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September 26th 2016
Published: September 26th 2016
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300 km/h train ride300 km/h train ride300 km/h train ride

Dianne's camera has an anti-motion blur feature that eliminates the blurred effect, but I thought it was better this way.
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Travelling to Rome

Milan to Rome is no big deal once you figure out the Italian train system. As Canadians, we aren’t used to good train systems but theirs is pretty good. And fast. We noted the overhead sign showed we were going 300 km/h. The temperature showed 32°C which I thought was warm until I noted later it was up to 33°. Not a good sign.

Our good Italian friend, Eddy, picked us up and drove us to our apartment. It was good to get together again; it has been quite a while as the last time he and Marina were in Victoria we were off on one of Dianne’s teaching projects.


The apartment is just 1.1 km from the Coliseum and San Giovanni in Laterano Church. This is the Bishop of Rome’s church because St Peter’s isn’t in Rome, it’s in the Vatican.

Our host met us and gave
Home away in RomeHome away in RomeHome away in Rome

I think I was working on the blog when Dianne took this one that shows part of our neat apartment.
us the keys to the apartment and all the notes we needed to know to live there. Except one. There were three “sections” to the building and we failed to note which one we were in. We had a problem figuring out how to get out of the building and an even worse one when we came back. I noticed the stairs we were going up were straight instead of circular and Dianne spotted the ancient elevator was square instead of round. Back down and try again. All’s well that ends well. We unpacked and went out for a delicious dinner.

The traffic is as crazy as we remembered. Big cities are generally pretty noisy but our part of Rome was quiet after 11 and before 7. Once the road crew started work below our apartment it was time to go sightseeing.

Because we had been to Rome twice before, we tended not to go into museums etc. that we had seen before (and cost money) and just walked around looking at stuff. Our excellent location allowed us to walk just about everywhere in the “ancient” part of Rome.

We got caught a couple of times when
Getting up in the worldGetting up in the worldGetting up in the world

The elevator was a hoot. You had to put the bags in first. Then get in and lean over the bags so you could close the door.
the churches we wanted to visit were closed for the afternoon. Many museums were also closed so it was just as well we were avoiding them.

We had a fair amount of rain while we were in Rome but nothing we couldn’t handle. Luckily, one day we planned to go back to our apartment for lunch because it poured during lunch. After lunch it was fine for a walk to the Coliseum. It was a short sightseeing day as we were going to Eddy and Marina’s for supper. Marina is a great cook and we had lots of fun remembering our meeting in Victoria in 1998 when they came to practice their English.

We really found out how close everything is in ancient Rome when we headed out to Piazza Venezia. This is the building that some Romans think looks like a typewriter. As we were approaching it we saw a sign for San Pietro in Vincoli (St Peter in Chains). Here Michelangelo’s statue of Moses sits in front of the tomb of Julius II (think Charlton Heston and Rex Harrison). Because the churches are often closed from 1:00 to 5:00 (it varies) we were unable to get
Road worksRoad worksRoad works

Went on below our third floor suite the whole time we were there, but just during the day when we were mostly out.
in but sat in the portico in front to eat our lunch. Shady and not raining.

So back to the Piazza Venezia. But first we found the part of the Foro Romano that we had seen on our first visit so we had to take some more pictures.

As we climbed the hill to what we thought would be the Piazza Venezia we found we were in the Campidoglio, the “city hall’ area with plenty of museums. But at least now we could see the typewriter building.

But first, (or maybe second or third, I forget) we walked down 75 steps to the piazza and found we were at the bottom of the 122 steps leading up to Santa Maria in Aracoeli, a church I particularly wanted to visit. It was as nice as I remembered. Back down the steps and around the corner to see the front of the Piazza Venezia and all the steps leading up to it. I decided that, as much as I had wanted to go in to see any displays inside, I would be satisfied with viewing it from the piazza.

Another day saw another walk, this time to view
Refugee from a Star Wars movie?Refugee from a Star Wars movie?Refugee from a Star Wars movie?

This bizarre piece of equipment was on the street just outside our building.
the Pantheon. It was an ancient Roman temple that was converted to a Christian church and still operates as a parish church. It is still the world’s largest unreinforced concrete dome. We thought of attending Mass there but the crowds were so big it just wasn’t feasible. The crowds were orderly and moved thorough the church well but still… The good news was that the Tazza D’oro is right beside the Pantheon. This coffee bar was crowded with Asian tourists but we managed to have cappuccinos and granite in memory of our first visit in 1999. It was worth it and the crowd thinned out!

After visiting Pizza Navona, home of several famous fountains and a scene in the movie Catch-22, we ambled to, and along, the Tiber and had a picnic lunch by the building housing the Ara Pacis. It is an altar dedicated to Pax, the Goddess of Peace in Augustus Caesars’ time. It was free last time but over 10 euros this time. Rick Steve’s guide book says “cheapskates can view it through the window”. Say no more.

More walking took us to the Piazza del Popolo, the Borghese Gardens and the Spanish Steps, all

Happened mostly at night so it wasn't too big a deal.
things you can see for free. And worth seeing. The Spanish Steps are 135 steps linking the then Bourbon Spanish Embassy to a Church completed in the early 1700s.. They were closed the day we went by (Sept 17) and were scheduled to re-open Sept 21. Good timing. Any time you think of complaining about city works projects, read the Wikipedia article about their initial development in the 1600s and their many restorations.

The last thing on our bucket list was the Trevi Fountain (La Dolce Vita, Three Coins in the Fountain). The map said it wasn’t too far from where we were. But do you think we could find it? Up, down and around we went. Almost bailed but checked the map one more time. Arrrgh! What I been looking at on the map was the Trevi Metro station. Once I realized that, we found the fountain about 500 meters away from the station. The fountain was as beautiful as ever (says Dianne). But based on the crowds I am not sure I am happy we found it. We had to stop for expensive (we sat down) cappuccini to recover.

The walkabout ended when we decided to

I wish I had worked harder on my Latin back in high school. Lots of it here.
take the metro home. We had another dinner date with Eddy and Marina.. At least I now knew where the metro station was.

Last Day in Rome.

It wasn’t our original plan, but we ended up saving our visit to St Peter’s and the Vatican for the last day which happened to be a Sunday. As it turned out, it was a good choice, To be continued.

Additional photos below
Photos: 31, Displayed: 27



This was the taxi queue outside the train station. The lineups inside to buy tickets were just about as bad. Same as for car rentals.
Random ruinsRandom ruins
Random ruins

It's hard to go anywhere in the old city without passing something like this.
Built-in ruinsBuilt-in ruins
Built-in ruins

Often the ruins are part of "new" buildings.
St John LaternSt John Latern
St John Latern

Pretty important church in Rome.
Inside San Giovanni in LateranoInside San Giovanni in Laterano
Inside San Giovanni in Laterano

It's hard to imagine how they built these structures so many years ago.

Just sitting there in the middle of a bunch of roads. Notice the modern chariots.
Arch of ConstantineArch of Constantine
Arch of Constantine

Dedicated in 315 BC. These guys were early adopters of recycling. Many of the decorative sculptures were incorporated from other monuments of previous emperors.
Modern TimesModern Times
Modern Times

They are putting in a new Metro line which is difficult because any time you put a shovel in the ground you hit antiquities. Here they had to reinforce some existing Roman columns to keep them from falling over during construction.
Roman forumRoman forum
Roman forum

Actually there were a bunch of forums built by different emperors but all near each other giving the impression of one big forum
Foro RomanoForo Romano
Foro Romano

Another view
Building on the piazza of the CampidoglioBuilding on the piazza of the Campidoglio
Building on the piazza of the Campidoglio

But I forget which one it is

This statue of Marcus Aurelius is my favourite feature of this part of Rome. I believe this is a copy of the real thing but you have to go into a museum to see it. The copy is pretty impressive.
Santa Maria in AracoeliSanta Maria in Aracoeli
Santa Maria in Aracoeli

You really have to want to go to this church. Apparently this guy didn't but we did!
Just a random building in RomeJust a random building in Rome
Just a random building in Rome

I love these curved buildings. And it wasn't a church or a museum.

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