First, a couple of corrections from yesterday’s post: 1. It is the Tiber River, not the Rome River; and 2. the beautiful building I saw yesterday, the Vittorio Emanuele, was located in Piazza Venezia.
Guess I’m adjusting to the hotel room as I had a decent night’s sleep. I was up late, however, posting copy and photos to my blog, as well as a long Skype conversation with my daughter in Asheville. Still have to upload those photos, plus today’s photos, to Facebook. Did manage to get up early enough that I could take advantage of the hotel’s free continental breakfast – coffee, dry cereal, pastry and jam. A good start to the day.
The rain had gone away and the temp was reasonable so only wore my rain jacket (just in case the rain came back). A quick check of my map to locate the termini, where I hoped to find my hop-on/hop-off bus. Didn’t take long as they had a table outside the huge terminal building. The guy there looked at my reservation printout and, in English, directed me across the street, where one of their buses was waiting. On entering the bus, a woman took my papers and gave me a voucher, a map and a set of earphones. The latter were useless as they did not provide translated tour information on the ride.
The bus had seats on top in the open, and since it wasn’t too cold, I decided to sit on top for better views. The first part of the ride took us pretty much where I had already walked the day before. The first stop I got off for was the basilica of San Pietro (St. Peter’s Basilica), also called the Vatican. This is the largest papal basilica in Rome and called the largest church in the world. The building was completed in 1506 but the plaza wasn’t finished until 1667. The dome is 136 meters high and 42 meters wide. The museum inside houses some of the most famous artwork in the world. The plaza is 320 meters by 240 meters and is surrounded by four rows of 284 columns and 88 pillars. There are 140 statues on top, /statues of St. Peter and St. Paul stand on either side of the huge staircase.
There was along line waiting to get in so I re-boarded the bus. Next sight was the coliseum. Then Circo Massimo, and Isola Tiberina. I stayed on the bus as I was waiting for San Pietro and Castel Sant Angelo, except I missed the stop thinking the bus would get closer based on the route indicated on the map. Not a problem.
Got off at Augusta Imperaore, took some photos, and strolled around a section of high-end retail stores, mostly clothing and jewelry. I mean, really high-end. Accidentally came across the Trevi Fountain, although I didn’t know it at the time. Not impressed.
Continued walking and found myself on the other side of the river and soon in front of Castel Sant Angelo – the Castle. It was built in 123 AD and acquired its current name in 590 AD. (Can you tell I have a tourist brochure for this?) Over the centuries, it has been a funeral monument, fortified outpost, a terrible jail, a Renaissance residence, a prison, and now a museum.
Not far away was the St. Peters Basilica, where I stopped for a lunch of pizza (sausage and mushrooms, 13 euro) and a large beer, which, to my shock, cost 14 euro. The pizza was OK, not great. Re-boarded the bus and headed back to the hotel. I sat topside again, up front where there is a windshield, and was joined by two ladies from Dallas. We chatted a bit about Rome before returning to the termini.
Plan to wander around tonight again to find dinner, after packing all my stuff up for the trip to Sicily. My shuttle is supposed to pick me up at 6:40 in the morning and my flight leaves at 10. Hope my legs and feet hold up as finding an apartment in Catania will require lots of walking.