Thursday, 1 November 2012

A City Break to Rome!

Rome was not Traversed in a Day!

My wonderful husband Andy and I at long last managed our planned city break to Rome.  The trip was supposed to be a celebration of his 50th Birthday in March and our 20th Wedding Anniversary in April, but due to family commitments and much more, the trip was delayed and eventually we got to go in October and a wonderful trip it was too, full of sight seeing, walking, sore feet and eating and drinking wonderful fare.

We stayed in a little family run hotel in Rome The Kennedy Hotel which was just perfect for our needs.  Small and friendly, we had a little double room with fabulous views over a pretty plaza and some Roman ruins, this is the view from our window.

What could be more pleasing to wake up to in the morning!

We were very well located, just around the corner from the termini, trains, metro, buses and trams, so links to anywhere we wanted to go, but in fact we only used it once, as we preferred to walk everywhere, to which my tender feet can testify, but the beautiful architecture and fabulous views more than compensated, plus of course the many cafes and restaurants, with their wonderful coffee and delicious pasta dishes, made extremely welcome resting spots.

In fact after the first day of very sore feet, I discovered that a glass of white wine and an espresso with lunch, made the ache more bearable! Well that's my excuse and I'm sticking to it!

Hubby on the other hand had an occasional beer!

This beverage came in various sizes, Andy made the mistake the first evening in asking for a large beer, which I can only describe as being served in a vase, I think it was a full litre!!!!  Took all his strength to lift the glass / vase!

We had been for a long evening walk around the area surrounding our hotel, just to get our bearings and picked our some venues to visit during the day light hours, the only problem being, this did in for my feet before our first full day, however, I did discover a fabulous use for the bidet in our bathroom, it made a wonderful foot spa, much to the amusement of my husband!

Day One!

The next day was our first full day in Rome, and we planned to walk in a meandering way to the Colloseum, our route took us past some wonderful churches, beautiful narrow little streets and opened into this wonderful archaeological site where we saw this amazing column, Trajan's column which was erected in 113 AD in honour of emperor Trajan. 
 The column commemorates his victories in Dacia (now Romania).  
The column is located at Trajan's forum - part of the Imperial Forumns at the Via dei Fori Imperiali, right next to the Piazza Venezia.  

Trajan's Market, a large complex of warehouses, shops and offices where the Romans would gather to purchase goods and conduct business, was built between 107 and 110 AD by the Emperor Trajan's favourite architect, Apollodorus of Damascus. 

Whilst we we standing in awe and looking at these wonderful buildings, a little Roman Gentleman came over and chatted to us about the area and its history and of his own history living in Rome during many decades, he was a font of information and very scathing of some other nations, which I won't divulge, I think he was just happy to have someone to chat to and as we up and about early, he had a captive audience.

The Flavian Amphitheatre

We eventually wandered down to the vast area that houses the Colloseum, but prior to joining the throngs now starting to build, we stopped and had a fortifying espresso and latte for my hubby, he's such a coffee light weight. LOL!

A touch of history for you!

Emperor Vespasian, founder of the Flavian Dynasty, started construction of the Colosseum in 72 AD. It was completed in 80 AD, the year after Vespasian's death.

We spent over two hours in the Colloseum alone, there was just so much to explore and many, many, many steps to climb!

Before we decided to explore the Palentine Gardens, we wandered back to our friendly restaurant and had some gorgeous pasta, and yes you guessed it, more yummy coffee!

History time again!

The Emperors and aristocrats of ancient Rome lived on the Palatine Hill, right back to the first century BC.  

Just in front of the Palentine gardens and beside the Collesum is the Arch of Constantine.  After years of civil war, the victory of Constantine's army over the numerically superior army of Maxentius, at the Battle of Milvian Bridge in 312 AD brought some peace to the Roman empire.
To commemorate this victory, the Senate of Rome awarded Constantine a Triumphal arch. It was dedicated just a few years later, in 315 AD.

You can see some of the Palentine gardens behind.

And here is a view showing some of the catacombs too.

Following a full day of exploring these wonderful sites, we wandered back to our hotel, by a more direct route, made much easier with the map supplied by the hotel and the fact that every road, street and Via or Vialle, had the name carved into a plaque on the side of the first building of the road!  No need to search for road signs.

Day Two!

On Day two we decided the tackle visiting the Vatican city, as feet were still tender from the day before, Hubby thought it would be a good idea to use the metro, no bad thing in that it only cost us three Euros between us, extremely good value, the problem being that to walk to our metro platform took forever, LOL!  We thought we might actually be walking underground to the Papal See!  LOL!

Once on the train we had a feeling of deja-vu, we could have been on the Circle line in London, just as packed and taking your life into your hands to get on.  However, I managed to get a seat for one stop, but then a little old Nun got on and I could not sit there whilst she stood, so I gave my seat up for her and hung onto my hubby for support again!  

When we got to the Vatican, the queue to get in went all around the square, so we made the decision not to join the throng, enjoy the view and move on, obviously you need get there at the crack of dawn, we'll save that for another trip to Rome, as I am sure we'll be coming back.

So instead we wandered down the main Via, if you like the Mall of the Papal See and came across a gorgeous church which was open, so we decided to pop inside and check it out, sorry don't know the name of it, but it was so hushed, cool and lovely inside, that we decided to sit and take in our bearings before exploring, good thing we did as a few people gathered towards the front and a mass began.  Andy and I sat respectfully and listened, obviously not understanding a word, when all of a sudden we realised that what we had taken to be a small table near the alter was actually a coffin, we were only sitting through someones funeral!  Well there was no way we could get up now, so we sat through the service and stood to watch the coffin leave and waited for a good five minutes afterwards before we dared to move from the pews.

I hope the family did not mind!

When everyone had gone, we had a look around this wonderful church, I think you'll agree it is beautiful!

Castel Sant'Angelo

Following on from our interesting experience we moved onto the Castel Sant'Angelo, which was recently highlighted in the Film Angels and Demons the sequel to the De'Vinci Code.

History time!

Castel Sant'Angelo, an imposing building on the right bank of the Tiber river has had a turbulent history. The Castel Sant'Angelo was originally built by Emperor Hadrian as a mausoleum. Construction started in 123 A.D. the building functioned first as a mausoleum, then became part of the city wall and later was turned into a fortress before it functioned as a papal residence and finally as a barracks and military prison. It is currently a national museum.

Well it was just amazing!  Fabulous fort for the little boy in my husband, wonderful museum for the knowledge and trivia sponge in me and to cap it all it had a fantastic restaurant with views over the Vatican!  Yummy in both aspects!

We spent hours here!  Took millions of photo's but I won't bore you with tonnes of them, as they are more of interest to the brick, tunnel and structure fanatic then the normal class of person!  LOL!

From here we decided to just wander and see where it led us and where it led us was to the Piazza Di Spagna or the Spanish Steps to the rest of us.  From having wandered through fairly quiet streets it was a shock to see how busy it was at the steps.

Needless to say we did not try to fight our way through the throng and just enjoyed the view from a distance.  I'm sure the tourists are just picked up in mass and dropped at the famous sites and miss all the wonderful views and vista's in between, which is their loss, as we saw such beautiful architecture and met some lovely genuine people.

Just around the corner from the Spanish step, set in a tiny Piazza is the Trevi Fountain!

An amazing construction, just huge and very imposing, you just can't get that from a picture, I was stunned when I saw it.  Again it was thronged with sight seers, so we could not get close, but as it is so large you can't help but get a good view of it.  What I can say is there was a very nice cafe just around the corner that had the most scrummy chocolate ice cream and espresso, just right to fortify me for the walk back to the hotel!

Day Three and our last day!

For our last day, we decided to stay close to the hotel, having wandered far and wide on the first two days.  Literally around the corner was the Piazza della Repubblic and the Basillica St Mary of the Angels, an amazing church designed by Michelangelo no less.

And just popping across a couple of roads the Baths of Diocletian and the amazing museum it has been turned into.

Proof positive that I would have made a great Roman lady, I too have a long body and short legs!  LOL!
Not to mention a great Roman nose!

And Finally after a long trek we stopped for lunch outside the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore, this wonderful church was literally just 5 minutes away from our hotel!

The Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore is the largest church in Rome dedicated to the Virgin Mary.

Sorry this is sideways on, but just take a look at the ceiling!

Hubbies camera died when in the Church, so we used the video camera, unfortunately, although we will enjoy looking at the film, I won't subject you to it, as Andy has the habit of walking and filming at the same time, which would make you a bit sea sick!

Any way, I think I have gushed on enough about our lovely trip to Rome and I am positive we will be returning again in the near future, if and when the funds become available.

I hope you have not minded me rambling on and have too enjoyed in a small way this little ode to Rome.


  1. looks beautiful there, glad you had a good time :)

  2. I've always wanted to go to Rome and now I'm keener than ever, it looks fantastic! Thanks for sharing, it's fab that you had such a great time! My OH would like the vase-sized beer as well! :)

  3. What a wonderful blog post, Natalie. Lovely to see and share in all the sights and joys of your trip to Rome. It was super to see photos not only of the amazing sights in Rome, but of you and your hubby looking so relaxed and happy. I really have enjoyed reading about your fabulous trip. Thanks so much for sharing :-)