The day after our free site in the car park with the bar, we arrived at our chosen site for visiting Rome and were glad to have saved some money because this new campsite was twice the price of the one in Pisa, although in a very beautiful setting next to the river Tiber.
We set out at 10 am the next morning and over an hour later, having travelled by minibus, train and public bus, we arrived at our first destination of the day, the Colosseum.
After eating our picnic in the sunshine, we decided to brave the queue to see it from the inside. Apart from Alfie being disgusted by the young couple in front of us (‘Mum, he put his TONGUE in her MOUTH!!’) we managed to wait for our turn to walk around the oldest building we have been in so far.
|This is Bob. We don't know Bob, but he obviously wanted to be in our picture.|
For us, it was worth the wait, but the boys, who we had unsuccessfully tried to persuade to watch ‘Gladiator’ the night before, were decidedly unimpressed by the ruins. They endured their trials well for about half an hour but I’m not sure any Gladiator would have been a match for those two when they’re bored and looking to start a fight.
|I dunno why we came here in the first place.|
Across from the Colosseum are the Roman Forum and the Palatine. If we had brushed up on our history a little more before our visit we might have got more out of the day but we were happy to wander the ruins in our ignorance and marvel that structures over two thousand years old are still visible – not much imagination is required to picture the city as it would have looked in Julius Caesar’s time.
|View of the Roman Forum from the Colosseum|
|<insert joke about Plebs here>|
|I love how they leave 2000 year old remains dumped in the middle of the path!|
Next on our list was Vatican City, but we had a rather stressful half an hour trying to decipher the destinations on bus stops. Nathanial actually suggested asking a passing Nun the way to the Vatican, but I opted for the rather less embarrassing option of a bus driver, who proved to be one of the few helpful ones we encountered. Luckily, it was his bus we needed, although, unluckily it became very overcrowded very quickly and it was a rather hot day.
There was some more confusion at the other end of the stifling journey but we finally made it to Vatican City at about half past four. After queuing for a public loo (these seem to be very rare in the Italian cities and we were all in desperate need) we made our way to get tickets for the Sistine Chapel, only to be told it had closed for the day at 4pm!. Nathanial and I were absolutely gutted (talk about trying to see Rome in a day) but I think the boys were relieved that they wouldn't be subjected to yet another church.
|We were too late to this party.|
To our shame, we had promised the boys we would dine in the restaurant of their choice as a reward for letting us drag them around ‘such a boring place’ (Alfie) so we dined on greasy meat and fries á la Burger King before trekking back through the streets to the train station and finally back to the campsite at about 8pm. Then we made them watch the rest of Gladiator.