Cruising in the Mediterranean does come with a couple of downfalls. The first is that the itineraries are very port intensive. In fact, after leaving Barcelona, there are just two sea days out of 13 days before the end of the cruise. The second some the ports are long days especially if you choose full day tours.
Civitavecchia is the closest port of call that allows access to the city of Rome. Of course, I could not pass up the opportunity to visit Rome when I would be this close, even if the tour was 11 hours. A good portion of this time though is taken up with around two hours each way between the port and Rome.
As a city, I believe Rome probably has some of the most recognisable buildings in the world. Getting to see just a couple and go inside of them was quite amazing. Some of the buildings we only got to see in passing, such as the Colosseum. Other’s like St Peter’s Basilica I got to visit.
The first part of the tour after reaching Rome is purely driving. Even if we do not get to visit some of the sites, they did try to show us all the important ones. However, for taking photos, this is the worst way to travel. But I do very much understand the point of view that there is only limited time to fit things into.
Above is part of an Ancient Roman Aqua-duct. At one point in time, this would have been used to transport the water supply around the city.
Above is one of the suburbs of Rome that we passed through. I honestly could not say just where this was.
A section of the ruins of Foro Romano (Roman Forum) taken from Via del Circo Massimo.
I am happy to say that at sometimes you do get lucky capturing images out of a moving bus. Above is the Victor Emmanuel Monument in Rome. The bus passed this monument twice, and there was only a slight moment to capture the photo.
The final photo from the bus was this beautiful church across the Tiber River. From here it was onto the first stop of the day, and one a few had been waiting for, Lunch.
St Peter’s Basilica
One of the main highlights of the tour today was a visit to St Peter’s Basilica. In fact, while the tour mainly took place in Italy, it was this visit that took us to what is technically another country. The country is Vatican City, which is in fact, the smallest country in the world. Vatican City is an independent city-state that covers just over 100 acres and is encircled by a 2-mile border in the middle of Rome.
There was a rather long wait in the line to enter St Peter’s Basilica. Plus a lot of people inside as well, but even so it did not seem crowded. It is a breathtaking and detailed church to visit as you can see from the photos below.
Even before entering the church itself you know you are in for a treat from the grand entrance way. There is plenty of marble and columns, and something to look at whether it is the floor or the ceiling.
The interior of St Peter’s Basilica is immense and being inside here you do feel very small. But this comes as no surprise considering that it is the largest interior of any Christian church in the world.
It is rather difficult to convey the sheer scale of some aspects of the Basilica in images. Looking up into the main dome you may be able to get some idea, the letters around the bottom are around 2 metres in height.
As you are leaving St Peter’s Basilica, you have a great view across St Peter’s Square. I could not even imagine being here in one of the larger gatherings where the square might have tens of thousands of people.
Back To The Ship
Even the best days must come to an end at some point. Since it took two hours to drive to Rome, it would take around the same time to get back to the ship. I was quite happy watching the countryside passing.
The day in Rome was outstanding, and while I had not considered staying in Rome before, I would happily return. There is still so much to see in Rome; I doubt even a week would be enough.
The departure of the ship from Civitavecchia was rather well timed today. It was right on sunset as the ship set sail and it was a rather beautiful sunset. I captured this image of one of the other cruise ships leaving a little ahead of our ship.