Our second destination in Italy was Rome. Besides all sights our main
purpose to visit the eternal city was a wedding of Hazel’s university
Again, we had booked our accommodation through www.airbnb.com
and stayed with an Italian Lady and her son and their lovely white cat.
They were the typical Italian hosts, where Mom tells the son how to do
everything down to the last detail. The apartment was only a ten minute
walk away from the Colosseum – all in all a perfect setting for our stay
in the capital. This time we were lucky there was an elevator within
the building, no more panting and huffing after a long day of
sightseeing. In hindsight we should have checked first in Florence,
living in Singapore, we have taken it for granted that all buildings
come with elevators.
The afternoon we spent with exploring the
area around the Colloseum and Circus Maximus. Rome feels like an open
air museum. Nearly at every other corner you will run into an old ruin,
pillar, monument and church. After a pizza for lunch we continued our
exploration and visited the Monumento Nazionale a Vittorio Emanuele II
which was built to honour Victor Emmanuel (sounds logically, doesn’t
it), the first king of a unified Italy. Built in 1885, it’s probably the
most “smack-in-your-face” building in Rom (see pictures). One only
wonders why former president and “bunga-bunga-king” Silvio Berlusconi
didn’t manage to build one of these temples for its own – but Italian
politics is a different story. The evening of our first day in Rome was
reserved for a dinner with the to-be-married couple and some wedding
The second day started with a nice breakfast prepared by
our hosts. A home stay is really a nice thing to get into touch with
locals and their culture. Our first stop was the Trevi Fountain, about
another thousand other tourists were there too. Nevertheless we managed
to take a few pictures. Threw two coins into the fountain. First wish
was the return to Rome again. Second wish was to wish for another
thousand wishes J Later on we split up as the girls of the wedding
decided to have a girls’ only shopping day. Men were only need to carry
the shopping bags at the end of theday. Kevin was thankful that he had
some time of his own and was not dragged into all of Rome’s handbag
stores (all guys reading this will understand what I mean). So Kevin
visited the Piazza del Popolo and enjoyed its reading time while Hazel
fulfilled all the bag orders from her relatives back home (Kevin is
still in shock about the number of bags bought) Hazel: Not that many
lah! Can’t even fill up the whole suitcase, only half of it.
next day was the wedding of Hazel’s friend. It was a very nice and very
private wedding which everybody enjoyed a lot. Dinner was on a romantic
rooftop of a boutique hotel. They served a mean piece of meat! The beef
just melts in your mouth! It overlooked the sunset of Rome. Hazel
shamelessly got the bride’s bouquet by asking for it.
rested we headed into the fourth day in Rome on which we wanted to see
the Vatican. Again we were met by a steady stream of tourists on the way
to the Holy Sea. However the queue to get into the Vatican was
manageable and so we were in the center of the Catholic Church in less
than a quarter of an hour. The St. Peter’s Basilica is nothing short of
breathtaking. It’s hard to describe its overwhelming size and richness
of interior. Again we let the pictures speak for themselves.
the afternoon we strolled through the city and stopped by a few more
sights. One to mention is the Pantheon. The building is nearly two
thousands year old and its dome is still the world’s largest
unreinforced concrete dome. We were amazed by the architectural skills
the people in olden Rome, structures were built to last an eternity.
four days in Rome we explored outwards on a day trip to near-by Tivoli
which is famous for its renaissance gardens. We visited Villa d’Este
with its lush greenery and elaborate fountains where we spent a very
relaxed and easy going afternoon.
Our last day in Rome was
dedicated to more sightseeing and led us to a small hill which offered a
superb view of the city and its impressive buildings. We spent the late
afternoon on the Spanish Steps watching tourist clicking their cameras
away and the illegal hawkers trying to sell their wares on the steps.