The best time to see Rome - nice and early!
Apr 16, 2010
Aug 31, 2010
I decided that I wanted to see some of the sites of Rome without the crowds, so I was up bright and early at 5:30am to head into the city. My first stop was the Trevi Fountain where only a couple of locals were unloading trucks and the fountain was being cleaned. An estimated 3000 euros is thrown into the fountain daily. I took a couple of tourist-free photos and threw my coins into the fountain hoping they will ensure my return to Rome. Afterwards I walked to the Spanish Steps where again there was not a sole on the steps other than a guy cleaning them with a pressure hose. I climbed to the top and headed along the pathway that looked down on the city. In every direction you looked you could see crosses that were on the tops of the churches. I made my way down to Palazza del Popolo and then on to the Pantheon. There was reconstruction happening on the outside of the Pantheon which was a bit disappointing but it was really the inside I had come to see. We had been told on the bus as we came into Rome that we should walk into the Pantheon and not look up until we had reached the centre of the room. So I did just that and you really appreciate just how huge this place is. How they were able to build it I can not imagine. Inside I found Raphael’s tomb – didn’t look like a turtle with a red headband (haha!). Just a block away was Piazza Navona which was a really nice spot with impressive fountains surrounded by Italian cafes and artists. From there I made my way to Castel Sant Angelo which was originally built by the Emperor Hadrian. The bridge leading to it is covered with angels and the angel on top of the building is what it derives its name from. In the distance from the bridge St Peter’s Basilica could be seen to I walked towards it and looked up the road that leads to Vatican City. Before entering the city I found the post office that I had been searching for and managed to get a package sent to Australia (well I’m hoping it will make it – Australia Post you better be good to me!). I walked back into Vatican City and looked at the line for St Peter’s Basilica. It circled most of the square and I joined it contemplating whether or not to wait out in the heat to get in. The lined actually moved relatively quickly so I stuck it out and within about 15 minutes I had gotten through security and had entered the basilica. It is the second biggest basilica in the world – I don’t know how there could be one made much bigger. It was just staggering, and I again listened to the audio guide I had downloaded at home. The statues inside are really deceiving in their size. The look to be the same height as an adult but because of the way they are positioned you wouldn’t realise that they are 3 or 4 times bigger than you think. Whatever your religious beliefs it is hard not to be impressed by the building. You can walk up the steps to the top of the dome which I wish I had of done, but I was hot and really tired so didn’t make it. That will be on my to do list for when I return. So leaving Vatican City I quickly got one last gelato from the same place as yesterday, trying strawberry and tutti fruitti – just what I needed – then hopped on the metro back to the camping grounds.