i got to the capital of Italy during the afternoon of Tuesday 7th. The campsite is just outside the ring road (no way was i going to cycle into the centre).Its quiet and a courtesy coach takes you the mile or so to the local train station at prima porta.From there it is a 20 minute ride into the centre of Rome.
My mental picture of Rome was formed mostly by one of my favourite films - roman holiday, staring Gary Grant and the young and always beautiful Audrey Hepburn. Have to say, i think Rome would look better in black and white and before McDonald's came along!
On my 1st day sightseeing i slowly bimbled towards the Colosseum ( it was 1 of only 2 places i really wanted to see ). When i arrived there an hour and a half later from walking the 3 kms from the train station, well lets just say the queue was slightly on the long side. So, me being me, didn't want to stay in one place standing for at least 2 hours and once again off i went. I headed for the 2nd place on my very short list of things to see. When i arrived at the Pantheon it was relatively empty.
I walked in and straight away the eyes headed upwards towards the dome and the circular opening at its centre. The dome, which until the latter half of the 20th century was the biggest concrete dome in the world, was jaw dropping beautiful. Its Recessed squares going upwards getting smaller the nearer to the top was unadorned and naked in its majesty. The lower half ( or circular walls ) had been ruined once again by the catholic church by turning it from a "house of the gods" into just a "house of god". Still it was worth the cycle ride to get here and be able to stand inside!
When i left the Pantheon behind i wandered to and along the river for a short while. I came to the bridge nearest the Vatican, so i thought I'd pop over and have a look. Have to say, St Peters square looks better, bigger and more impressive on the TV. Did i queue up to have a look around the palace and check out the murals....erm...NO!
Once at the campsite bar, i stayed till closing time, which was 1am...mmm....nice!
On the Friday, i once again headed into Rome. This time i made good time on the walk to the Colosseum and the queue was only 50 minutes long. The Colosseum was the highlight of my time in Rome. As i walked through the grand arch that lead into the arena i had a "sense of history" moment that i hadn't felt before in Rome. I spent about two hours inside, walking around or just standing still. I looked down on the killing ground and tried to imagine what it was like back in the heyday of the games, with 50,000 Romans cheering on the mayhem and slaughter. Once i had left the Colosseum i felt that my time in Rome had come to a natural conclusion.
Today is Saturday and tomorrow, if its not raining, I'll be off to the west coast of Italy triking down it to Pompeii and beyond