We took the Leonardo Express from the airport to Roma Termini, and then a cab to the apartment, all the while getting excited about the gorgeous rooftops and domes!
The apartment itself was straight out of a storybook – cosy and charming, from the posters on the walls to the sweet li’l sitout.
There were quite a few guidebooks and maps in the apartment, each one more confusing than the next.
2 hot showers later, we were ready to get to the Vatican to get blessed by the pope. But God had other plans for us. It being a Sunday and many of the buses not operating normally, we walked around the area in search of a bus to take us somewhere, anywhere! After some fun discussions with the locals, we dropped the Vatican idea and decided to head straight to the Colosseum or Colosseo, for which we had tickets.
Much easier to get there, and we soon found ourselves facing the monument with stomachs growling in hunger. Al Gladiatore was the first restaurant in our way, and right across from the Colosseo. What more could we ask for?2 large pizzas, and polished them off with almost no trouble.
We had some time to kill before the designated entry slot into the Colosseo and Palatino, so we walked through the lanes, admiring the buildings and roasting in the heat. Found a great snooze spot right across the Colosseo to spend an hour. A remarkable feature of the city is the water fountains, spouting chilled water for drinking and splashing on your face. The carved stone fountains were particularly cute.
By then we were a little bored of ‘killng time’ and had more than an hour to go, so we walked towards the Colosseo looking for a shaded spot. At the entrance we found that we could start the tour right away, and that is what we did.
I think the Colosseo grows on you. I, of course, tried to visualize the bloody sports the Romans indulged in, almost 2000 years ago! As a structure it is amazing – the sun beats down, but step into a corridor and you can have the coolest breeze to refresh you. The gladiators had no such privileges though. Even the present day dressed-up gladiators must be uncomfortable, having to roam around in their heavy costumes, giving tourists their photo ops.Our next stop was the Palatino, the site where Rome was founded (after some bloody events, naturally). All ruins, but some of the skyline views are spectacular. We also managed to see the panoramic view of the Foro Romano, and skipped walking through it, also because it was closing time.
We decided to spend the evening at Piazza Santa Maria in Trastevere. Getting there was another minor ordeal, figuring out bus routes, actually getting the bus to Stazioni Trastevere, and a short walk made long by my aching feet. All worth it as soon as we stepped into the festive air at the piazza – loads of people hanging out, drinking, laughing, gossipping, watching other people. Some wine and beer inside us and soon I was ‘happy’. Souvik and I had such fun people-watching, and classifying them into locals and tourists from their dress and demeanor.