Sunday 2nd September (Father’s Day)
Temperature 26°- some rain
We headed off down Appia Antica to catch the No 118 bus to Pyramide then train to Termini and No 40 bus to St Peter’s Square. We walked around St Peter’s Square along with many other tourists and to our surprise, the Pope was televised into the square. From the flag waving from the audience, it looked like he may have been in Portugal. Who knows? We queued to enter the Basilica and it is an enormous building complete with frescoes, marble and gold. I was really keen to see the Pieta (means “piety”) which was Michaelangelo’s first large scale sculptural work 1498-1499. It was created out of one piece of Carrara marble and has been displayed in the Basilica for five centuries.
As we left St Peter’s Square, the rain started – enough to buy umbrellas which were used on and off throughout the day. We walked to Castel Sant’Angelo. This was once the Pope’s residence and was joined to the Vatican by an 800 metre fully enclosed tunnel. It was also a fortress - mausoleum and now a museum of many paintings of several previous Pope’s through the century.
From there back on the No 40 bus to Termini.
Although the weather was a bit dodgy, we decided to take a 2 hour open top bus ride around the city because we knew there would be many things that we just couldn’t get to see other then to pass by and it also gives a further incite into the layout and history of the city. We stayed on the bus and passed many notable buildings, monuments, sculptures and piazza’s. Aventine Hill also overlooked Circo Massimo (Circus Maximus) This was where the chariot races were held with audiences of about 300,000 – a popluar sports of the ancient Romans. The Vittorio Emanuele II Monument is very impressive and can be seen from many areas around Rome. We crossed the Tiber river and passed the Villa Borghesi Parioli.
By the time we returned to Termini to train/ bus/ walk home we arrived a bit weary but then got in the car and back to the supermarket for more supplies for dinner and breakfast,
Time to download/sort photos – check emails (thanks for the Father’s Day wishes guys) and then bed.
Monday 3rd September.
We awoke early during the night to torrential rain and wondered what the day would hold. After a good sleep and breakfast, it was time to set off again. This time armed with umbrellas although the skies were blue. First stop – Trevi Fountain followed by Pantheon and Piazza Navona en route to the Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel. You could really spend many hours in this amazing museum with exhibits dating back to early Egyptian times. The large hall of sculptures was also amazing but time didn’t allow for us to spend all day. The heavens did open and we had heavy rain for about 20 minutes but we were inside the museum so were not drenched. We had a quick lunch at 3pm then off the find the No 90 bus to the Australian Embassy to collect our passports before 4.30pm. We arrived at 4.15pm, passports in hand and back on the bus by 4.30pm. We’d decided we’d done enough for the day and resolved that we won’t see as much as we’d hoped. Unfortunately for the Galleria Borghese was not open today and we need appointments for that museum.
Home for dinner and some forward bookings beyond the next 8 days. Internet limited for the next few days in Tuscany.
We want to return to Piazza Navona and go into the Pantheon tomorrow (We really raced past it today) then the Catacombe di San Callisto. Late lunch then off to Tivoli about 30 kms out of Rome. We’re told that we must be there at night time with the lights on all the fountains. That’s the plan. Hopefully the tripod will come out and I might get some nice pics.
At one stage today we were reminded of the 3 days we had in Paris in 2010. (10-12 hour days away from home) Our feet are holding up well and we’re grateful for good health albeit aging and Graham feeling a bit ‘pushed’. Totally exhausted at the end of the day – no time for nanna naps here!