After more than 24hrs travelling time and some 36hrs since we actually left home, we arrived in Rome! Carolyn has booked all our accommodation through AirBnB and Fabrizio (the contact for where are staying in Rome) organised a car service to pick us up at the airport. It was quite exciting to come through customs and immigration to see a rather tall Italian man holding a sign with your name on it.
We were taken to a gorgeous apartment that Carolyn booked through AirBnB which is just a 2-minute walk from the Trevi Fountain. If you are ever looking for a place to stay in Rome that is central, comfortable and spacious this is it, you can get the details from Carolyn. The Apartment has its own private courtyard and it is very quiet.
Our first day in Rome meant heading out in search of sim cards for our phones (we went with TIM) and we came across the Spanish Steps, there were so many people but we joined them anyway, taking the 135 steps to the top for spectacular views, and joining the crowd to sit for a while.
Day two in Rome was our colosseum day. Carolyn had booked us a tour with an English tour guide which included entry into the ruins of the Roman Forum. Both are a must see if you ever get a chance to visit Italy and spend a day or two in Rome. We think everyone should visit Rome at least once in their life.
Day three (today) was Vatican day. Carolyn had again booked us an English speaking tour which took us through the Vatican museum, Sistine Chapel and into the Basilica. We couldn’t get over the opulence, power and wealth on display. It is hard to reconcile these things with the life and message of Jesus.
In contrast to the opulence of the Basilica was the Vatican Scavi Tour that goes through the excavations below Saint Peter’s Basilica. Only 250 people are allowed through each day – compare to the 30,000 that visit the Vatican Museums! There are only two English tours each day so you will need to book 3-4 months in advance.
The Scavi tour was the best thing all day, to actually stand on the original Romans streets and see tombs and crypts that date back to the 1st & 2nd century was truly amazing. The most moving part of the Scavi tour was seeing the tomb of the Apostle Peter, confirmation that the Apostle really lived, visited Rome and was crucified as history suggested. In addition, the discovery of Peter’s actual tomb in 1968 further validates the New Testament recorded. We were not aloud to take photos on the tour – here is a youtube clip with some brief information on the excavations under the Vatican – https://youtu.be/aQNchugB3hc
From the lowest point in the Vatican, we then climb to the highest point via 368 steps to the top of the Basilica for spectacular 360-degree views of Rome which capped off a full day which included walking over 20km or more than 26000 steps!
Feel free to check out the photos from the Colosseum and Vatican via the following links or from the photo page.
Tomorrow we are planning a rest day.