Our last stop on the European tour was in Rome. We spent a long day of what I call trains, busses, cabs and trains to get there from Monte Carlo. We began about 7:30 am, by train only a short hop. There we discovered that the tracks into Italy were being repaired so we had to take a cab about 20 miles to Ventimiglio, Italy. No problem – there were a number of cabs ready and willing to take us, though it was much pricier than the train would have been. Once in Ventimiglio we discovered that our next train was not running either and we would have to take a bus to Limone, which is north. It seemed odd to us since Rome was to the south, but evidently going north first was the only way to get our connections to the high speed train. As it turned out, we had to wait about three hours for the bus outside in the cold and damp. Few people in the vicinity seemed to speak any English, so we did our best to ensure we were waiting in the right location, for the right bus.
The bus ride to Limone ended up being the highlight of the day’s travels. We were headed into the Alps and traversed through a number of small villages as we worked our way up the mountainside – often only centimeters between us and other vehicles as we passed one another. We climbed and climbed for about two hours until we came to a one way tunnel, where we had to wait about 20 minutes before we could continue on. Limone ended up being a lovely little ski village, and our train was waiting in the station when we arrived.
The rest room at the station left a great deal to be desired as it was simply a hole in the floor. A bit awkward, but better than no facility at all.
From Limone we began to travel south, with two more stops and train changes before we reached the high speed train in Turin that would take us to our final destination. The train was the first we’d encountered that was packed full, so it wasn’t as enjoyable as most of our other train excursions. We finally arrived at Rome’s Termini station about 10:30 pm where we took a cab to our flat. The flat was perfect and in a fantastic location only about one and a half blocks from the Coliseum.
Our host was delightful and incredibly helpful, and the neighborhood was wonderful. We ate the best food in a couple of local restaurants just minutes from our Air B&B. Ravioli, pizza, tuna and wine ~ lots and lots of wine.
We spent the next two days seeing as many of the sights as possible. We bought tickets through OMNIA, which allowed us to get on and off their busses as often as we wanted, and also allowed us to use the metro whenever. The card also included tickets to the Vatican, St. Peter’s Basilica, and the Coliseum. I will let the photos speak for themselves. Our first stop was the Coliseum:
Then the Vatican and St. Peter’s Basilica. The main hall was an incredible feast of murals and tapestries. Then we traversed through various rooms with unending works of art before we finally reached the Sistine Chapel, which was a great disappointment. It is not a huge space, and they crowded about 200 people into it, with guards continually shouting “NO PHOTOS.” So, my apologies, but there are no photos of the Sistine Chapel.
There is no end to the sites in Rome. As we walked along the streets there were ruins amongst the shops and apartments.
There were street performers like this one everywhere:
We visited the Castel Saint ‘Anglo, with amazing views of the Tiber and the city from the top:
Our host arranged for a cab to pick us up on departure day and get us to the airport. It was bittersweet to be leaving ~ we really wanted to see and do so much more, and we will. . .on our next trip to Europe!