Rome Round Two

Days 19 & 20: Archeological sites and walking tour

As for accommodations this time around, we went back to the same campsite from Rome Round One, only this time we opted for a bungalow (mobile home with a bathroom and a heater -- good enough). It was still cold out, and after almost two weeks of sleeping in a tent, we were pretty over the idea of setting up camp.

Eager to get back home to Au, we planned for only one full day and a half in Rome to cram in the sights we missed the first time around. One thing we hadn't planned for was the crazy amount of tourists this time of year. Just days before Christmas the campsite was a bit deserted, and now a few days into the New Year the place was packed. Plus, when we finally made our way down to the bus stop, we found ourselves waiting with about two busloads of people from camp all waiting to catch the ONE bus that goes to the metro stop to catch the metro that goes to the city center. Forty-five minutes later, we finally made it on the bus.

Once on the metro, we exited at the Colosseo stop, and what we saw when our eyes met the daylight was a sea of shiny-jacket people. Tourists everywhere. Who are these crazy people who visit really cold places in the winter? Ourselves included, of course. The line to enter the Colosseum? Ridiculous. I told Isaiah that it would probably not be as crowded at one of the other sites (Roman Forum, Colosseum, and Palatine Hill are all under one ticket for 12 Euros that's valid for 2 days), so we headed over to the Roman Forum entrance, and sure enough it was much more bearable. We bought our tickets and waited around for our free English language tour to begin.

I'm not sure how often this happens, but when we bought our tickets, the clerk asked if we wanted to join a free tour, so of course we accepted. We had the pleasure of visiting the frescoed inside of the Temple of Romulus, which up until recently was normally closed to the public. Our guide gave us some background information on the temple, explaining that the very bronze doors through which we entered were part of the temple's original decoration from the 4th century AD. You can peer into the temple from the church of Santi Cosma e Damiano, but what made our tour and visit exceptional was an organized theatrical performance inside the temple.

Because the archaeological sites close early during the winter (3 pm), we would have to wait until the morning to visit the Palatine and Colosseum. For the rest of the evening, we wandered around using self-guided walking tour cards, window-shopped, stopped into the Vittorio Emanuele monument, and enjoyed views of the city at night. Rome seemed to be even more lively once the sun went down. It made us really miss the nightlife we had back in SD -- ho hum. Anyway, there was a funny little seasonal "shopping bus" that ran in a loop from Piazza Venezia to the train station, so we hopped on to warm up a bit. We made the loop a couple of times, no lie. Hey, it was free of charge!

Temple of Antoninus and Faustina
Entering Temple of Romulus
Isola Tiberina
Circo Massimo
Teatro di Marcello (left)
Love this mix of ancient and modern Rome!

We started our final day in Rome at the Palatine Hill -- the genuine birthplace of ancient Rome. Then we made one final pass through the Forum and on to the Colosseum.

Fragments of Claudian aqueduct, Palatine Hill

I do realize that it's a bit odd of us to be smiling in these photos of the Colosseum, especially since some 9,000 animals died during its inaugural events just for sport. Could it be that we were both that happy to be in Rome? Probably. But those are also the oblivious smiles of two tourists who have not yet discovered they've been robbed. Yes, when we got back to our car, we discovered the driver's side lock had been broken and a thief had managed to make off with our navigation system (but not my MacBook -- thank the Lord)! Upon discovery of our loss, we flagged down the carabinieri who directed us to their nearest office. Two hours later, we got a great police report written up, ready to hand it to our car insurance company. Through all this we somehow managed to stay calm. Somehow we even made it to our hotel in Florence that night using just the maps in our guidebooks and one I grabbed from the train station tourist office...

As for the car -- blessed Swiss car insurance took care of everything when we got back: car lock repaired within one week and the value of our navigation system reimbursed within two. We didn't even have to pay a deductible.


  1. My gosh, I haven't been to Rome in ages! This post really makes me feel like organizing an impromptu visit sometime soon. My husband has never been to Rome either, I'm sure he'd love it.

    Sorry about the burglary! same thing happened to us the very first time we went ti Milan together. Sascha was furious.

  2. Whew! Thank goodness you didn't get anything major stolen! The ancient and contemporary beauty is still worth the risk of burgularly!

  3. Hi Elisa - Oh no! This sort of thing happens in Milan too? I completely understand the fury, but I think we were too tired to get upset. We got robbed at the very end of a wonderful 3-week trip instead of early on, our car still worked, windows were still intact - it could have been so much worse!

    Fly Girl - Yes, thank goodness. And I completely agree, so worth it. Furthermore, the experience has not negatively affected my view of travel in Italy - it's merely a lesson in "Don't be stupid" (i.e. Don't the navigator mount on the windshield for all the world to see...)


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