Our first full day in Rome was a Saturday – we had a great breakfast, which I will post more about soon. We got out early enough to start our day. Our planned stops were the Colosseum and Galleria Borghese. Everything else was at our leisure.
To get to the Colosseum we had to get the train from the stop near our accommodation. While walking down to it, we came across a church and decided to go in. This was Santa Maria degli Angeli e dei Martiri. To show how looks can deceive in Rome, this is the church exterior –
This is the interior –
Some of the original church –
It was stunning and again, so breathtaking. Imagine this being your local parish?!
This fountain outside the church provided a lovely breeze!
The trains were great… here is their subway!
When we got to the Colosseum it was PACKED. The line snaked around but our saving grace was in the distance we saw a sign that read ‘Roma Pass’. So we walked towards it and past all of those people! It is such a great feeling – especially since we knew the Roma Pass would get us in but I didn’t envisage us not having to line up at all. We didn’t opt to do a tour or anything like that… instead just using the time to be on our own and take it in.
We spent a while there after walking up to the top level and back down and by this time it was nearly lunchtime so from the Colosseum we jumped on a bus as we wanted to check out the San Giovanni in Laterano Basilica and also get some lunch. Across from San Giovanni in Laterano was a little pizza place that sold pizza by the pound. It was just an everyday neighbourhood place but wow the pizza was absolutely amazing… and so cheap!
Beautiful potato pizza –
I look definitely look like I am possessed by pizza –
Then we really, really needed some gelato… 😉
Tabacchi machines are everywhere –
So then, it was time to check out San Giovanni in Laterano. Not a lot of people realize but St Peter’s Basilica is not the ‘home church’ of the Pope. San Giovanni in Laterano is the cathedral of the Diocese of Rome and within the church it is actually ‘ranked’ higher than St Peter’s. Although it is located outside the Vatican walls, it is actually
classed as a Vatican property. This church is very, very special – this IS the mother church of the Catholic church and yet, so many people don’t think to visit it! San Giovanni in Laterano was overwhelmingly beautiful and serene and a wonderful place for contemplation. If you are in Rome, do NOT miss it!
After spending longer than we thought at San Giovanni in Laterano, we got on a tiny little bus to get to Galleria Borghese. There are normal sized buses in Rome and also mini buses that get down the tiny side streets. They are awesome and the perfect way to travel as you can see even more of the city while resting your feet!
On the bus I thought we missed our stop for the Villa Borghese and we ended up alighting a few stops before we should have. This meant we had a avery hilly walk to the park but we were able to sit down and relax and watch the world go buy on one of the park benches. The weather was very humid and warm but we got a spot in the shade and it was beautiful!
Galleria Borghese requires a reservation before you go and you are limited to a strict two hour time limit only. As we wanted to use our Roma Pass, I actually had to call them two months before we left to ask them to reserve a Roma Pass spot for both of us. I must say, leaving it until 5pm was not the best idea just because by this time our feet were tired and it was so warm – we were both pretty tired. I don’t think either of us fully appreciated to collection. Also, just as baffling was that a majority of the museums do not have air conditioning. So inside it was hot and stuffy and packed with people – we just couldn’t really enjoy it but, we were glad we stuck it out. After an hour, we found ourselves back outside in the garden enjoying the breeze that was coming off a fountain and provided us with some refreshing air!
I chose Galleria Borghese as our last visit for the day because it was close to our accommodation so we could walk straight back afterwards.
For dinner we wanted to go to Santopadre, a great restaurant that I had read about. Unfortunately, they were closed for a private function. We were so disappointed because when we got to see what it was like inside, we wanted to just stay there! In the end, we were so hungry, we chose the next restaurant we saw. It seemed to have a mix of tourists and locals eating there so we went for it. Il Sorrisio ended up being a great choice. In fact, I think I had the greatest gnocchi of my life here! Everyone was so nice, it is a lovely little neighbourhood restaurant and everyone there was having a great time watching soccer and drinking wine.
We needed to have an early night because our alarm was set to wake up at 5.30am… it was time to spend some time with Pope Benedict!