Rome, Italy – Day 8: After getting settled into our Air BnB apartment, we headed out to grab a bite to eat and get started exploring the area near the Colosseum. We had scheduled a guided tour of the Colosseum, Palatine Hill and the Roman Forum for 4:00 pm. Our apartment was within walking distance of all of the major sights in old Rome. After all the walking over the last week, we were starting to get used to walking everywhere.
The interior of the Colosseum was very interesting with the history of the building and the continued excavations going on. The guide gave us the history of the building and it’s many uses over time.
The short walk from the Colosseum to the Palatine Hill, brought with it droves of people who were visiting one of the busiest sites in all of Italy. It was nice to be moving away from the Colosseum and exploring the gardens and ruins of Palatine Hill and the Roman Forum.
There were lemon, olive and grapefruit trees in the many gardens on Palatine Hill. The picture below is from an overlook near Palatine Hill looking into the Roman Forum. The guide was very helpful in identifying significant building ruins and the history behind each particular ruin.
While taking in the view of the Roman Forum from above, we met this very friendly seagull who was begging for food. He was not one bit scared of anyone and obviously had been treated pretty well by the droves of tourists.
Walking around the Roman Forum as the sun started to set was very pretty with the light casting different colors on the ruins.
We continued to walk around the old city of Rome and there were several spots in the city that have ruins right next to the sidewalk or even beside a new building. It’s surprising to see such old relics everywhere you look. The old city and the new have been blended into what is Rome today.
Throughout the city there are these water filling stations, for you to refill your water bottles. At first, I was unsure of what they were, but then we started to see people using them. They were located every few blocks and the water was always running out of them. You would occasionally see someone come up and fill a bottle and walk away. Once I decided to try it I was surprised how good the water tasted and how cold it was.
Rome at night is very cool, the sights take on a whole new look, especially the colosseum as you can see from the picture above.
Rome, Italy – Day 9: We had an 8:45 am tour of the Vatican, so our day started pretty early. We took an Uber to Vatican City to save our legs for a day we knew would involve a lot more walking. The tour of the Vatican Museum was incredible. I had no idea that there were so many artifacts contained within this museum.
To be quite honest, I was more in awe of St. Peter’s Basilica than the Sistine Chapel. You could not take pictures in the Sistine Chapel, but it was so crowded in there that I am not sure I could have even lifted my arms above my head. St. Peter’s Basilica was absolutely breathtaking. The dome ceiling was the highlight for me.
Saint Peter’s remains are stored in the small tomb shown in the picture above.
Not many churches have artwork by Michelangelo in them. The artwork throughout the Basilica is that of the top museums in the World.
The Swiss guards were standing tall guarding the Vatican. The one on the right was on the phone for awhile though. You can see him leaning into their little booth on the right side of the entrance.
This lady right here was very happy to go on the Vatican tour and see the inside of St. Peter’s Basilica.
We took the walk from the Vatican past Castel Sant’Angelo and head into the old city for some more sightseeing.
The Pantheon was a very interesting building with the opening in the top so when it rains the floor has drains that quickly take the water away.
The Trevi Fountain was very cool to see, but it was so crowded that we had to wait our turn to even get up to the front of the fountain. We heard it is much better to visit after dark, but it just didn’t work that way in our schedule.
The Spanish Steps are another popular place to visit and you can see how busy this attraction was as well. As a whole, Rome was the busiest city we traveled through during our time in Europe.
Rome, Italy – Day 10: We booked a tour of Positano and Pompeii. Our tour took us down the beautiful Amafi Coast over dangerous, curvy roads on perilous cliffs.
The drive from Rome to Positano along the Amalfi Coast had incredible views and I am so glad I was not the one behind the wheel of the van. I had heard it is very dangerous and they discourage people from trying to drive it. At one point, we had to wait while a slightly larger van had to do a 5 point turn to navigate around a very sharp corner.
The picture below is the walking path that takes pedestrians down to the Positano Beach. The beautiful walkway has shops & restaurants all the way down to the beach.
With the sand in your feet this is the view back up the hill to where we came down the beautiful covered walkway.
Our tour gave us a couple of hours to enjoy our time in Positano, so we spent it at a lovely restaurant on the beach and then spent some time exploring the many shops on our way back up the walkway.
Positano is known for it’s lemons. There were lemon trees everywhere, the stores were all geared towards lemons. They sell a lemoncello alcohol, which is pretty tasty. Many shops offered free samples. We opted for the frozen lemon drink, since it was so warm out and we didn’t have enough time to seriously enjoy the water at the beach.
After our afternoon break in Positano we had a little drive to Pompeii. The tour of the ruins was very interesting, but it was very hot, so I felt we were ready for the cliff notes and get back in the air conditioning of the van.
After another long day, we found an authentic Italian restaurant not too far from our apartment for our last nice dinner in Rome. Spaghetti and meatballs got the thumbs up from me.