Another great breakfast ( buffet) at the NH Giustiniano , this morning we decided to take the taxi for this full morning walking tour. I think the idea of taking a bus and maybe getting pick pocketed again was in the back of everyone’s mind. The Taxi only cost euro24 for 4 in each taxi to the Metro station in front of the Colosseum. While we were waiting for our tour guide we had a cappuccino from one of the vendors. Small cup cost about euro3.00.
Our Walks of Italy tour guide met us and informed us that there is a general strike beginning at 8 am. Our tour starts at 830 am , so we are waiting a bit to see what is closed and what is opened. Glad we did not take the bus, as they are involved in this general strike. So we have found out that the Colosseum is open and our booked entrance time is 11 am. The bad news was that the Foro Romano is closed, so the guide said that we can walk around the outside of the area and she will show us the highlights and explain the various ancient buildings we can see.
We got back to the Colosseum for our 11 am entrance, the place was very busy. No, it was packed. This was because the Roman Forum, the Palatino, and Circus Maximus was all closed due to the strike and the Colosseum was OPEN. We have a booked time because we have the upgraded tour that takes us to the underground area of the Forum, the Arena area and then to the upper level. The information and descriptions of these areas was very interesting. One bit of information that was interesting was on how the Caesars and subsequent rulers and conquerors of Rome removed most of the metal, marble and good stonework from the Colosseum and used it to build other magnificent monuments and buildings. This even includes places in Vatican city such as St. Peters, Vatican museum and more.
An important note: We recommend that you pre book our tours with a registered tour company in Rome. Especially if you have limited time. Walks of Italy is one of these companies and you can book their tours through appointed travel agents in North America. The Travelmart Ltd. is one of those agencies.
After our tour is was around 1230 pm and everyone was hungry. So we headed into the Palazzo Colonna area where there are many restaurants. Several of us splurged and had a euro 33+ for two. It was several grilled meats, veggies and desserts . Could not finish the meal.
After lunch , several took taxis back to the hotel since the colds have sapped the energy from them. Sherry and I decided to go for walk and walked to the Pantheon as we wanted to go inside. This took around ½ an hour as we just wandered through the streets.
The Pantheon , re-built in 126 AD . Almost 2000 years , the Pantheon is still the worlds largest unreinforced concrete dome. It has been in almost continuous use since it was built. Very interesting history to read. We spend a good 45 minutes , then continued our walk.
On the way to the Piazza Navona we stopped at a small shop selling spirits, pasta and a lot of items that you might take home. Bought some special pasta’s and a 500l of Heineken. euro 2. On the way out the shop keeper asked if I wanted the beer open, he said that I can drink beer and wine in the streets. We walked another 5 min. and made it to the Piazza Navona. Here you will find hundreds of vendors along with restaurants and beautiful fountain. Most of the vendor were offering painting s and art of some sort. If you take a good look, you may realize the size of the Piazza was at one time the open space of a stadium . The Circus Agonalis, where the Ancient Romans watched the games.
At the north end outside the Piazza we found a Gelato shop. Ummm. Continuing our walk we are heading toward the Castel S. Angelo which is 2 blocks to the hotel.
After a short rest, we headed to the hotel restaurant and had a good meal . We were too tired to go out to a local restaurant as our colds had tired us out.
So now we are packing up the bags as we head home tomorrow.