Travel Profile: Rome
Christine and I continued to city-hop using the county’s impressively smooth Trenitalia train system. We arrived in Rome, the dramatic climax to a wonderful Italian romp.
Despite being the oldest city on our trip, this was by far the most lively. At times, its hustle and bustle traffic was reminiscent of New York. But with its ancient wonders peppered throughout modern architecture, Rome contains a bizarre landscape of a city smeared across 3,000 years of time.
To experience Rome in only four nights was ambitious, especially while maintaining our carefree honeymoon rhythm. While much larger than Venice and Florence, we were still able to walk through Rome and even to the Vatican city-state.
The lines were close to unbearable to enter St. Peter’s Basilica, but the spectacle outmeasured the wait. Even with no religious affiliation, the magnitude and decadence of the capital Catholic church can be appreciated by all. Join the masses and hike to the top of the Basilica for a top-notch view of Rome. Walk through the marble halls and gaze at Michelango’s Pietà, St. John Paul II’s tomb and the crypt of the church’s past Popes. The best site can only be entered from outside of the Vatican walls; the masterpiece Sistine Chapel accessed through the Vatican Museum.
Day Trip: Pompeii. While not in Rome, we were close enough to visit the permanently frozen Roman city of Pompeii. Taking the Trenitalia to Naples and then public transportation to Pompeii, the trek was well-worth it to see the ancient ruins. Be sure to grab an audio guide to make the most of your time travel wandering.
Rome also included a smattering of trendy, mom-and-pop cafes, fashionable boutiques and piazzas and parks that make for beautiful strolls. We ended our trip in the Colosseum, a mammoth arena that’s impressively well-preserved despite its 2,000-year age. Next time (and there will be a next time), we will visit the Pantheon, Trevi Fountain and any of Rome's many museums (they must be incredible, right?).
As an appropriate followup to our adventure, Christine and I watched both Angels and Demons and Gladiator on the flight back home. We hope to come back to Italy soon, perhaps starting in Rome and traveling southward to Sicily.