20 August 2010

Um, yeah, there's a lot to see in Rome

IT WOULD BE impossible to describe our trip to Rome in a few sentences or paragraphs. There was just too much. It's even a bit difficult to digest all the things we saw and experienced in what can only be described as a whirlwind tour of the city. There is just so much in Rome -- almost too much. I've been to Rome before, on two occasions, but those trips were very short and I only experienced the visual aspect of Rome...I basically just 'took in the sights'. But this time we took the tours (thanks pp & gg!!).

Kerri's parents have been visiting for a few weeks and since their flight back to DC was out of Rome we decided to spend their last couple of days here touring the city. Since we didn't have a whole lot of time we tried to pack as much in as possible. We did. I'll skip the "you won't believe how great this was" descriptions and just get to the summary: we did a lot and we had fun. There, that's about it.

I could add a few details, like the fact that we (and I'm using the term 'we' fairly loosely here) spent the extra money and had guided tours of all the sights. It really was the best way to go for three key reasons: 1) we avoided the long, long, long, long lines, 2) we got a great amount of information that we simply wouldn't have had if we walked around by ourselves, and 3) Patrick and Julia loved the guides -- they were usually standing up in the front, right in front of them, seemingly hanging on their every word. We were lucky to have a great guide named Tom who is a recent graduate from Royal Halloway with a major in Ancient Roman History. He was our guide through the Palatine Hill & Forum on Tuesday evening and we liked him so much we also joined his tour group the next day when we went through the Vatican Museum, Sistine Chapel, and St. Peter's -- a tour that lasted more than 4 hours (that tour alone is mind-bogglingly incredible -- with all the history, art, etc...).

Of course, there are lots of things to do in Rome without tour guides and we did most of those as well. In addition to the Colosseum, Palatine Hill, Forum, and Vatican -- we also managed to squeeze in:
  • the Trevi Fountain
  • the Spanish Steps
  • Piazza Novona, Piazza Venizia,
  • St. Peter's square
  • the Pantheon
  • shopping (photo of the results of our shopping are below)
  • two great dinners (near the Campo di Fiori called 'Buffeta Due' and one near the Trevi Fountain)
  • about 10 stops for gelato
  • rides on city buses and the Rome Metro
  • lots of walking through the Roman streets
  • a few cafe stops
  • one bus tour around town -- sitting, of course, on the top of an open double-decker buss.

In front of the Colosseum

After exiting the Forum.

St. Peter's Square

There's our guide, Tom. And there are the kids right in the front.

It's tough to get a good photo in front of the Trevi Fountain because it is so packed with people!!

Piazza Navona

Umbrellas up to keep the sun away in front of the Pantheon.

Breaking out the Italy gear!

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