Monday, July 30, 2012

Rome Italy in a Day

Giovanni drove us to Rome and around Rome. What a great tour guide he was (and good looking too). The ride from the port was a little over an hour. This was Republic Day in Italy which is similar to our 4th of July. Large crowds were everywhere and because of a parade Giovanni had to change his course. We saw so many sights I don't think I can remember them all. He took us to where Julius Caesar had been killed. Just think how many years ago that was! The ruins were right downtown and not marked. We also went to the Pantheon and then met up with Marco who walked us through the Vatican (we saw where the pope addresses the people in above picture) and Sistine Chapel. Michaelangelo was commissioned to decorate the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel with scenes from the creation of the world as well as prophets and biblical heroes. The work took 3 years to complete. Twenty years later he was again commissioned (I don't think he could tell the pope no) to add another fresco on a wall behind the alter called the Last Judgment. Michaelangelo's own face appears in the skin of St. Bartholomew. Very impressive!

Giovanni took us to an Italian restaurant for lunch where he seemed to know the owner. We started with a selection of about 5 different antipasto (appetizers) and then we had 2 pastas - a meat filled tortellini and the most delicious lasagna I have ever eaten. The pasta and cheese were so creamy it just melted in your mouth.I will always remember Rome for that lasagne.

At the Trevi Fountain I threw in a coin because as the legend goes "if you throw in a coin you will come back to Rome". We ended our 8 hr. tour with a visit to the Colosseum where the gladiators fought and early Christians were thrown to the lions. We could see below the arena floor where the animals had been kept.

By having a driver meet us at the ship and drive us around I feel we saw so much more than if we had tried to see it all on our own since we didn't know our way around. And because there were only 8 of us it was so much easier then being on a bus with 50 others and it cost less than the ship's tour too. We had a good overview of Rome although it would be nice to have more time here.

I tried my best to sample as much gelato in Italy as I could and our ship also had gelato for sale. Gelato is very similar to ice cream but creamier. Today I had 3 scoops - strawberry, eggnog and limoncello. All were delicious! I believe eating the local food is part of the experience.

Next time I will write about our trip to Pompeii and down the Amalfi coast. Stay tuned!

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