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- Posted:Tuesday, September 21, 2010
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After a refreshing night’s sleep I was ready for my first full day exploring the Italian capital. The Metro in Rome runs more or less around the edges of the historical centre so if you want to get through the middle of the city i.e. Termini towards Vatican City, the best means of transport is the bus which is also covered by the transport passes you can use on the Metro. The two that I found most convenient were the 40 and 64 that you can hop onto from Piazza del Cinquecento (just outside Termini). These buses have many stops through the centre of the city and are very easy to navigate once you have a map of Rome to hand.
My first stop on this incredibly sunny morning in Rome was Campo de Fiori to take a look at the daily morning market that takes place here. This piazza comes alive in the mornings with vendors selling all sorts from homemade pasta, flowers, jewellery and more. It’s not a huge or impressive market but it is definitely worth a stroll around on a morning to soak up the atmosphere. From here you can cross over Corso Vittorio Emanuele to reach Piazza Navona. This Roman piazza is often referred to as the nicest of the city’s piazzas and it is home to three beautiful fountains as well as the Sant’Agnese in Agone Church. Piazza Navona is a very popular square for tourists and while it can be very tempting to sit out in one of the restaurant terraces around the piazza be sure to check the menu prices first. If you take a short stroll off the square you will more than likely find cheaper establishments with better food.
After a quick gelato in Piazza Navona (Italy’s ice cream) I took the map back out to find my way back to Piazza di Spagna. Here I met with Colin Walsh of Rome Free Tours for a podcast interview which you will be able to listen to here in the coming days. After talking to Colin I was all set to take one of the tours so I met with the guide and the rest of the group for the 2pm Colosseum tour outside MacDonalds also in Piazza di Spagna. A walking tour is a great way of seeing a city as not only does it mean you can put the map down for a few hours and let someone else show you the way, but you also get to see some hidden gems of a city and find out all you need to know. Gloria was our guide for the tour and she was great at explaining everything we needed to know along the way. This particular tour took in sights such as Piazza Venezia, Colonna Traiana, brought us to a great view point to see all of the Roman Foro (Forum) and to the Colosseum. You have to pay an entry fee to get into the Colosseum and the Forum but both can be appreciated for free from some great viewpoints close by.
So, after a lot of walking around all day and taking in many sights and buildings, some of which you don’t expect to see upon turning corners or walking down a street, I returned to the hostel to freshen up and plan my evening.
First stop was the Trevi Fountain along with most of the other tourists who were also in Rome that evening! This amazing fountain is one of the city’s top attractions but its popularity does not take away from its appeal. The crowds flock to the fountain for pictures, coin throwing and to just sit back and take it all in. The evening time is a great time of day to visit the Trevi Fountain as it really is an illuminating sight as the dusk draws in. Here I met with Vito, a tour guide with New Rome Free Tours who was talking to me about being a tour guide in one of the world’s most historic cities for our podcasts which you will soon be able to listen to here.
After an interesting interview I made my way to a restaurant called L'archetto where I had a very interesting pizza. I should of imagined that with a name like Vesuvio the pizza would not be a normal one! It was made like a calzone pizza (toppings inside, base outside) and baked to rise up like a meringue much to the entertainment of diners sitting nearby! Take a look at our Rome image gallery here to have a look at my interesting dish! One quick dig with a fork and the vesuvio effect is no more, and it turned out to be quiet a tasty pizza as well as entertaining! I then returned to the hostel as tomorrow will be an early start with a trip to the Vatican Museum planned first thing. All the tips and advice have warned me to be there early as the queues can be quiet long! Fingers crossed it’s a quiet day at the Vatican, or does one of those exist?