As we planned this trip, one of the things I spent time on repeatedly was the transition between our cruise that ended in Civitavecchia and the land tour which began in Rome – a distance of about 50 miles apart. Our options were a paid ship transfer to the airport and then a tour transfer from airport to the hotel, a very inexpensive passenger train into the city but requiring transfers from ship to the train station and from the train station to the hotel. In the end, we opted to pay about $150 for the convenience of a personal driver from the pier to the hotel.
When we walked off the ship, our driver, booked through the international tour platform Viator, was waiting. There was no government intake or customs desk that we needed to proceed through of any kind. (When we checked into our hotel in Rome they did copy our passports so I assume that sufficed.)
When we arrived at our hotel, our tour guide, Fabrizio, was there to greet us. As it was early he suggested a few sites within walking distance from the hotel and we set out.
Our first stop was Santa Maria Maggiore Church, the third most important church in Roma. Although it is not within the boundaries of the Vatican, it is owned by the Vatican. It was built between the years 422 and 432, and consecrated in 434. There have been a number of modifications and renovations over the centuries. The14th century bell tower is the highest in Rome at 246 feet.
There are about 990 churches in Rome and more than half of them are named for the Virgin Mary.
The mosaics found in Santa Maria Maggiore are some of the oldest representations of the Virgin Mary.
The priests were leading mass while we were there.
We continued walking and came across this area of ruins.
The stairs and doorway in the ruins seemed picturesque.
This statue was actually a person holding a pose! He startled several people as they walked by.
We walked to Vittoriano, also called the Altar of the Fatherland. This national monument was built between 1885 and 1935 to honor Victor Emmanuel II, the first king of the unified Italy.
This is the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at the Vittoriano.
From the top we could see the colosseum! We’d be there the next day!
After sitting street side for a lunch of pizza and wine, we made our way back to the hotel to gain access to our room. We were also able to meet our 25 fellow tour participants. They included three family groups, six couples and one solo woman. All were adults and all were from the United States.
We had a city orientation bus ride and a group dinner to begin our Best of Italy Tour by Trafalgar.
We saw the oldest bridge in Roma. It crosses the Tiber River and dates back to 100 years BC.
We were introduced to a couple of Fabrizio’s favorite sayings such as “The traffic lines in Roma are only ornamental” and our “The mother of the stupid is always pregnant!”
We saw some creative parking throughout our days in Roma!
In the previous post I said that Napoli was one of Randy’s two favorite destinations. Roma was mine. There is so much history and it took two days to see just some of it. It will take at least three posts to review our visit to Roma. “Andiamo guys, Andiamo!” “Let’s go, guys, Let’s go!”