On Wednesday we arrived in Civitavecchia, Italy. It is the port you dock in to visit Rome!
We decided to get a private car for the day through Viator again. Our driver, Luca, picked us up at the dock and drove us the hour to Rome. He said we picked a great time to visit because it was the week that everyone in Italy was on vacation so the traffic was minimal.
We started at the Colosseum. Luca told us some history and then let us wander around.
It is one thing to see these places in pictures and postcards, but seeing them up close is amazing.
There was a lot of construction going on, but you could still see everything.
We walked around the outside of the Colosseum.
You could go inside, but we knew that if we waited in line for that we would have less time to visit other places. It was early and the lines were already insane!
After we wandered for a little, Luca picked us up to take us to our next destination.
We drove around a little and learned some history, then we went to an overlook to see the Roman Forum.
One of the best things about having a private driver was that he could drive places most cars can’t go. He had a special pass to drop us off at the top for this amazing view. Then he told us how to walk down the Campidoglio to meet him at the van.
We were so lucky the weather was so nice! It was 92 degrees, which was a little too nice.
Next Luca took us to a church he said was better than the Sistine Chapel, and less crowded.
The Chiesa di Sant’ Ignazio di Loyola was beautiful! The floor had a star and each point of the star pointed toward a pillar. If you followed it up it showed the different continents and beautiful artwork on the ceiling.
The craziest part was the dome wasn’t a dome! The whole ceiling is flat! The dome is a 3D painting to make it look like a dome. You can only tell when you are standing directly under it. It’s insane!!
Right down the road was the Pantheon.
Like everywhere else in Rome, it was mobbed outside.
Inside wasn’t bad. Probably because it is HUGE inside.
After we hung out outside by the fountain and waited for Luca.
It was really hot out so it was nice getting into an air conditioned van!
Even though it was under construction, Cheryl and I insisted on seeing the Trevi Fountain.
I wish it had been open and actually working :(
Next it was time to walk down the Spanish Steps!
It was crazy how everyone was sitting on the right side in the shade. It really was hot out!
At this point we were pretty hungry, so Luca took us to a local place, near the Vatican, where he knew the owners.
We had tickets to the Vatican so we didn’t want a big meal. We got appetizers and beer and wine. They wanted us to eat more, but we had to refuse, which didn’t make them happy. Luckily Luca was there to insist we couldn’t stay long. They even gave us home made Limoncello to drink!
After lunch we went to the Vatican. We bought skip the line tickets for a specific time, but we went in early and they didn’t care.
We went to the museum first to see some artwork.
They have their own Picasso!!!
After the museum we walked through the gardens to the next part of the museum. Here we found a lot of ancient Greek statues, which I thought was weird.
I could not figure out why they had so much ancient Greek statues in a Catholic museum.
It got even weirder when we got to the ancient Egyptian section!!
I know one thing after this visit….the Catholic church has MILLIONS in art. They need to share these things or maybe give them back to the place they are from. I can’t image how much is not even on display!
I mean look at this ceiling! Half of it looked like it was made of gold.
At this point we were realizing just how long this museum was. We only had a half hour left and we were nowhere near the Sistine Chapel on the map. We started walking a lot faster through the library, but it was hard with the huge tourist groups to push through.
Finally we made it to the Sistine Chapel!
I had to yell at Cheryl who was pushing her way through. She didn’t even realize we had gone inside! The chapel was A LOT smaller than I had anticipated. It was packed with people and randomly the guards would yell over loudspeakers to not talk to take pictures. I obviously don’t listen well.
The ceiling was amazing, but hard to take in being pushed around and yelled at. We left after a few minutes…and took some pictures to study later when I wasn’t in a crowded space.
After the chapel you come out into a hall. You can see that there is a lot more to the Vatican, but you can’t go there.
Then you had the option to go into St. Peter’s Basilica, but we didn’t have time. We headed out into St. Peter’s Square. We even saw some Vatican guards.
The square was a lot less crowded. The pope had done mass earlier in the day so I assumed there would be more people there, but they must have left.
We met up with Luca and headed back to the boat!
Rome was overwhelming. I wanted to do so many things, but there wasn’t enough time. We definitely would have not been able to do everything we did without our awesome driver Luca. He made sure we got to at least see all the highlights!
I need to go back to Italy!
That night after dinner I went with my Uncle Bob to the Piano Bar. Jeremy was doing American Pie, but explaining all the references in each verse. It was really cool and I learned a lot about the song I never knew before!