jn82’s Epic Adventure

Day 50 [20 Mar 09] – Rome

Posted in Rome by jn82 on March 20, 2009

Wow, day 50 already! Today, we headed back to the Vatican museum which was closed yesterday. The queue to get in was very long, as we had to queue for about an hour before we were able to get in. I was here ten years ago, but forgot most of what was inside except a very hazy memory of the Sistine chapel. There were so many tourists here today, and that kind of spoilt it for me, as everywhere you went you will have to get out of people’s ways or not block them taking photographs.

Below are some random pictures of pieces of art.

Most people come here to see the Sistine Chapel, and while photographs are not allowed inside, I managed to sneak some.

Creation of Adam by Michangelo, on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel.

The Last Judgement by Michangelo, on the front wall of the Sistine Chapel.

After the Vatican museum, we headed for a late lunch, and then on to Piazza del Popolo, which I do not think has any major historical significance, but is just a big plaza.

Piazza del Popolo.

The last stop of the day was to the Spanish Steps, the longest and widest staircase in Europe consisting of 138 steps built from 1723-1725. Not much really goes on there nowadays except a meeting point for people and just a plaza to hang out beside Piazza de Spangna below.

Spanish Steps.

This marks the end of Rome, and off to Naples tomorrow morning!

Today’s pictures here.


Day 49 [19 Mar 09] – Rome

Posted in Rome by jn82 on March 19, 2009

We started today at the Vatican City, intending to visit the Vatican museum first. However that was closed in the morning, so instead we headed off next door to Basilica di San Pietro. According to Wikipedia, St. Peter’s Basilica has the largest interior of any Christian church in the world, holding 60,000 people. It is regarded as one of the holiest Christian sites and has been described as “holding a unique position in the Christian world” and as “the greatest of all churches of Christendom”. In Catholic Tradition, it is the burial site of its namesake Saint Peter.

Exterior of Basilica di San Pietro.

The Vatican Guards.

Interior of Basilica di San Pietro.

Bernini’s “Cathedra Petri” and “Gloria”.

La Pietà di Michelangelo.

After the interior of the basilica, we rode the lift up the equivalent of 120+ stairs, and climbed a further 320 stairs to reach to top of the dome of the basilica, where there was a view of the St. Peter’s Square below, the Vatican City and Rome.

From the top of the dome.

We next headed to Plaza Navona for lunch and to walk around a bit, and then on to the Pantheon (which was closed for a concert so we could not go in!).

Plaza Navona.


The final stop of the day would be to the Trevi fountain, which like the Colosseum, was also closed 10 years ago when I visited for restoration. It was nice to be able to see some of the sights that I missed out on the last visit.

Abount to throw my 0.02€ away.

After two days in Rome, I have come to realised what a touristy place it really is, even now in the winter off season. There are so many tourists all over, similar with Paris. Another thing is the amount of Indian immigrants which are at each of the tourist sites trying to sell stuff to the tourists. They sell all sorts of crap, from cheap souveniers, sunglasses when it is hot, umbrellas when it rains, flimsy tripods, to really wacky items like stress balls and soap balloon bubble guns. Today at the Trevi, there were even around 10 of these guys with polaroid cameras around their necks offering to take photos for tourists. Pretty enterprising bunch of people.

All of today’s photos here.

Day 48 [18 Mar 09] – Rome

Posted in Rome by jn82 on March 19, 2009

Took a three hour and thirty minute Eurostar Italia AV train from Milano Centrale to Roma Termini this morning. The reservation fee of 20€ was the most we have paid so far, but this fast train did save us just under three hours of travel time, and we did want to try out Italy’s fastest train.

Eutostar Italia AV from Milan to Rome.

Inside the first class carriage.

Upon reaching Rome, we dumped our bags at the hostel and headed out to see the city sights. The first stop was to Basilica di San Pietro in Vincoli, which was near the hostel and on the way to the Colosseum. This basilica is best known to be home to Michelangelo’s statue of Moses, as well as housing the relic of the chains which bound Saint Peter when he was imprisoned in Jerusalem.

Michangelo’s Moses.

Saint Peter’s chains.

Interior of the basilica.

The next stop was to somewhere I did not manage to go into when I was in Rome ten years ago with my family, the famous colosseum. If memory serves me right, the colosseum was closed for restoration then. It is quite something to see such an ancient site standing out in the middle of a modern city, but it is also a huge tourist trap as there are probably thousands of tourists on the outside and inside at any one time during the day. Inside the colosseum, an amazing sight awaits. Though what only remains nowadays is a mere shell of what once stood, it is easy to imagine the happenings back in the day when thousands of exotic animals were brought in from around the Roman empire for simulated “hunts” with gladiators. Many more pictures of the remains of the colosseum are in the picture gallery.

View from the east.

View from the south.

On the outside.

After grabbing a quick and overpriced pizza lunch from a mobile vendor outside, we headed to Pelatine Hill to walk amoung the ruins of the Roman and Imperial forums.


We walked around the ruins for a significant part of the afternoon, and headed back to the hostel for a quick rest and check in before heading for dinner. Dinner was Italian, pizza Napoli (cheese and anchovies, yum!) and spaghetti pesto for 12€ and 50cl of house wine for another 5€, cheap and good, by European standards. Very tiring day as we had woken up around 5.45am to catch the train from Milan, and I went to bed early without finishing editing my pictures or updating the blog!

“Today’s” pictures here.