Thursday, 24 May 2012

Rome

Hello everyone, how are you?  My overall view of Rome as a city....big, chaotic, dirty and mad, mad drivers, the worst I’ve ever seen.  Driving into Rome early on a Friday afternoon was crazy, the GPS was thankfully helpful this time and despite some of the scary incidents along the way, we arrived at our accommodation in one piece.  Our host Alfredo was so friendly, utterly charming and our room was modern and clean, a little jewel in the outer suburbs of Rome.
The bathroom was to die for.
 The things I enjoyed about Rome the most were seeing the historical sites we specifically wanted to see.   As soon as we had dropped our bags off at our accommodation, we took the train to the stop closest to the Vatican Museum so we could visit the Museum, the Sistene Chapel and St. Peter’s Basilica.  It is difficult to describe the scale of these buildings, they are ornate, I hope some of my photos give you an idea.


 
A section of mosaic floor.  The floors in these buildings were incredible either marble or travatine.

Some of the corridors in the Vatican Museum wore enormous.

 The Vatican Museum had a display of Egyptian antiquities which was very interesting.
Inside St. Peter's Basilica
 The main attraction for me in St. Peter's Basilica was Michelangelo's Pieta which is a beautiful sculpture and much more delicate than David.  It was behind glass and this was the best photo we took.  Michelangelo was only 23 when he was commissioned to sculpt the work.  So much talent for one so very young. 


Vatican guards in fancy dress!!
We were pleased to have seen what we did in an afternoon and found somewhere to eat that evening in one of the little streets that open up at night with cafes everywhere.  It is the tradition for the restaurateurs to accost you and encourage you to eat at their premises.  The bill usually includes a cover charge for sitting at a table so we were not impressed when we went to pay, the proprietor was cheeky enough to ask for a tip. 

The next day on our list of things to see were the The Colosseum, The Pantheon, the Trevi Fountain and the Spanish Steps.  The Colosseum is huge, which I knew but to stand next to this enormous and very old structure was quite something.  Here are some of our photos.
Looking through one of the arches to the inside.


The Pantheon was most impressive from outside, the interior was amazing.  I would have liked to have seen it as it was as a pagan temple before the Catholic church took it over as one of their churches.

I have a little confession to make here.  Normally I am very respectful of the requests asked of visitors and in this case we were to be silent because we were in a holy place.  There was general murmuring you would expect from a large crowd trying to be quiet but as I figured it was a pagan temple originally, and was sure the acoustics would be wonderful, I thought a little (big sneeze) would test out my theory.  I was correct, the acoustics in the Pantheon are wonderful.  Hubby was not impressed and still cannot believe I sneezed on purpose.  Ha, ha, it was one of those little things that are normally bubbling inside bursting to get out that I usually suppress.  Not this time!  :)


The Trevi Fountain is beautiful.  I could have stayed there much longer than we had time for.  I threw in a Euro and made a wish as you do.  These are my favourite photos.


 Our last stop was the Spanish Steps which were crowded with people sitting on them so it was quite hard to see them very well.

This was a relatively quiet time.
 This young lady obviously thought it was an appropriate and comfortable place for a nap.


After visiting the Spanish Steps, we wandered around looking in the shops and watching what the Romans do on a Saturday afternoon.  It was very interesting people watching.

 We saw this DJ in a shop window.  Only in Rome!!
 
We have noticed in the Italian cities of Venice, Florence, Sienna and Rome that there are many Indians and African men selling either fake posh handbags, sunglasses, umbrellas or other gimmicky things that most tourists would not be interested in.  As soon as a police car is in site, they duck off only to return when the police have gone.

Catherine you were asking about the food.  My impression of eating in Italy is one of limitations.  I’m sure home cooking would have more variety but eating out is at times frustrating.  Pasta, pizza and occasionally Risotto are on most menus and Panini a white bread flat roll most often has ham and cheese or just ham for lunch.  It’s quite hard to find just a salad sandwich and I’ve only seen wholemeal bread once so far in Italy.  We try to order a salad with our pizza or pasta but vegetables are few and far between.

Breakfast is definitely not what we are use to.  Italians have a lot of sweet pastries at breakfast which I find quite hard to eat first thing in the morning.  Let me say here that I’m not complaining about the food, rather noting and appreciating the differences.  Eating differently is all a part of the traveling experience after all.  It also makes me appreciate the variety and the different cultural influences our Australian diet includes.  The bananas in Italy are imported from Costa Rica, whereas in Australia we have enough climactic changes to be able to grow tropical fruits.  The coffee is much stronger here even in a cappuccino and I’ve had to add just a little sugar to make it more palatable, something I don’t do at home.

My next post will be all about our stay in the Cinque Terre area on the west coast of Italy.  It is another stunningly beautiful part of the world.

Bye for now,

Anne  xx


9 comments:

Mum said...

Thank you again. I love visiting these places with you.
Love from Mum
xx

duchess_declutter said...

Your lovely photos took me straight back to my visit to Rome many years ago. Looks like nothing has changed! Loud, crowded and noisy - but so fantastic as well. Keep up the great posts and enjoy your lovely holiday. cheers Wendy

willywagtail said...

Thank you Anne. I haven't commented before but I am really enjoying the tales of your European holiday. I must say that I might have joined you in your scientific experiment - some things just need to be known! Cherrie

A Farmer's Wife said...

I love Rome. Your photos are beautiful.

We found the food got better once we were out of the really touristy bits of Italy. Also sometimes worth asking your pensione owner where to go - sometimes that works (and sometimes not!)

Take care.

Claire said...

Oh Anne, you did make me laugh......well done you for having a good old sneeze......

Interesting reading about eating out and I can imagine how you would be craving a salad or a salad sandwich...

The scale and history of the buildings and the sculptures is hard to get your head around and really take it all in, but your photos are great and I am so enjoying your posts along the way. Looking forward to reading about the Cinque Terre, travel safely.

Claire x

Cheryl said...

May is definitely the best time to visit Rome. I agree with the Farmer's Wife, check for the places that the locals go. Fresh fruit and veg is used loads in home cooking. Just go and look at one of their markets. They are fabulous. Sounds like they are catering for the tourists in the cafes.

Anonymous said...

Of course each country has its habits, italians drink strong coffee and eat sweet things in the morning (and not just buttery pastries) but let me assure you that salads or vegetables are essential for every italian meal. Tourists eat in restaurants thought for tourists, where they are given spinach whether they ask for spinach, bieta or cicoria because most of them can't tell the difference. Even the bread they eat is just the cheapest. They would pay the same price (besides from tourist menues which are incredibly, and suspiciously, cheap) if they would go in less touristy zones and eat very, very well things and flavours never tasted before. Italians eat vegetables and salads even when they go out, there is an incredible variety!!! And as far as africans selling fakes it is due to a situation many europan countries such as Italy, France and Germany are facing: immigration, especially after what recently happened.

**Anne** said...

Hi Anonymous,
I know there are salads and vegetables available in Italy as I saw them in the supermarkets. As our time was limited, we found it hard to go off the beaten track in Rome, hence eating at places catering to the tourists. I was looking forward to eating a variety of Italian foods and as we plan to visit Italy again in the future, I will be in a better position to research as we now have contacts and have made friends. I also know there are vegetables and salads in Italy because I saw so many vegetable gardens, they are everywhere, it was delightful.
I do also understand about the immigrant situation and that they are trying to make a living. My comments were merely given as my impressions and when you have an Indian every five paces trying to sell you roses, they shove them under your face, it is a tad annoying. I get annoyed in Australia with hawkers and door to door electricity and gas company sales people trying to get you to switch companies. I don't like people getting in my face. Just a personal thing.
Thanks for taking the time to comment.
Anne

Little Blue Mouse said...

Ha ha, I love the idea of you testing the acoustics by sneezing!