Date:* 22nd May 2016
- Weather: *Clear blue skies all day, very light winds 23c ( 30c Rome )
- Latitude: * 42 degs 6.1 N* Longitude: *11 degs 46.2 E
For our day in Civitavecchia we had an excursion to Rome, and it was the same sort of trip as our day yesterday where we are taken to Rome in this case, by coach and given a map and a pickup point, our pickup time was 4.30pm , so it gave us 5 ¾ hr to do what you like. As fate would have it, some friends of ours from home were on holiday in Italy and were in Rome that day, so we had arranged to meet each other, and see the sights. Our meeting point with them was at the Spanish steps, and everything went to plan, as we made contact.
The Spanish steps were not at their best, as the bottom 2/3rds were fenced off for restoration work, but this doesn`t seem to stop people enjoying themselves, it was as busy as ever. It`s always disappointing when the site you`ve come to see is not at its best, but these national treasures have to be looked after. Our next port of call was the Trevi fountain, and I must say when we walked into the small square where it`s situated it looked really magnificent, I believe it to had not long had its restoration done. The surrounding steps and seats were packed with people, but with a clear blue sky and the water in the fountain so blue, the actual marble figures were so white, they really stood out. It is sights like this that make you want to come to Rome again and again!!! And of course the coins were flying into the water.
We got our baring’s looking for the correct street for our exit onto the Pantheon. We passed many street cafes and street artist along the way. On arrival at the Pantheon there was a big crowd waiting to visit, as it was a Sunday a service had just finished inside, so the wait was not too long. This building dates back to AD 125 when it was rebuilt after a fire by Emperor Hadrian, and was converted into a church in the 7th century. When looking at it today it`s hard to believe that it was used in Roman times. It`s dome is 141 feet in diameter, and equal in its height and is larger than the one at St Peters Basilica. Inside the coloured marbles are a sight to see, with a large hole in the centre of the dome a shaft of sunlight makes a dramatic effect on the stone work.
Next we moved on to the Piazza Navona, but before exploring the Piazza we headed down a side street to find a restaurant. After studying the menu our choice was made, Pasta, Pizza and salad were the order of the day, along with some cold drinks. So after our rest and being refuelled it was back into the Piazza Navona, three groups of fountains and statues dominate this long rectangle of a Piazza, with some fine buildings along its sides.
We were now making our way to St Peters square where that morning some big religious service had taken place, we did this by crossing the river Tiber on the bridge “ Umberto”, as we crossed you have a magnificent building in front you, which today is Palazzo of Justice, following the river Tiber, you next come across the “ Castel Sant Angelo” again built by Emperor Hadrian in AD 130 as a part of the cities defences, today it`s a museum. You now have a good view of St Peters Basilica, the road leading to it is like an avenue with tall pillars either side, ( these pillars are modern). Nearing the entrance to St Peters square we were passed by a religious parade, the music was Very sombre and every one in it were dressed in black( I think it was something to do with being a special day) Taking in the view of the whole square it`s a very impressive sight, we did not visit the Basilica as we`ve done this before and our friends were visiting on another day. This was as far as we were going today and we started our return journey by walking around the covered pillars of the square then back to river Tiber where we walked under the shaded treelined path along the river banks. With less spring in our step now, as the heat and distance had taken its toll, we found an Ice-cream parlour it was like an oasis in the desert, we chose our flavours and rested for a good while.
We were very near the point of our pickup, we passed by and through the grounds of the “Teatro di Marcello” begun by Augustus and the architectural model for the Colosseum, as you see these sites it`s hard to believe they`re 2000 years old!
Well we had a long and tiring day, but had seen a lot of what Rome has to offer, and this is where we said our goodbyes to our friend Mike & Tasha as they made their way back to their hotel. Just one more cold drink in a café, more for the shade really with our pickup point in view. Everyone was on time, and we had a quiet journey back to our ship in Civitavecchia.
We were now heading for our last port of call Cartagena is Spain, so hope you`ll join us there.