Mediterranean Trip Report: Rome

Rob & I just got back from a week-long trip to the island of Providenciales (aka Provo) in the Turks & Caicos Islands along with my brother-in-law and his wife. It was HEAVENLY! I’m one of those people who gets a little stir crazy at the thought of spending hours and hours at the beach but that’s pretty much what we did each day. 🙂 I’ll share some pics whenever I get around to downloading them from the camera.

In the meantime, let’s head back to the Mediterranean — this time to Rome!

Wednesday, September 4

Since we only had one day in port, we knew we wanted to go on a guided excursion to do and see as much as possible. It was my second time in Rome but Rob’s first so of course we wanted to hit the main tourist spots like the Colosseum, Vatican Museum, etc. Thanks to Cruise Critic, we not only discovered Rome in Limo but we also found a couple of other parties to share our tour costs. We had a small group of 8, an air-conditioned van, a driver (Nick) and a private guide for the Vatican Museum (Katarina). It was an awesome experience!

Nick picked us up promptly at 8am at Civitavecchia harbor and kept our van entertained the entire 45 minutes it took to get to central Rome.

Our first stop was the Pantheon.



Rob at the Fontana del Pantheon.



The exterior.



The Pantheon Dome with an opening to the sky.



So much to see inside — paintings, sculptures, the tomb of Raphael.



On the way to our next stop, we drove by the Piazza Colonna.



A visit to the Trevi Fountain is a must. Gotta throw in a coin to ensure our next trip back! I love how it just randomly appears before your eyes — you would never even know it was there.



It was ridiculously crowded, though, not to mention hot, which made it hard to enjoy. I would have loved to spend some time here at night.



Drove by the Spanish Steps…



And the Monumento Nazionale a Vittorio Emanuele II (aka the wedding cake). It’s so beautiful but seems out of place amongst the other nearby sights – just me?



Traveling down Via dei Fori Imperiali…



To the Colosseum!



WOW.



The scale, both inside and out, is amazing.



Taking selfies. And trying not to think about how FREAKING hot it was inside. There was barely any shade and the sun was scorching.



It’s crazy to think this is the very same theatre where ancient Romans watched gladiator fights.



I believe these are the underground tunnels where animals were kept before shows.



Back outside looking over at the surrounding ruins and the Arch of Constantine.

On the way to Vatican City, we stopped to admire the gorgeous view…



It’s hard not to love this city.



Our afternoon was spent at the Vatican Museum. We met our guide Katarina and even though there was a huge long line at the entrance, we walked right in through the guided tour entrance. Yay for no waiting!



It was unbelievably crowded that day (likely due to the papal audience earlier in the morning) so we only had time to see paintings and sculptures that were along the way to the Sistine Chapel.

I have to admit that finally getting in to see the Sistine Chapel ceiling was a big disappointment. Not so much for me but for Rob (I’ve seen it before). It was crowded, people were talking loudly and ruining the atmosphere, and the security guards were surly and yelling at people. I found it hard to really appreciate and enjoy the spectacular art surrounding us.

The last stop of our day was St. Peter’s Basilica.



STUNNING! And it was so much more spacious in here.



It turned out that everyone was viewing the Pieta, Michelangelo’s famous sculpture of Mary holding Jesus after his Crucifixion.



Looking back at the Basilica.



I loved seeing the Swiss soldiers who guard the gates of Vatican City.

It was a loooong (and hot) day in Rome so at this point, we were ready to head back to the ship. I have to admit that while I still adore the city, I did feel a little disappointed in this second visit. I suspect the crowds and our limited time had something to do with that. When we make it back to Italy again (cause there WILL be a next time!), I really want to spend a few more days in Rome to really savor the city.



Thank you Civitavecchia for taking care of the ship while we were out exploring!

For more pics, check our Flickr here.