Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Day 5 – Thu, April 11, 2019 – Civitavecchia, Italy – Crystal Serenity – Monte Carlo to Venice

Our next port, Civitavecchia, is the primary port of Rome.

You know the directions on the shampoo bottle - soap, rinse, repeat. Well today is exactly that. Another port, breakfast in our room, another long ride, this time into Rome. We've been there once before, and Brenda has not been there. Our plan was to visit the Colosseum (we pre-purchased "skip the line" tickets for a 9:35 entry time (which, according to our tour company would be perfect), spend about an hour and head to the next site. We were joined on the tour by another couple from the ship.

Sooooooo, that was the plan at least, but not all plans work. When we arrived into Rome, the artery roads were clogged up with so many cars that we were crawling on the freeway at a snail's pace. As we sat in traffic, we saw our entry time slip away and we got more and more worried about the whole day. We eventually arrived at about 10am, worried that they would even let us in at all. Well, that wasn't a problem, but the security to get into the building was. The "skip the line" tickets were fine, but the security line took what seemed like forever. It took us nearly 30 minutes to get in to actually see the inside of the Colosseum. We had to meet our driver at 10:50 in order to hit the other sites and make our 1pm Vatican tour. So, can you imagine trying to see the Colosseum in 10 minutes? Not possible. We went up to the second level, wandered a bit and then headed to the exit.  It's nice to the pictures we got so that we can now see what it looks like.

BTW - it reminded me of that scene in European Vacation where the Griswold family visits the Louvre 15 minutes before they close and try to see 100,000 works of art before closing.

We forgot to mention the crowds in Florence. We figured that since it was early April, it wouldn't be as bad as mid summer (the time that we had previously visited Florence and Rome). Wrong. It was very crowded. But not with vacationers, it was full of large groups of school kids. Everywhere were kids in big groups seeing the history. Rome was obviously the same way.

We then visited several typical touristy stops including the location where they had chariot races, the Pantheon, Trevi Fountain, and Spanish Steps. (Bob was confused about the Pantheon as it was supposed to be in ruins with a lot of columns - doh, that is the Parthenon in Athens).

West End of Chariot Track 
East End of Track


Pantheon Interior

More Pantheon

Trevi Fountain

Spanish Steps from the Top.
We made it to a square where we were going to have lunch. Of course, we had a whole 20 minutes before our Vatican tour, so we grabbed some slices of pizza from a local restaurant (interestingly they sold each slice by weight), and wolfed it down.

Lunch location (very nice!!!)

We met our guide just outside of the Vatican and joined two others that were from our ship (the couple that rode in the car with us had seen the Vatican several times and explored Rome on their own). Our guide was amazing. She knew so much about the history of the place that it was absolutely fascinating. After passing through security with the hoards of kids, we found a quiet place where she could explain the significance and art in the Sistine Chapel (you are not allowed to talk in the Chapel or take photographs). So, we spent about 20 minutes going over the design, the purpose, and the significance of the art work. After that, we visited several galleries in the Vatican museum on our way to the Chapel.

Museum Ceiling

Tapestry Room

Maps Room

More Amazing Ceiling

The Sistine Chapel was breathtaking, but also breathtakingly crowded. Luckily it didn't seem as crowded as the last time we visited. Also, the annoying - "NO Talking" in eight different languages and "NO Photography" in the same languages was not quite as annoying (but still annoying).

We next visited St. Peter's Basilica. We had forgotten how incredible it is. The dome was over 400 feet high and the interior size is roughly the size of the Colosseum!!! The scale is hard to comprehend. Another cool fact is that all of the art work looks like incredible paintings. Turns out that they are ALL mosaic art works (except one painting). They did this so the art would last forever.

St. Peter's

Square in Front of St. Peter's

St. Peter's Vastness

Pietà sculpture by Michelangelo

More of Interior

Dome (Michelangelo designed - but didn't live to see it finished) 

Vatican Guard

Our tour was essentially done and so we left our Vatican guide, found our driver, and headed back to the ship. There was a lot of sleeping in the van going back... Just sayin'

That evening, we had dinner in the Brazilian Steak House - Churrascaria (Sorry no pictures). We did the usual buffet for salads and sides. Then turned over the card and they brought seven different meats from shrimp and lamb to chicken and steak.  The cinnamon grilled pineapple was irresistible.

Today we walked: 11,683 steps and 5.0 miles

1 comment:

  1. I am glad that I read your entire post. I was getting set to mention European Vacation, great minds think alike. I think to do Rome properly you need at least 10 days, I regrettably have NOT Rome properly yet. 3 days and I saw many of the sites, but not nearly all.