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Published: October 19th 2013
Rome (Roma in Italian) Italy 13th and 14th
We arrived in Rome at about 5.30pm, finding a campsite (Happy Village & Camping) 12 kms north of the city centre. They advertised a shuttle but to the metro so that was good enough for us. It was a well equipped camp site but noticeably quiet. Many of these camp sites will close by early November but with some staying open until the New Year and then closing for winter. The weather was clear and temperature about 20 degrees.
With so many world class monuments, galleries and museums and with the size of the city to accommodate about 2.8 million people, it’s always difficult to decide on a plan-of-attack to see the city. We visited Rome on our trip in 2002 so decided that we weren’t going to visit the Vatican again this trip.
After settling into the camp site on the night of 13/10, we went up to the bar to have a beer. This is always a good way to catch some ‘local goss’ and best things to do and see. We met an English couple who were interesting to talk to.
The next morning, we
caught the Camp Sites 9.30am shuttle bus to the train station with 2 other couples – one from California and the other from Denmark – both of whom we caught up with at the end of the day. After a 20 minute journey in the train we got off that and walked 100m to the Metro and caught a metro train to the Spanish Steps (which we saw in 2002) which was only one station away. We then walked and saw the following:
· Trevi Fountain
· Colonna di Marco Aurelio
· Pantheon which we went inside. There was a bride and groom having photos taken
· Plazza Navona (had coffee)
· All the ruins in the Roman Forum – all the footings of these buildings are about 5 metres lower than the surrounding streets as the streets have risen over the 100s of years
· Basilica di San Marco which we went inside. It has a museum and we went into the 1st
2 rooms but we had decided not to “do” any museums in Rome this time. There were 1000s of people in the Basilica.
· Had fruit for lunch as
we were all pasta and pizzaed-out!!!! Tried a very sweet fruit from Egypt – forgot the name of it!!
· Walked around the Colosseum – didn’t go in this trip as we went in last time. I ran around the stadium in 2002.
· Kept walking SE to the Obelisk and Basilica of San Giovanni and caught a bus to the Catacombs of San Domitilla. There are 64 different catacombs in Rome, all dating back to the 1st
century AD. Rome’s persecuted Christian community built and extensive network of communal subterranean burial grounds outside the city walls. As there was a shortage of space, there is often 4 floors deep ie 30 metres. Our guide took us down 2 floors, starting at the underground church.
The San Domitilla Catacombs are the largest and amongst the oldest in Rome and stretch 17km. The wealthy Christians had marble closures and the poor had terracotta. The bodies weren’t embalmed of wrapped, but simply placed in the dugout and the opening covered up. We went into a number of family tombs where there were 15 or more graves. Most of the remains have been removed and placed elsewhere. Pope Gregory 1
abolished the sale of graves in Ad597 as the trade in tomb real estate had developed and was becoming very cut-throat!! However, Christians had abandoned using the catacombs as early as 313.
· Caught the Metro then train then shuttle bus back to the Park by about 6.00pm, being satisfied with our experiences and sites of the day.
We were off to Naples the next day, and area which is new to us.
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