Thursday, October 23, 2014

Trip to Italy! Rome - A Lot of Awesome Ruins, Cat (and Lizard) of Italy

And here we are, on the last stop of the trip - Rome! After the chill atmosphere of Cinque Terre, the hustle and bustle of Rome was a shock. 

We took a 3-hour+ train from La Spezia that morning, and arrived in the city in the afternoon. We easily walked to our hotel, checked in and then went for dinner. Exhausted from the travel, the Moms retired for the evening, but L and I went for a walk. 

This tunnel was not far.
A rare non-car moment! The cars were super-loud in here.

We wandered back to the hotel with a bottle of wine and sat out in the starry night on our room's little deck.
It was magical in the dark, with the clouds scudding by, the surrounding lights and the warm air.

Bright and early the next morning, we headed out to get our single day in Rome started. With only one full day, we narrowed our agenda to just 3 monuments: the Coliseum, Palatine Hill and the Forum.
That's the National Museum - no time to look inside.

The sheer size of everything in Rome is boggling.
People for scale.

Walking past the Forum area.
Because columns!

My archaeology-loving heart grew 10 times.

The Coliseum.
If you go to Rome for a day, get the Roma Pass, the one that gives you these three attractions. They are all together, and it lets you skip the line at the Coliseum (gold!).

Oh, that's just some arch.
*waves hand vaguely*

I lost track of everything and gawked and took pictures. I was the classic tourist.
Coliseum! This is the number one thing I wanted to do in Italy! There are parts of this from the year 70 AD. That is insane.

Cat of Italy!
Where's his hand...?
This one is a tiled piece of the Coliseum. Rome is crazy huge and reminded me very much of New York City. No real-life kitties were spotted, but I did see "Cats of Italy" calendars, so apparently there are more than just this one.

Warning: lots of Coliseum pictures ahead. Read about it here (Wiki), if you're so inclined.
Cloud drama!

While the Coliseum is smaller than a modern sports stadium in a big city, it's not by much. It is a HUGE building.

The hidden below the main floor section.
You don't get to go there. Boo.

If you pay extra for a private tour guide, you get access to a little more. See the people on the floor at the other end?
More people for scale. They only allow 3,000 people in there at a time...and it doesn't feel crowded at all.

So. Huge.
You weren't allowed to stand or sit on anything, but you could touch the stones. It was amazing.

After the Coliseum, we headed across the piazza to the Palatine Hill. (Wiki here). It was supposedly where Romulus (who Rome was named after) and Remus built the original city of Rome (with much murdering).
More old, ancient, in fact. This site dates back to the BC era - many Roman Emperors lived here.
Incredible architecture.
This is probably the remains of a garden or pond in a grand house.

Lizard of Italy!
He was a show-off: he sat there and let me zoom right in.

As close as we got to the Vatican and Sistine Chapel.
Way off in the distance.

It had rained the night before, and the big puffy clouds lingered all day.
The Palatine Hill and Forum (the area below the hill) are essentially a big open-air museum. You just wander through it, up and down paths, exploring. There are a few signs, but it's more of an exploring type of place.
Cloud drama!
Not enough adjectives.
I loved all of this.

It took us until the early afternoon to get through all of these three sites, and as you can see, there were a lot people.
In full tourist season, this would be insane.

One last look back.
I could have spent the entire day there.

We headed out for a well-needed rest (5+ hours of walking!) and lunch, then L and I wandered around shopping and checking out a few other cool old buildings, including the Pantheon! (Wiki link here).
Wow, that's the world's largest concrete unreinforced dome, and it was built nearly 2,000 years ago!

We also scoped out the Spanish Steps, which are famous for...being in movies ("Roman Holiday", anyone?). Wiki here.
L is doing his Jesus-finger-pointing pose - we saw a lot of this pose in hundreds of paintings!

I still had a little "birthday credit" from Mom, so I bought this funky skirt:
I liked the length (to the knee), the pleats and it has good Swoosh Factor.

Great pattern and colours too.
I have a lot of shoes that will go with this.

It's by Darling.
Thanks, Mom!

We were up bright and early the next morning, and out to the airport. We made our connection to our Frankfurt-Victoria flight with literally 5 minutes to spare. We sat down; they closed the plane doors! I have never run through an airport so much as I ran in Frankfurt's!

We missed our connection back to Victoria, but managed to get home only a couple of hours late. Vizzini was so happy to see us!

Phew! And now, I've had the full week off work - yee haw! - and I've been up to all kinds of shopping escapades, which I'll share with y'all tomorrow. Thanks for reading along, and if you didn't read, well then, I hope you enjoyed the pictures.

Ciao, bellas!


  1. Lovely photos! I loved the numbered (Roman numerals!) archways to the sections at the Coliseum. Reminded me very much of a modern stadium, and I could imagine that citizens attending a "show" at the Coliseum would have tickets with the proper arch to access their seats.

  2. I ran across the Frankfurt airport some 20 years ago and missed my connection to Berlin and they lost my suitcase for a day because of that. Ugh, I still remember it, what a nightmare! Huge. But not like Coliseum...

    What a great idea to take clothes with you that could be left behind. It reminds me of my backpacking days - if you bought something new, something old had to go.

  3. Oh my ruin loving heart just got bigger ! Archeologically loving all your pictures.
    I went on a mediterranean cruise a few years back and was able to visit Rome. We had little time and I've always wanted to go back… it was great seeing it through your eyes.

  4. Rome looks astonishing - I've never been, but have visited ancient sites in Greece, and have felt similarly awestruck by the age, beauty and scale.
    Glad you got home safe and sound, and with another week off to recover!
    I've had a couple of Darling dresses, found secondhand (nice, but I ended up selling them!) xxx

  5. Your photos make me want to visit even more now. It's on my list and I hope I get to visit one day. Your skirt is so pretty, what a great find.

  6. Just awe-inspiring - the ruins, the art even the clouds! Love L's finger point. xoxo

  7. Fab photos. Thanks for sharing them with us.

  8. I could never do this-half a day walking in Victoria requires a week of rest-so I am thrilled to be the armchair traveller while you are the tour guide. It looks like so much fun and so awe inspiring. I suspect it was much more fun than meeting up with me in Victoria would have been. ;-) Love the skirt you bought too. The colours are gorgeous and I can't wait to see how you style it.

  9. love it!
    rome is on our tour wish list too. thank you for the great pics!

  10. Have enjoyed these last two escapades/tours.
    All the cat shots and cloud shots and fashion shots made it special...oh and the architecture!
    Glad your trip was such a hit. Xo JJ

  11. So glad you're back!!! Looks like the trip of a lifetime. I'll be joining the next Shoe Shine, you can bet on that!!


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