Reached Rome around 7:45pm. Tried to find the Tourist Information(TI) to get the Roma Pass. Roma Pass is very economical. It is 20Euro per person. It covers unlimited public transportation for 3 days, 2 Museum entrance fee(No need to stand in line), plus discounts in other museums. The TI outside the railway station was closed. Rick Steve’s had said that there is one TI at platform number 23 or 24. So we spent 15 minutes walking up and down the platform searching for it and finally went to the car rental near that platform and found the TI hiding there. The TI was supposed to be open until 8:30, we were there at 8 and the ladies there closed it down and refused to sell us the Roma Pass 😦 With disappointment walked to our hotel, Hotel Guiliana. Since it was dark, it was difficult to read the street names, but somehow managed. The hotel was this old building with huge doors. It was ok. After storing the luggage away, stepped out to the halaal pizza place which was next door to our hotel. Took some slices for take out. It was ok. Then retired for the day.
Next morning got up early and left for Vatican in the Metro from the Republica station. Got down at Cipro. Later fond out that Otaviano station is closer than Cipro.
We were at the Museum gate at around 7:20 am. There were around 500 people ahead of us. But without much wait, we were inside Vatican by 8:30 am. The highlight of the day was that they charged me youth fee though I told them I not a youth anymore. What will we do in this world, if not for these simple pleasures!! The ticket prices in all the museums had sky rocketed. We took the audio tour as well. If you don’t take the audio tour, it is a easy short walk from the Systine Chappel to the Basilica. If you take the audio tour, you need to come back to the Museum entrance to give the audio guide back. It was sad to see the violence in all the paintings. One can only imagine the atrocities commited in the name of religion. Makes me pray harder for a peaceful world. The Sistine Chappel was breathtaking. Michael Angelo has stolen my heart. The spiral staircase on the way out was cool!
Spiral Staircase Vatican Museum
After spending around 3 hours, walked to the St. Peter’s Basilica. There was a huge line for the Duomo. Waited for about 30 mins and gave up. Decided to come back the next day. Went inside the Basilica. It is grand. Reeks of wealth. The best part is Michael Angelo’s Pieta. It is breathtaking. Make sure you take your binacular to check out the Michael Angelo’s autograph across Mary.
Michael Angelo's Pieta
The cherrubs are huge After spending 30 mins, walked to Castel Sant’Angelo. On the way grabbed some awesome gelato as usual. Got the Roma Pass from the information center there.
From there walked to Piazza Del Popolo. A very nice walk by the Tiber. From there took a bus to Corso d’Italia and walked to Villa Borghese. We had taken a reservation there by phone. We were there an hour early. So grabbed lunch from the cafe. Awesome pizza. Cheapest and good in the whole of Rome. Then went inside the gallery. Nice one. The statues were wonderful so were the paintings. Spent around an hour and half. Came out and took the park mini train for a tour of the Villa Borghese. It was nice and relaxing. Took the bus to Spagna, from there took the Metro to Baberini. Walked to the Trevi fountain from Barberini. Got ourseleves one more gelato and soaked in the beauty of Trevi.
After throwing some customary coins on the fountain, walked to the Spanish steps. Sat there for sometime. Nice view of Rome from the top with the sunsetting and the choirs filling the air from the church. It was a nice atmosphere. Then returned back to our hotel in the metro.
Relaxed, freshened up and went to Trattoria Antica Boheim for dinner as per the recommendation of Ashwin from Hotel Guiliana. It was pretty good. The gnocchi and pesto linguine, the roasted potatoes, house wine.. One word Yum! After a wonderful dinner, walked ourselves to the nearby internet cafe at Via Napoli and mailed to friends and family. (About 1.50Euro per hour). Came back to the hotel and called it another wonderful but busy day!!