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Published: September 29th 2007
Rome was the final destination on our Contiki tour. We travelled by coach from Florence, and arrived in Rome early evening. We headed into the city for a night tour of the Piazza Del Popolo, Via del Corso, the Spanish Steps, the Trevi Fountain and the Pantheon.
The next day was our last day on Contiki, and a busy day trying to see all the sights in Rome. We started with a guided tour of “Imperial Rome” - the Colosseum and the Roman Forum. Even by todays standards the Colosseum is a very large building - in its heyday it must have been incredible. Apart from its sheer size, it was also very cleverly designed to get people in and out as quickly as possible. Each of the 80 gates around its perimeter served a dedicated function and 76 of the 80 were for ordinary spectators. Each spectator gate led to a unique seating area so there could be no confusion or hold ups while entering the staduim.
The Roman Forum was a marketplace, meeting place, political cantre and religious centre all rolled into one. Most of the buildings and temples have been lost through the ages, but excavations
show the rough layout of the Forum and some buildings were preserved because they were converted to christian churches.
After the tour, everyone piled on a bus to the Vatican City. Being a Wednesday, the Pope was speaking in St Peter’s square and there were big crowds there to see and hear him. The Pope knows a few sentences in over 80 languages, so the crowd goes wild when he speaks to them. After seeing Benedict, we headed for the Vatican museum which contains the Sistine Chapel with the famous ceiling and wall painted by Michelangelo between 1508 and 1512. Before entering the chapel we were able to listen to a guide who explained in depth Michelangelo’s paintings, and the symbolism held within. After this we were keen to get to the chapel to see the real thing, but we didn’t realise the museums were so big! It took almost an hour to make our way from the the entrance to the chapel.
After visiting the Vatican it was time to go back to the hotel to get ready for our final Contiki dinner. We enjoyed a four course dinner at an Italian restaurant complete with Opera singing
between courses which was a fantastic experience. It was a great night out, but at the end it was time to say goodbye to everyone as they prepared to return home the next day.
We have just said "Arrivederci" to Italy, and are on our flight back to London.
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