I was wide awake again at 4am on day two, so I decided to just get cracking.
I’d guess I walked about 10km around the city. My intention was to start with the Roman Forum and Colosseum and see how I was going to for time and energy for anything else.
On the walk over I met another very friendly policeman – Simon (no photo of this one). He wasn’t interested in where I was going or helping me get there, he just wanted to know where my ‘amici’ was and why I was out alone. And of course, did I want to have caffe with him?
I pretended I knew exactly where I was going (and told him my amici was in bed with jetlag) and came around the bend to find this.
This is what I loved about Rome. Every time I turned a corner, I found something I knew nothing about that made me stop and stare for 10 minutes. The building in the picture is the Monumento Nazionale a Vittorio Emanuele II. In English, the National Monument to Victor Emmanuel II or Altar of the Fatherland. It’s a World War I monument. I tried for quite a while but couldn’t really take a photo that did it justice.
The first day I saw it there was no one around (it was 8am) and I didn’t realise you could actually go inside. I passed by the next day and it was crawling with people so I went in. You can go up to the roof on the first level and see out over the Colosseum and the rest of the ruins on that side of town.
The rest of day two was taken up by the Colosseum, the Trevi Fountain, the Spanish Steps – and the Piazza Navona – another place I found by accident.
I won’t bore you with my thoughts on the history of the Colosseum. Suffice to say, I spent three hours in there (again with a skip-the-line-pre-purchased-ticket and an audio guide) and it felt like half an hour. There’s something very unreal about standing inside something that old, that enormous and that incredibly well built. (Yes, I know, half of it is missing. There was an earthquake and looters. It’s not their fault).
The only thing I found disappointing about Rome (and I’m reaching) is that the Trevi Fountain was being restored. It wasn’t closed, but it was empty and covered in scaffolding. They had a gang walk across the middle so you could get up close to the sculptures by way of compensation – which was actually pretty impressive.
Since I was close by, I continued on from the Trevi Fountain to the Spanish Steps. Another thing I knew nothing about but knew I was meant to see. As it turns out, Spring is the best time to see them, when they’re covered in azaleas. It was the perfect place to stop for gelati and a rest. Other than the fact that it was ridiculously packed. The Spanish Steps were beautiful, but kind of paled in comparison to the other things I saw that day.
I had one more day in Rome, that I spent, again, just getting lost. Then I moved on to Vernazza in the Cinque Terre.