So our trip consisted of 3N Rome, 2N Florence and 3N Venice. In Florence, we made a day trip to Pis, and in Venice, a day trip to Verona..We did not go to Milan as we only had 8 Nights and wish to stretch our time exploring without rush.
We flew with KLM/ Royal Dutch Airlines to Rome. It was a total of 15 hours flying time with 1 hour transit at Amsterdam. Food is good in KLM, very good!
We arrived at FCO (Fiumcino) Airport. The airport is a 1 hour distance to the city, so you can choose to go there by taxi, train or bus.
Price wise, my advice here is to buy a shuttle bus ticket at the counters. You can find many operating companies. A ticket costs about about 5-6 Euros. The bus will take you to Roma Termini, which is the main train station at Rome. There is NO NEED to PRE PURCHASE this ticket ahead, which was what I did! Being the overly anxious me, Ive googled for shuttle bus tickets and purchased them with Terravision. (Boo Terravision, Boooo!)
When we arrived at the gate outside the airport (there are numbered gates for different buses), there was a long line of people already waiting. More and more people queued up, but the bus was nowhere in sight! The wind was chilly and there were no seats, I was so mad because we stood there close to 45 minutes, and my winter coat was stuffed inside my luggage (I didn't wanna embarrass myself opening it up in front of everyone...) !! We were literally 'makan angin' -ing.
Other tourists/locals who bought tickets from other companies did not even have to wait, they arrive at the gate number and just boarded their bus. Buses come and go, we got even more impatient. There were so many irritated faces among us~
Then, FINALLY, it came. Even so, we realized that we wouldn't even get to get on it. People were squeezing to get up the bus and the conductor only allowed those without heavy luggage to go in first. Hazel immediately suggested that we hop on to the other bus beside our gate. Without hesitation, we spent another 5 Euros to get onto the bus. (Anything to get a good comfy seat!!)
|Say no to Terravision!!|
When I looked to the Terravision bus, there were people STANDING because there wasn't space anymore. Don't buy tickets from them, seriously. Be it pre purchase or on the spot.
We stayed at Hotel MonteCarlo, a 10 minute walk from Roma Termini. About Roma Termini, Ive never seen such a pretty train station in my life. It was like a mini shopping mall.
Hotel Montecarlo was probably the best hotel we stayed in Italy,
Okay I got to say this. Other than the many gorgeous buildings and views here, guys are gorgeous as heck, And they are like pigeons here. Everywhere you go, you're bound to see a really tall and handsome dark haired stranger. Why Malaysia no like this? Its kinda a culture shock maybe, because handsome guys in Malaysia? erm. 1 in a 100? No no, make that 1000. hahaha.
|*Pretty women too.|
One major regret Hazel and I have is not having a picture taken with Michael, our super charming and dashing and tall and gentlemanly, extremely handsome receptionist. (OMG I sound so fangirl-ly). He is so gentleman okay, once we step into the hotel, he hurried to our side and stopped us from carrying our luggage up the stairs. Whenever we have any concerns, small matter such as no wifi signal in our room, he reacted as if our wallets were stolen or something. He was just that meticulous, proficient and very sweet!
Okay. I shall stop.
Onwards to my Roman Holiday!
(Go watch Audrey Hepburn's Roman Holiday, a classic old film that is a must watch! Also When in Rome if you haven't :)
Gosh, I couldn't believe my own voice when I said to Hazel, "We're in Rome. We're in Rome. We're in Italy'. I LOVE ancient Roman history, myths and legends and all! It was raining on our first day so we abandoned plans of going to the Coliseum.
We bought some tidbits at the Termini, I saw many people with dogs walking in and out of the train~ We then headed to the Pantheon by 3 plus. As said in the previous post, we've rented a wifi hotspot called Witourist so we navigated there quite alright. :)
*Trevi Fountain was unfortunately, in construction. It was one of the place that we were most excited to visit. Nevertheless we did throw coins into the empty fountain, along with many others. I hope the legend of being able to comeback to Rome holds true. :)
|Beautiful top inside the Pantheon|
|Passed by so many beautiful churches|
|Santa Maria Sopra church. image courtesy of google (too dark to take pic)|
|Artwork on one of the walls|
We visited a church near the Pantheon called Santa Maria Sopra Minerva. It was breath-takingly beautiful. Hazel said it's the most beautiful one among all the churches we visited in Italy and its the one she likes most. I would say Saint Peter's Basilica but SMSM (short form lol) was really serene with beautiful organ music playing in the background. It was dark and there were no artificial lighting, the source of light came only from the candles. Do go visit this church and see the beauty for yourself. It's admission is free btw.
|Saw this cool looking door handle|
We took the metro, which is easily accessed, to Spagna from Repubblica.
|Repubblica by day|
|Repubblica by night|
End of Day 1
We went to the Spanish Steps but it was too dark to take nice photos, planned to come by again in the morning. Had dinner and the Carbonara was a FAILURE. Seriously felt ripped off cuz it was just bland dry pasta, scrambled egg and some pieces of bacon. For the price of RM36. -____-
Anyway, please do get this biscuit in Italy. It is so yummy!
|Oro Ciok Latte/Milk Chocolate flavour. Miss it already|
We got some good rest so decided to dress up abit and do hair/makeup. haha.
It was a fine sunny day, in fact many people took off their jacket since it was a little warm.
Visited the Coliseum (Collosseum spelling also correct ), Palatine hill and Roman Forum. Went to Vittorio Emanuel Monument for a good bird's eye-view of the city and then off to Trastevere, a charming little neighborhood across the Tiber River.
(Anyway, one thing about having Hazel with me is that all my photos look so nice okay! She is seriously so talented in capturing my good angle hahaha. I feel that I did a nice job with hers, maybe not as good but ok la. :p )
|Inside the Colisseum|
|The original Arch of Constantine|
|Good shot from me!|
|Two lost child|
|wondering how to go to the Forum|
I can just imagine the Romans thousands of years ago, walking on these roads, living about their lives. This was their city center, where the people gather and discuss over matters and held meetings and such.
|silly us missed the entrance beside|
|Vittorio Emanuel monument|
|look so tall here haha.|
After visiting Vittorio Emanuel, we missed out walking over to the Trajan Market where more ancient ruins can be seen. I think its because of exhaustion from all that sight seeing? Anyway you can choose to visit the Coliseum in day one and come back the second day to continue on to the Palatine hill/forum then Vittorio Emanuel.
We went across the Tiber river via a bridge to Trastevere, a very merry neighborhood. We really liked the vibe here, there were songs and performances on the street. It was a very relaxed atmosphere.
|Had Gelato at Fior di Luna, located in Trastevere. |
I had orange and it was so full of zest! Great for a long day walking
|Visit Santa Maria church here in Trastevere|
|Night scene at Trastevere|
End of Day 2
We do really emphasize on a pair of GOOD shoes. All that walking can take a toll on your feet!
Last day Rome. We went back to the Spanish steps to take a picture. But alas, picture isn't clear enough.. :/
Anyway I dint get what was so special with the Spanish steps. To me, they are just staircases? And the Timberland ad completely ruined the picture too. haha.
Fontana della Barcaccia
(Fontana Della Barraccia a fountain shaped like a half sunken boat here in Spagna, its because there once was a flood in year 1598 about a metre high. When the water receded, a boat was left behind. )
We then visited a little alley that is not well known by many.
It's called Via Margutta. Come in the morning where there is little people.
The alley is so green, a welcome sight from all the marble whites/greys from the buildings around.
After Margutta, we walked straight to Piazza Popolo, translated it means the people's square.
One of the pretty city squares in Rome.
Apparently, it was used as an execution site long ago. o_O
The handsome polizia we ran into! Seriously, after I've posted this picture on FB, the number of likes never stopped growing even till the 7th day being in Italy. LOL
|The tall Egyptian obelisk of Sety I|
For you history buffs out there, the obelisk was erected originally during 10BC at Circus Maximus under orders of Augustus Caesar. It was then relocated here.
I found an old painting of Piazza Papolo,
before the fountains were built around it~
After that, we took a metro to Ottaviano. We headed straight to St Peter's Basilica located in Vatican City. It's one of the largest church in the world! The square is soooooo just beautiful.
Take note that before you enter the church, you have to go through security check. Remember not to take anything sharp with you!
Upon entering the church, you'll be swept off your feet! My camera does not do it justice, so i googled a pic. It is just so majestic. Couldn't help marvel at the interior.
We decided to try climbing up the stairs to reach the roof and the cupola/dome. There are two parts of stairs totaling to 551 steps!
|The dome, you can climb up the stairs for a better view|
The stairs are so narrow its a little claustrophobic.
|Reached the dome!|
Reaching the dome, we were a little disappointed (there's actually nothing much to the dome )and a little more breathless. lol. And then we continue to the top.
So tiring I tell you. We stopped and rested a couple of times. Even saw a father carrying his sleeping child on his shoulders, wonder how he can do such thing.
Many times we reached the end of the stairs thinking we've made it, only to find a new start to another flight of stairs! This just shows how little cardio I've been doing. haha.
Seriously, I do not know how people from those days construct these things. How? How? And how can they climb up and down like this in a daily basis??
So when we finally reached on top, we got rewarded! Amazing sight from the cupola.
Hazel snapped a photo while I just opted to rest and close my eyes. I couldn't wait to get down and be done with it. Thankfully you can use the elevator going down.
After rehydrating ourselves, we proceeded to go to the Vatican museum. Oh did I mention we saw Jane Chuck?? We didn't get a photo, she walked too fast!
Anyway you can use your student ID to get 50 percent off from the admission ticket.
Hazel and I appreciate and admire the beautiful things in life, however in this case, beautiful things are aplenty so we got bored. haha. I think Sistine Chapel is nice, picture taking isn't allowed though.
I saw my first ever mummy!! I love Egyptian stuff so this was pretty cool.
We were quite captivated by the gallery of maps.
We exited and it was evening.
Crossed the Bridge of Angels but it was too dark to see the angels clearly.
They used to hang criminals here. o_o
St Peter's Basilica in the distance.
And that's the end of my Roman journey :)
Next up.. Florence