So you leave London early (very early!) on Friday and are back in time for Downton Abbey on Sunday, how much can you squeeze into an action packed few days? Here goes:
The Colosseum and Constantine Arch. We walked around these, felt the grandeur and imagined the gladiator fights inside – helped my numerous men dressed up in gladiator gear.No time on this trip to go inside but it’s pretty good from the outside. Nearby is Trajan’s Forum, Market and Column which you can walk by, again saving time on a tour but leaving plenty of time for photos. There are ruins everywhere and every corner and turn is a delight. Rome is compact and easy to walk around especially as many sights are very close to each other. Also located just by the Colosseum is the Vittorio Emanuele monument which is absolutely huge, very white not universally popular with Romans, it goes by the nickname of ‘the typewriter’ and they say the best view of Rome is from the top as you can’t see it!
Another good batch of sightseeing delights is the area around St Peter’s which gives you the church itself, the wonderful piazza in front of it and the Vatican. Together these would fill a good half day but the friends we were with had booked a Vatican tour for after we had to leave and I’d been already on a previous whistle stop visit. I still remember the sheer scale of the Vatican City and was awe struck by the Sistine Chapel. We had every intention of having a look inside St Peter’s but the queue was at least an hour long so we wandered along the Tiber and enjoyed the wonderful October sunshine instead.
I love the Pantheon, built by the ancient Romans, it’s their most complete building in the city and is still used as a church despite the hoards of camera clicking tourists that flock in. It is an architectural wonder with its height (43m) being the same as its diameter and has a domed roof with no visible support. Nearby is the Trevi Fountain which is enormous and takes up most of the square where it is squeezed in along with tons of tourists, many throwing a coin in the fountain which is supposed to ensure their return to the eternal city. From this iconic sight, it’s not far to another, the Spanish Steps which we reached at sun down giving it a mellow feel.