Friday, October 1, 2010

Day 7: Rome & Vatican City

After a great night of sleep, my parents, Todd, and I woke up on Wednesday in Civitavecchia, Italy. Just like the day before, we got off the ship and found our private tour guide for the day. Since we were at the port in Civitavecchia, we had about an hour drive east to Rome. I knew this day would be the busiest of them all because we only had about 7 hours in Rome to see everything we possibly could.

We started the day driving around Rome and stopping at several monuments, churches, and fountains before ending the day in Vatican City. For someone like me that's not really a history buff, it was definitely history overload with all the background and details about everything. My brain was especially fried after the 2 hour tour of the Vatican. I had no idea there were so many paintings and sculptures there. I really just thought we were going to see the Sistine Chapel.

First stop was the real Caesar's Palace with Circus Maximus, the ancient chariot racing track, in the front
We drove by this monument to the first king of unified Italy, which was built in 1885 and now referred to as "Wedding Cake"
We then stopped and went inside the Pantheon, which used to be a temple to ancient gods and is the best preserved of all Roman buildings. It is now used as a Roman Catholic Church and among the many tombs is the tomb of Margherita of Savoy. She was Queen in the late 1800s and is known for having the Margherita pizza named after her.

Sign for the Pantheon

Inside the Pantheon

Margharita's tomb

Besides going to the Vatican and seeing the Sistine Chapel, my only other request of the day was to throw a coin in the Trevi fountain. Legend has it that if you throw a coin in, it ensures your return to Rome.

Beautiful fountain

Throwing in my coin

We also stopped at the Spanish steps, the longest & widest staircase in Europe

Followed by a trip to the Colosseum, which was built between 70-80 AD

It's amazing how much of it is still in tact

Our tour guide had a secret surprise for us and it was amazing. It might have been one of my favorite things I saw on the whole trip. He took us up to some houses in a secluded area and told us to go up to the door and look through the keyhole.

The house was the headquarters of the Knights of Malta & we looked through the keyhole on this door

This is what it looked like using my camera....

But this is what I really saw! Simply amazing! The trees & bushes lined up perfectly for a view of St. Peter's Basilica
(picture from google)

Another view of St. Peter's from a garden next to the house

Before heading to the Vatican, we stopped for a real, authentic Italian lunch of pasta. I was all about trying tons of Italian food while we were in Italy.


Pesto pasta

Best tiramisu of my life

Vatican Museum

St. Peter's Basilica

My illegal picture of the Sistine weren't supposed to take pictures

The window in the Sistine Chapel that the smoke comes out of to indicate if a new pope has been elected or not

Michelangelo's Pieta

St. Peter's Square

The Pope's balcony used to address the crowds on big events, like Easter

One of those windows is the Pope's room

After a long day touring Rome & the Vatican, we were dropped back off at the cruise ship. It was a once in a lifetime opportunity to see everything we saw there and it was truly amazing.

Once on board, we showered up & headed to dinner. I wasn't feeling very well that night so we missed the production show the cruise entertainment was putting on so that I could rest up for our day in Florence and Tuscany.

Dinner on the ship

No comments: