Italia Home Page Link


Day One - Arrival in Roma

After a brief hop over the pond in a Northwest Airlines A330 Airbus, I arrived at Fiumicino Airport at 7:30am local time. I managed to sleep for almost the entire flight, so I was ready to meet up with Fai and tackle the city.

I was greeted by Fai, Monica, and Elena, who had been touring the region for three weeks already and Monica's cousin,
Smart Cars
Eliseo, who would prove to be most helpful and kind. Eliseo drove us to Rome, which is about 40 minutes from the airport and we began to hunt for our first hotel.

Driving in Italia is quite an experience. Motorists in vehicles resembling Go Carts, taking most traffic laws as mild suggestions, weave in and out, stop suddenly, and often drive on the wrong side to get where they're going. There is an odd sort of cooperation among drivers though and the chaos seems acceptable to everyone.

We found Hotel Montebello and checked in. The room was cozy and and clean and very close to the Roma Termini (Central Train Station), where the Metro Subway System is also located.

Hotel Montebello
Our Room at Hotel Montebello

Monica wanted to pick up some gifts at the Hard Rock Cafe, so we all trekked down to Via Veneto (Veneto Street), which is well known disctrict for shopping, dining, and upscale hotels. After shopping, the three of them departed and Fai and I were off in search of food.

After a nice meal of some pasta with tuna, we caught the Metro to the Colosseo. It's somewhat surprising seeing the structure right in the middle of a busy street. Not what I expected. We walked around it and the surrounding area and decided to return the next day to go inside.
The Coleseo
The Colosseo
(Click to Enlarge)

Instead, we hopped back on the Metro and headed for Città del Vaticano (Vatican City), where we found Basilica di San Pietro (Saint Peter's Basilica) first. Built in AD 324, the original Basilica was built on top of Saint Peter's tomb, as a tribute. Rebuilt in 1503, with the final touch, Michelangelo's Dome, being completed in 1547. We walked around the piazza and then into the church and even witnessed a mass taking place, seemingly oblivious to the many spectators meandering about.

The Stairs of the CupolaThe Dome was calling and Fai was listening, so we climbed 491 steps, often through narrow, twisting stairways, to the top. It was quite the journey. Many people stopped to rest along the way, but there is no way to turn back. Several times we would see a plateau and think we were finished climbing, only to have a new section of stairs across the way.
View From the Dome
Fai at the top of Michelangelo's Dome
(Click to Enlarge)

Once we reached the top, the view of the piazza, the gardens, and all of Rome was incredible. Then came the bad news. We had to climb back down an equal set of stairs.

Back aboard the Metro, after a quick switch from line A to Line B, we set our compass toward the Pantheon.

The "Pan-Theon" or "All Gods," began in 27 BC as a temple for all the gods, then later was converted into a Christian church in order to stave off destruction after the fall of Roma. At exactly 142 feet in width and 142 feet in height, the dome that tops the Pantheon is a measure of ancient architectural perfection, studied by many artists and architects in centuries to follow.

Pantheon Columns
The Columns of the Pantheon, shipped
from Egypt, are the largest in Italia

The Trevi Fountain was overflowing with tourists, so we decided to continue on and return another time. Our last stop in this eventful first day would be at Piazza Navona. The square was lively with street artists, performers, and hordes of people. Three notable fountains, Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi, Fontana di Nettuno, and Fontana del Moro grace Piazza Navona, and the church of Sant'Agnese in Agone completes the square.


Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi at Piazza Navona
Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi at Piazza Navona
(Click to Enlarge)

We watched some of the performers for a while and then brought this most eventful first day to a close.






Day Two

Day: OneTwoThreeFourFiveSixSevenEightNineTen      Italia