Travel Journal – Rome, Days Six and Seven

Today we drove back from Civitavecchia to Rome. Naturally, we got lost once we left the A12 and tried to find our way back into Rome!

After a few wrong turns, we finally found her way back to our car hire centre. We dropped the car off (more or less intact) and took a taxi back to Cola Vatican.

Our rooms this time overlooked the main street with a view of St Peter’s Basilica in the distance. It was a lot noisier but the view more than made up for it.

Cola Di Rienzo

We didn’t do much today because we decided to save ourselves for tomorrow so we ended up just having dinner and drinks and a quick night.

The next day, I was eager to try the pizza at Gabriele Bonci’s Pizzarium on Via Della Meloria which my sister had recommended to me. It was about a half hour’s walk from our hotel so we decided to foot it over there. I was a little worried we’d get lost but luckily we found the Pizzarium on a quiet, unassuming street.

The pizzarium was a small pizza shop. It didn’t have any seats so most people stood outside, snacking on their pizza slices.

The pizza here was rather different from the usual margarita kind. They had all kinds of different toppings – roasted figs with goat’s cheese, mushrooms, peaches, pumpkin, grilled eggplant, salmon, deli meats and nutmeg, to name a few. The service was really efficient and friendly, and I ordered some large arancini balls to go with the pizza as well.

After downing our pizza, we walked back to our hotel room for a quick rest before heading out again – this time to the Colosseum!

Gladiators – here we come!

Colosseum

It was pretty exciting finally getting to see the Colosseum after hearing so much about it!

We spent a lot of time wandering around the Colosseum, taking pictures of the ruins and trying to envision what it was look back in its heyday.

Colosseum interior

Colosseum ruins

Colosseum hypogeum

We also had fun looking at some of the exhibits on the second floor.

Colosseum drawing

Colosseum statue

Check out the size of this hand!

After the Colosseum we wandered further afield to check out the ruins. We got a little lost at first because we could see the ruins, but we just couldn’t figure out how to get into them. We kept running into dead ends and fences and once, followed some other tourists who probably also didn’t know where they were up a long curving slope of a road that finally ended in – a small church! It was a pretty church but I think a lot of us were just pretty tired and disappointed that it was yet another dead end that didn’t lead to the ruins!

We finally found the way to the ruins but unfortunately we got there just as it was closing time! Luckily, we found that our tickets to the Colosseum also granted us free entry to the ruins both on the day we bought the ticket and the following day as well so we decided instead to return the next morning.

Back when J first came to Rome with his uni mates, they were able to wander through the ruins for free. Now, however, they’ve closed of most of the ruins and you must pay to go in – although if you’ve bought a ticket for the Colosseum, it also grants you passage to the ruins.

We went on instead to the Altare della Patria, an incredible monument built to honour Victor Emmanuel, the first king of a unified Italy, and also holds the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

Altare della Patria

Standing before the Altare della Patria

The Altare della Patria seems to hold almost the same kind of symbolism for Romans as the Eiffel Tower does for Parisians. Its size and its ostentatious design makes it a landmark and brings in the tourists but those are the same attributes that invites plenty of criticism and mockery from the locals who refer to it as ‘the typewriter.’

We then moved on to do a little shopping (J got some pretty nice shoes and shirts – Italian men really know how to dress!).

I also made us go back to the Trevi Fountain and search for San Crispino and its highly recommended gelato shop. After a few lost turns where I was ready to give up, we finally found it!

Gelato

I was ready then to head back to Trastevere for some pasta to cap off the night with!

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