This is the second post in our When in Rome series.
Our first full day in Rome, we loosely followed the Heart of Rome walking tour suggested by Rick Steves, visiting the Trevi Fountain, Piazza Pietra, the Pantheon, Piazza Navona, and the Bruno Statue in Campo de’ Fiori. Steves is the travel expert on Europe seen on PBS. We found a copy of his travel book for Rome in our apartment, and off we went.
After our walking tour, we made our way back to our apartment by bus and metro rail during Friday evening’s rush hour—with all of Rome headed home for the weekend. We shared the travel space with many modern Romans: the beautiful young, the bent-over old, the shy, the overweening, and even a man goosing the ladies, overt in his actions and leering. One of the women in our group put him in his place when a seat became open next to him. Grinning with anticipation, he thought she would sit beside him, but she quickly ushered a frail, elderly man, who was standing in the aisle, to that empty seat. If looks could kill. Ruined the letch’s day. Quick thinking, that.
Back at the apartment on the plaza, our wives bought some snacks to bring up, and we settled into a repast of fries, olives, salami and cheese, and vino. We had eaten much pizza for lunch, and this rather light meal was a perfect delight.
Our next days included Vatican City, an attempt at entering St. Peter’s Basilica, and dinner with our friends at a taverna favored by a friend of mine back in California. Then, we would venture to the Colosseum, the Forum, and Palatine Hill, before our last day when we took a city bus tour stopping off to visit the Vittorio Emanuele II Monument at Piazza Venezia and finally hitting upon a better time to visit St. Peter’s Basilica.
Our visit to Vatican City included the museum and, of course, the Sistine Chapel (part of the museum tour route). We had planned to visit St. Peter’s Basilica later that day, a Saturday. As it worked out, we were attempting to enter the basilica around the time of Saturday evening mass. Avoid that if you can. We left after about forty-five minutes of wrestling with the crowd and went back a couple of days later, with far less people. Check for scheduled masses at St. Peter’s Basilica here.
Mixed in with all of our touring and picture taking were fantastic sidewalk cafés with great food. Chilled wines and cold draft beers. Seemed we just couldn’t go wrong when selecting a café. Of course they are more expensive near popular areas like the Vatican, but it’s not hard to find a good place to eat in Rome.
So very many more sights to see and history to explore. Make the most of your time there. We always seem to plan more than we should, but at least we have a plan.
Coming up next in this series: Lessons Learned in Rome