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Steph’s Travel Diary

Wednesday, 14 May 2008

Location: Rome, Italy

MapWell after all the warnings about Rome being hectic and chaotic and to watch for pickpockets, we had no worries at all. First on the agenda in was the Vatican. The art and architecture is just breathtaking. We were fortunate to go on a guided tour with an archaeology and art graduate who was very passionate and gave us a great tour. We saw just a small part of the Vatican, including my favourite Hall of Maps, Hall of Tapestries, the Roman sculpture exhibit, St Peters with Pieta by Michelangelo and of course the Sistine Chapel, where every square inch of ceiling and wall is covered in amazing paintings by the Masters. Then we went down into the crypt area where all the popes have their tombs and finally a walk through the square where the Pope gives his mass.

We also visted a few sites of Ancient Rome, including the Palatine Hill where all the Emperors and important people in Rome had luxurious houses. We were a little disappointed with both Palatine Hill and the Forum because there was no map to guide you round the ruins, no audio guide and no signage, which makes it hard to know exactly what you are looking at. Luckily we had a small guidebook we had purchased so we could at least distinguish some of the buildings, unlike a lot of other tourists who seemed to be wandering around aimlessly exclaiming, I have no idea what this is but it must be old! Nonetheless it was amazing to see sights in the Forum such as the Rostra where Julius Caesar addressed the people and the House of the Vestal Virgins.

Next stop the Collesseum, which really was amazing. You could just imagine the arena full of cheering Romans as the gladiators or animals put on a spectacle in the middle. Our last stop was the Trevi Fountain, which is just stunning we didn't throw a coin in the water we are but humble backpackers and need to hang on to every last cent! But Matt drank some water, which also means you will return to Rome.

I don't know if we have mentioned before just how many motorised scooters there are in Italy. They don't seem to recognise road rules so we had to keep our wits about us crossing the road!

We had some unfortunately rainy weather in Rome and would have liked more time to explore other sights. But it was a good introduction.