Coming from Saturnia by car, we tried to stay on Via Aurelia (a highway that turned into the street we were staying on (according to the map…eventually), but lost the signs, pickling it up 50 KM’s later as we entered Rome. Judy says it was the worst navigation job she had ever had… several U turns, and returns and about 20 minutes, and we found Via Aurelia (there are at least three of them in this town) and finally found our Condo (through Judy’s Shell Vacations Club)
After unloading the luggage, at about 5:15, we then got direction from the receptionist (who never drives in Rome – we should have taken that as a sign!!)…anyway after 45 minutes of trying to find the drop-off that was “5 minutes away” and closing in 15 minutes, that was a no-go. We then tried for the site on the other side of Rome that was open until 8PM. What a mess!!! But it was a good start of a video game that is a real life video game! No good street signs, one way streets, you name it we had it. Motorcycles coming on around both sides of the car, hand signs and honking, no marks for lanes, smaller cars would crowd up along either side. At about 10 minutes to closing, 7:50, we found it! That was almost two hour of driving in Rome, enough to last a lifetime.
From there it was a piece of cake on the subway and walking to our place. No dinner though, too tired.
The next morning we start out on the bus for the Colosseum, the Forum and Palatine Hill, “Ancient Rome” on the tour books.
You just have to see it to believe it… the video starts at the Victor Emmanuel Monument to Italy’s first king, built 50 years after the country’s unification. The 43 ft long equestrian statue is the biggest equestrian statue in the world. The king’s moustache is 5 ft wide, and a man could fit into the horses head!! Then you see some churches across from the monument.
From there we pan to the Colosseum. Notice how big it is, and how they reconstructed the wood floor that used to cover where the fights were (below are the cages for gladiators and animals, lifted by a slave propelled elevator). The wood floor was covered in sand (to soak up the blood from the fights)
Leaving the Colosseum, we scan the Arch of Constantine, who gave Christianity a huge boost when he converted in AD 312, and then the video turns to the Forum, where most of the discussions and decisions were made in Ancient Rome.
Then back to our condo, on a different bus, which threw us for a loop for a while, but we made it back. On our way we saw a restaurant we liked, and instead of stopping, we went home because David wanted a shower. When we came back, it was over an hour wait (should have thought of a reservation!) But the food was fantastic.
The next day was Sunday, and this being a very Catholic town we decided to go for the National Museum of Rome, Judy and I got sort of lost on the bus, going out of town instead of in, but a few busses and the metro and we were back on target. Luckily David had gone ahead on his own as he wanted to spend all day in the museum!
When we finally got to the Museo, there were some fantastic statues, both bronze and marble, lots of busts, some which were a different person’s face mounted on a nice body, paintings, glass artifacts, pottery, etc.