Night location: Rome, Italy
Song of the day: Fever - Michael Buble'
Mumisode of the Day: Imitating bird noises (Italian pelicans) in the middle of a restaurant.
This blog marks the end of our stay in Rome, a city that has captured our hearts and minds. The past two days have been filled with walks down cobblestoned streets amidst pedestrians, cyclists, scooters and taxis, seeing remarkable buildings that tower into the sky, drinking hot coffees, licking many gelatos, wandering through historical sites, and stumbling upon sun bathed piazzas that are simply bustling with life.
Yesterday we started our morning with a walk to Castel Saint Angelo. This building was first built as a mausoleum for the Emperor Hadrian's daughters but has since been used as the Pope's personal fortress in times of distress. There is a passageway directly from the Vatican to the fortress that is visible to passers by, but Amber suspects there are many more that lead to and from the castle that are hidden. The tour began by winding its way up a spiral ramp that went through the heart of the building. The interior was breathtaking, particularly the papal apartments.
After stopping for lunch in a shaded street and enjoying a freshly made Caprese pizza and a lot of water, we headed up to the Vatican Museum. Gemma was our trusty guide with the help of the 2010 Rick Steves' Rome. All in all we made our way through in two hours, which, considering the vast number of things we saw, was quite amazing. Mum was enamored with the artwork of Michelangelo and Raphael, and the Sistine Chapel has to be seen to be believed. By sneaking our way out the 'Reserved for tour groups' exit we made it straight into St Peter's Basilica where the size and grandeur of the place takes your breath away.
Needless to say, however, by the time we walked our way home, we were all exhausted. With that in mind, today was a leisure day where we separated and wandered the streets of Rome. Gemma, Amber and David walked to Trastavere (which turned out to be the longest walk so far!) and ate lunch in a cafe that maintained "We are against war and tourist menus". They then made their way to a church that was built in the 12th century that had the most incredible gold mosaics that illuminated Jesus at the front of the main aisle. Our leisure day then took us via the Circus Maximus where David recounted scenes from Ben Hur, and after that we continued on to the Metro station where we caught a train back to the Spanish Steps. Half an hour of shopping and then a good rest in our apartment revived us before we headed out for an 8 o'clock dinner at a fabulous vegetarian restaurant. We all had the 'Menu Classico' that consisted of five courses including coffee to end! As if that wasn't enough, David insisted that we have our last gelato in Rome at his favorite gelatissimo, Venchi.
Tomorrow, Mum, Gemma and Amber are getting up before sunrise in order to see the Trevi Fountain at dawn, then we are off to San Gimignano, Tuscany.