then along the river it is km after km of boat storage. We found this all out the next day.
The drive there was easy enough and the owner has a daughter in Sydney who is a forensic scientist. The owner spoke a little English - and directed us to our campsite pitch. Again, low amp circuit breaker - only 2 amps, so we could only have one main item on at a time - ie heater or kettle or microwave. We weren't even going to attempt to put on the toaster.
Megan made dinner tonight
- a wonderful tuna pasta - then relax time - Gaye and Megan watched a movie on the computer and Tom read his book.
Saturday 26th February 2011
Into Pisa. All Megan wanted was a photo of her and the Tower of Pisa - the usual photos holding it up and pushing it over. Tom chatted to a young couple from Manchester who are on a bike tour. Each bike had about 40kg of gear and food - they are thinking of cycling around the world. They talked for about 45mins while Megan and I did the photos and walked around the site. Great sunny day - very fortunate.
After that we walked some more around Pisa and the took the bus home.
Sunday 27th February 2011.
Pisa - Venice
It's raining. On the road at 10am to Venice. All good then we start to climb towards Bologna and the electronic road signs say Neve (snow) ahead - sure enough we are driving in the snow. Gaye nervous if the motorhome will handle OK on the road - Megan is excited - Tom wary as this is a front wheel drive with way too much load past
the rear wheels - more snow to come as it is only 11am and we are still climbing and going north. The snow did get heavier but after a while we started to descend and it cleared up.
We arrived in Venice province and went looking for campsites - they were closed. The internet key was not working and therefore we could not look up any, so in the end we rang the hotel that we had pre-booked with and they could fit us in for extra nights. They had a double room and a single room free for the next 2 nights.
We ended up having chinese take-away for dinner.
The hotel is 3 star - 'Club Hotel, Mestre' - but it did not have internet, no room service, no pay TV, no subtitle access on the TV, no laundry service (this was all supposed to be available according to the internet and the information sent to us in March last year). We rated it down to at least 2 star. However, the staff were wonderful and very helpful - couldn't fault them in any way. They went out of their way to assist us.
There are more photos below