27.06.2011 - 02.08.2011 29 °C
We arrived in Rome on Thursday and spent the evening relaxing in our hotel. We've got a nice room, with a huge bed with a great view over Rome (because we are on the eighth floor). We had a wander around the area where the hotel is and did some laundry. We planned for the next dew days and were both really excited to start exploring Rome. Our first stop on Friday was the Colluseum. We signed up for a tour of the Colluseum and Roman Forums, to give us a bit more insight into the history of it. When inside the Colluseum, the shear scale of it was amazing. It could have held around 70000 people, which is bigger than most of the stadiums we have today. Where it is so old and for about a thousand years no one cared for it ,it has taken a lot of battering. It was sad to learn that only 40% of it is the original building. The Roman Forum was on strike that day so unfortunately we couldn't go inside. This bummed us out a bit as it would have been nice to look around properly. However, our tour guide did take us to a corner of it and gave us an overview of all of the main parts. We really enjoyed the tour, so we booked one of the Vatican with the same guy the next day. We headed over to the Vittorio Emannuelle II monument. We climbed the steps, went inside and went to the terrace on top of the building which was really relaxing. It was so hot and they had fans spraying water and slushy style ice drinks. It would've been cool to see the building when it was lit up at night. Right behind this building was the Basilica of Santa Maria, in comparison to most Basilicas we'd seen it was vey small but it was nice inside with a golden ceiling. We didn't stay too long as a couple were getting married. Next to that was Capitoline Hill, which is a square designed by Michaelangelo. To get it we had to climba lot of stairs which were called the Cordonata. We think (from our guide book), this is the centre of Rome.
So we left our hotel at 7am on Saturday morning for a tour of the Vatican city. Neither of us were particulary happy about the early start but when we got there we realised it was for the best as the queue to get into the museums and church was already quite long and when we came out at half 12 it was insane. We started off by going around the Vatican museums. It was full of art work, dated all through history, by some of the most famous Italian artists. It was interesting to learn all the facts about the paintings and sculptures, such as artists would copy each other when someone began using a new style. Lots of the art represented the change from Paegan to Christian religion. After such an early start Lauren fell asleep both walking and in one room of the museum, lol, so she had to quickly run to the cafe and down a cappuccino with 3 sugars. Once Lauren was awake again we headed into the Sistine chapel. It was hard to take in as all the Walls and the ceiling were covered in such beautiful art and we didnt know where to look first. It was nice to have the guide explain to us each part of the work. The ceiling, which is probably the most famous part, lived up to it's legend and was truly epic. A cool fact we learnt was that where the ceiling is so high the figures look smaller than they actually are as in reality thy are about eight to twelve feet long. They had to be this long as if they werent, looking from the floor, the perspective would've been out. The only downside was that you Harvey becreally quiet and you couldn't take any photos, although Lennie managed to sneak a few on his phone. Once the tour was finished we decided to climb up inside St Peters Basilica, we did not know what we'd let ourselves in for. We counted 522 steps of which there were tiny spiral stairs, stairs going up at an angle so you couldn't stand straight and tiny narrow ones. However, once we got yo the top the view over Rome was spectacular. The journey down the stairs was just as fun as the one up but once we got to the bottom we came out into the actual basilica itself. Inside was good as everything was on a huge scale. So much so that under the Dome you could actually fit the statue of liberty in underneath it. We walked around the area for a little while and then decided to head back to the hotel for a nap as we were both so tired. We both fell asleep on the metro back but luckily woke up for our stop. We didn't wake up till about 6pm so decided to spend the evening chilling at the hotel and planning the next day.
Yesterday we headed back to the Roman Forums to get a closer look at the ruins, but decided against going in. Instead we headed off to the Trevi Fountain. On the way we went to a gelato shop which has been reviewed as the best ice cream in Rome. These reviews were not wrong and we agreed it was the best ice cream we'd had all trip or in fact ever. We went into a little shop selling traditional Italian food and drink and tried some limoncello. Lennie diapised the drink so much he said the only way to make him feel better was to have more ice cream - it seemed to do the trick. We were tempted by some 72% strength absynthe which was said to be so strong it could cause hupluconations, but at 40 euros a bottle we decided to give it a miss We carried on walking to the Trevi Fountain. It was one of the most packed things we'd been to, you couldn't really move, although it was no wonder really as it was one epic fountain. The best one we'd seen all trip. We both threw on coins and made wishes for friends and family and then sat by the fountain for about 30 minutes. Which with the soothing sound of the fountain was really relaxing. We headed off to the Pantheon next which is one of the few buildngs on Rome which has remained unchanged through history. We bought an audio guide about it which told us some really interesting things.It contains the remains of many famous Romans including the artist Raphael. We wondered round to another piazza and relaxed for a little while before heading off to the Hard Rock Cafe. While waiting for our table we hot a couple of drinks including the worlds biggest pina colada. It was epic. Unfortunately the restaurant told us they couldn't cater for the nut allergy which meant I basically gad to down my insanely sized pina colada and was now a drunk Lauren. We found a nice Italian restaurant which wad really yummy and gave a lovely end to the day.
We've seen all of the touristy things in Rome now so today we're heading off to Rome's water park for a day of water slides and relaxation.