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Rome, Italy

Rome was a whirlwind trip. We had just two nights and three full days to visit. But in our standard fashion, we made the best of a fantastic city and experienced the history and culture that Rome offers. The highlights–

-The Roman collesium and the Forum including Palatine hill
-The fountains (excluding Trevi fountain which is under repair)
-The Spanish steps
-Watching bike cops swoop in on some street vendors selling cityscape paintings and shut them down, taking all their wares
-Going over to Testaccio or Trastevere for dinner
-Walking the city at night while a lightning storm highlighted the sky behind historic buildings and ruins
-Staying at the Westin Excelsior and being upgraded to an elegant suite – and breakfast was pretty good. (The wifi signal didn’t reach into our room and engineering and the front desk couldn’t accept there was a problem. Further, some breakfast staff spoke poor English. One morning I ordered a Latte and an iced latte for my wife. The confused waiter brought a jug of hot milk and a jug of cold milk.)
-Walking through the Sistine Chapel. This is best experienced with an audio guide, we found. Another trick, when exiting the chapel take the exit on the far right side. Yes, it says groups only but it is a shortcut straight into St. Peter’s basilica. 
-Walking past the St. Regis (Le Grand hotel) and the beautiful basilica beside it. I had stayed at the St. Regis last visit. 
-Catching the Chinese Silk Road tour vehicles depart Rome

This was my second time to Rome, 8 years after first seeing the city. Some things have changed but I recalled most sites. Read and see pictures from my previous visit. 

Parting thoughts. Rome is magical. Where else can you explore ruins and history like in Rome? On the other hand, I have little good to say about the Vatican. What a queuing nightmare compounded by a ‘society’ of money lovers. And did I mention the hoards of ‘foreigners’ trying to sell fast pass entry tickets? The experience of so much fine artwork, history, religion and more gets ruined by the way the Vatican is operated. Vatican: please clean up your act. 


Links discussed or sites we used on our trip:

All of our Rome Colosseum photographs:

All of our Rome Vatican and Vatican artwork photographs:

Listing of some of the Top 100 Vatican exhibits that we saw and photographed:

Antonio Braschi
Sarcophagus of Costantia
Sarcophagus of St Helena
Dama del vaticano
Mummy of Taymen, circa 750 BC
Ptolemy II and Arsinoe II
Funerary reliefs from Palmyra
Biga: two horse chariot
Risen from the tomb
Peter delivered from prison, Raffaello
Room of the fire in the Borgo, Raffaello
Pieta, by Van Gogh
The trinity, Dali
Study for Velazquez, Pope II, by Francis Bacon
The Sistine Chapel

More about the Chinese Silk Road tour. This episode shows the team leaving China:

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