We were only an hour from a Rome so we couldn’t miss a day trip. But we also had a lot to cram into that one day.
By the end of the day we were absolutely exhausted but here is how you do Rome in a day, on foot.
We took the 8:39 direct train from Bracciano to Roma San Pietro. Very few go direct so this has to be timed accurately. I used to get really worried taking public transport abroad because I didn’t do it much at home so it was new territory. After 5 years in London I’ve realised it is super-easy and often much more hassle free than a car or taxi.
From the station we walked to The Vatican. Now The Vatican, for a state of only 842 people is disappointingly disorganised. I just sort of feel that there wouldn’t be much else for them to do, so signage might kill some time?
You’d have thought they could sort a couple of signs out considering the mass of tourists that flock to the “state” daily.
Instead, it took guesswork to know that to see inside St Peter’s Basilica we had to join a queue that circled around the entire square. This long mass could actually have lead us anywhere but like very polite Brits, we followed the snaking line.
After an hour we got to the front, with still no signs. All I knew was that we couldn’t bare our shoulders so we’d come prepared with long tops. It was only once we’d passed security, queued again, then reached the ticket desk beyond the bag-drop (none of which is clearly signed) that we were we turned away for shorts above knee level. GODAAAAAYM.
What they don’t tell you anywhere (of course, no signs) is that to see the Vatican museum (which leads to the Sistine chapel) you have to go through some arches to the right of the museum and queue separately again. It’s closed between 4-7pm so when we came back later with scarves to cover our legs, we still missed out unfortunately.
As we weaved our way through streets to our next stop we took in varied scenery – rivers, beautiful buildings and streets
Caffeined-up, we made our way to the spanish steps. They look picturesque and beautiful in the photos but of course this isn’t always the case, and by midday they were busy. Plus, the fountain in front was having work done so wasn’t as pretty as we’d hoped. Mind you, the streets to get there were lined with some of our favourite designer brands so we thoroughly enjoyed the window shopping en route. We were surprised at how narrow the designer streets were, with just cobbled roads surrounding them.
Knowing very little about Rome before this trip, I have to say I LOVE how all streets are cobbled and narrow, with sounds and smells that entice the senses. Huge parts of it don’t feel like a big city, more like a quaint town. Almost all the buildings are beautifully coloured with age, and seeped in history, with the newer buildings worked in around them rather than trampling across them.
Thinking of our bellies once again, we started to look for somewhere for lunch. The squares were heaving with crowds, chattering loudly and constantly, but the staff were a bit pushy to get us in, looking over our shoulders as we browsed each of the venues menus. Instead, we retreated to a sweet little place away from all the hustle and bustle, where we could get a bit of a breather and prepare for our afternoon sightseeing.
We were lucky with the weather as it was really warm but never so hot that it was unbearable. As such, we decided light, fresh salads were more appropriate than a heavy pizza in the warmth of the afternoon. I chose smoked tuna and Anna went for swordfish salad.
We were now set for our afternoon adventures, but more on this in the next post.