7am start, the bus is at the front door ready on time, all travellers are ready
The train, Frecciarossa 9524 from Salerno to Milan but stopping in Naples and Rome (not just for us), arrives on Binnario 18, the group has split with some going to get food, some saying goodbye to family and some boarding the train.
The train ploughs aong at up to 280-300 km/hour through the countryside. Its green, lush and hilly. We decide to get off at Rome Termini rather than Tibbertina, its closer to our apartment and will save us about 30 minutes.
The taxi from Rome Termini train station is easy to find, and the 15-20 minute trip to our accomodation is not something I would won’t to do on foot. I have noticed that the Rome taxi drivers, the official ones in white taxi’s with prices on their doors (including 50 euros to Fumicino Airport) are good, seem friendlier than I remember and prices seem reasonable. Except for one clown when we first arrived a week ago when he left us standing in the street.
Our apartment is Hi Suite Rome, viadi monte giordano 19, 0186 Roma. Its 3 story, modern, renovated, very contemporary style, in an ancient building, 1 ensuite bedroom upstairs, 1 ensuite bedroom in the basement and a kitchen/living area on the ground floor. there is a grocery store, cafes, restaurants and other shops right at the front door. The windows I think are double glazed so we don’t pick up any noise at night even when the restaurants are in full swing. Other than a little test getting our bags up the stairs we’re very happy with it.
We get a coffee/tea and some pastry for a late breakfast at a nearby cafe and wait for the the Murphy’s Paul aka Scintillante and Liz aka IDT) to get back from a tour of the Coleseum. I watch the Cronulla v Souths NRL semi final on my phone. Now there are 4 teams left Penrith, Cowboys, Souths and Parramatta, for anyone that cares. I’d like to see Parramatta win, they were Tim’s team
The Murphy’s arrive back, they’ve had a good morning, still buzzing with excitement and that “thing” that Rome can do to you. Even though its easy to get lost in the winding alleys and crushing crowds around the main tourist sites, people talking waving hands, scooters rushing past, its a place you can feel comfortable in, the people are friendly and helpful, although there are a lot who don’t speak English, so having a few basic Italian words can help. Handy when you have a master linguist like Il Maestro in your group – not.
We walk to the piazza Navona, its only a few minutes away, then after missing the Pantheon because I think I had Navona the wrong round in my navigation brain cells we decide to head to Galleria Borghese for our 5pm slot. The walk takes longer than expected, The Navigator is a bit whingy but coping, just, any further and I’d have got a good lecture about taking a taxi next time.
The Borghese is full of ancient and modern sculptures, bas-reliefs, mosaics and paintings and has masterpieces by Caravaggio, Raphael, Titian, Bernini and Canova. The value of the collection is priceless. The villa was built in the early 1600’s by a favoured nephew of Pope Paul IV, Cardinal Scipione. The villa was renovated by Marcantonio Borghese in the 1770’s. The decorations of the ceilings are magnificant, worth the visit to see the building, let alone the art. My favourites are the Bernini scultures, the Carravagio paintings and Raphael where his style seems to be the start of a new way to paint. I don’t know much about art but I know what I like.
The Galleria Borghese was acquired by the Italian State in 1902 and opened as a gallery in 1902. Its well worth the effort to see, but you have to book, you cant take water in, no flash cameras and no backpaks or large bags – they must be checked into a cloak room – The Navigator takes issue with these rules, she’s a little tense but gets over it, and I think she can take or leave the gallery visit, she spends a lot of time sitting in the chairs with a far away look (of shops maybe?) in her eyes.
Unlike the walk there, the walk back via Trevi Fountain and the Pantheon is slow and relaxed, although we’re all a little foot and leg sore. Its a shame the pantheon is closed when we get there , it closes at 7:30pm, so a ander back to via di Monte Giordano for a dinner next door to our accomodation.
We are welcomed at the restaurant, the food is fantastic and the the Murphy’s and The Navigator clean their plates, we do 3 courses and Scintillante and I do a large Italian beer. To much f…g beer for me, but its good. A great dinner, time for bed to rest our weary bodies, its been a long day. A small niggly itchy nose feels a little like a cold, I need to nip that in the bud.
Ciao from Roma – Paulo