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3 months ...................................... adventure - explore - challenge

Friday, 27 April 2012

When in Rome...... get on a bus.

 So we headed to Rome (and to meet my parents) by train, a comfortable two and a half hour journey.  On arrival we found our apartment which was brilliantly positioned between the Spanish Steps and the Trevi Fountain and was central to the city so we could walk to most of the main sites. After dumping our bags off we headed out to get our bearings.  It was a far cry from the peace and tranquility of Cortona; the streets were heaving with tourists, it was warm, noisy and the air was full of fumes but the buzz of being in one of the worlds most ancient and historical cities was amazing.  We cannot actually say we saw the Spanish Steps as there were so many people lining every level, admiring the other tourists and snapping away, but we enjoyed looking at the potted azaeleas cascading down the middle.  Slowly, we made our getaway through all the crowds, only to be hit with more at the Piazza del Popolo.
Great view from the top deck
The double decker open-top tour bus that then pootled around the corner looked like a godsend - to see the city without being jostled along.  With the wind in our hair and the sun on our faces we whizzed past so many fantastic piazzas, churches, domes and shuttered buildings amazed at all the relics left by the varying ages of the Roman empire.
Icon of Rome
Skyline littered with domes.

 Whilst the Colosseum was a marvel of architecture and stature and St Peters Basilica at the Vatican was an iconic image, it was the Il Vittoriano that unexpectedly took our breath away.  Nicknamed "the wedding cake" it is an enormous layered white marble monument built as a tribute to the first King of a united Italy, Victor Emmanuel II.  Littered with huge statues and many steps to the top, we were sure it offered great views of Rome.
Also know as the typewriter...

12m statue can seat 22 men.

When we hopped off the bus we put our map reading skills to the test to direct us on the path back to our apartment.   We stopped to enjoy a lovely meal and then discovered Piazza Navona!!!!!!  This amazing square (more like an oblong actually) was edged with busy restaurants with a gorgeous fountain in the middle.  Artists had set up their galleries, street entertainers amused the crowds and musicians filled the evening air with a sensation of being on holiday.  We stopped for a nightcap to soak up the atmosphere at the end of a long and tiring day.

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