Rome was our first big stop. It was time wind down from our Topdeck tour and also time to soak in the epic history that Rome has to offer. We spend most days cruising round the city centre, checking out different ruins, a couple of days off at our accommodation and a day in Pompeii, which I’ll write about in another post.
I went to Rome knowing very little about it, only what I’d seen in Gladiator and the tourist mags but not much of the spread of the Roman Empire, the wealth and conquests the city had accomplished.
The Vatican City
Our first stop was the Vatican City, the smallest city state in the world. We did this one as a final excursion with our Topdeck tour, so we didn’t have to wait in line for hours and we had someone telling us the information. To be honest it was pretty hectic. There were people everywhere, and our tour guide used a selfie stick with a scarf on top, finally we’d become one of those tour groups, it was inevitable and actually necessary at the Vatican so we rolled with it. The wealth of the Vatican was insane, so much art, paintings, sculptures, and decorations everywhere. However our tour guide rushed us through quite a lot and we didn’t really get to look at the paintings too much because if you stopped for too long you’d be swept away in the crowd and left behind.
I’m really glad our tour guide did a thorough explanation of Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel ceiling and Final Judgement painting. She was very passionate about getting not only the meaning behind it, but also the physical and emotional pain that Michelangelo went through to create these masterpieces. And they were masterpieces, they were mind blowing and indescribable to be in the chapel looking up at that ceiling. In the actual chapel you aren’t meant to talk or take photos, but people were doing both and it pissed me off, just admire and enjoy the art while you’re here people, come on! James and I also climbed to the top of the St Peters dome which had a mint view of Rome.
The Colosseum and Roman Forum
Colosseum was unreal and so was the Roman forum. We spent 4 hours one afternoon in the forum and that wasn’t even “full embrace mode” because it was soooo hot. But the forum is huge, it covers a large area and there are so many old historic sites within it. Of course like most Roman things nowadays, it is a ruin, stripped of its previous marble coatings and jewels. Ceilings and walls are rarely found here, but that’s what makes it cool. We walked around trying to imagine what the temples and marketplaces would’ve looked like over 2000 years ago, so much fun.
The Forum was a great place to learn about different Roman Emperors and the normalities of ancient Roman life. After visiting these three main attractions in Rome, I felt a strong understanding of the history of the city and the church. If you’re looking for a few main things you can do over a couple of days I’d recommend these three.