The greatest part of cruising the Mediterranean is the number of ports that you get to visit. Over the 12 days after departing from Barcelona, there is a total of nine ports. Today though I am visiting the port of Civitavecchia, and will have no time to see this city at all. The destination today for me is a tour to visit the city of Rome.
There are a couple of reasons I opted for the tour with the ship today. The first and most important is the time, and the tour very much maximised the time available. The second was the range of destinations visited; I could have done the same by public transport. But at the great risk of not being back onboard the ship in time. The third is distance, besides having a lot to see, Rome is around 90 minutes by road from Civitavecchia.
Heading To Rome
The day was nice for the drive from Civitavecchia with the sun out and just a few clouds in the sky. It made it very nice to see the countryside.
Arriving In Rome
One of the more recognisable locations we pass is the Colosseum. When you see the size of the Colosseum and consider the period in which it was built, it is quite amazing. Not only the size and scale but also the fact that so much of it still survives to this day.
The primary focus of the tour might have been Rome, but the first stop was what is technically another country. I think it may be a first for me, as today the tour crosses the border between Italy and Vatican City by foot. I had not thought much about this aspect of crossing a border in this fashion until the tour guide mentioned it.
There is, of course, no border control between Italy and what is the smallest state in the world by both size and population. With the visit to Vatican City, this brings me to a total of 10 countries for the year.
The visit to Vatican City is not just to visit another country though. There is also the largest and potentially most famous church in all of Christianity, St. Peters Basilica. As you approach the church through St. Peters Square it is a very dominate building.
Visiting the inside of St Peter’s Basilica is no easy task. The tour group spent around 40 minutes waiting in line to enter the church. For anyone either of the Christian Faith or that enjoys looking through churches, the wait is worthwhile. There was only limited time inside, but with a location like this you need to have a limit, or you could easily spend all day.
With the drive to Rome and the time in Vatican City, it was getting close to lunchtime. The tour included a traditional Italian 3-course meal. The meal included a tossed salad with olive oil and vinegar dressing, the main course of lasagna and tiramisu for dessert. These all day tours are much easier when they include a meal like this you do eat better.
The tour included some time in a central area of Rome. It was a reasonable location with some famous landmarks within walking distance. The first is the Trevi Fountain, where I toss my coin over my shoulder to ensure my return to the Eternal City, Rome.
I almost missed getting to the Spanish Steps, as I started out walking with some other people from the ships. However, I did manage to make it in the end, but it seems like everyone else as well. The Spanish Steps are a very popular location in Rome and being they are steps end up with a lot of people sitting. It just seems to be the case with the popular tourist sites in Rome they attract a lot of people.
Back To The Ship
The day had to come to an end though with a 90-minute drive back to ship. However, one thing I know is that I have plenty more to share from Rome, I just do not have the time to include it today. There are some factors such as access to Wifi, limited time and so many pictures to work through. But you can be sure I will be sharing another post on Rome and most of the other cities at a later point.
Tomorrow the cruise will be visiting another Italian Port, Naples. Currently, I have not planned anything for this visit and expect just to do plenty of walking around exploring the city. So keep an eye out for the next post around the same time tomorrow.
IlonaApril 26, 2012 at 11:36 pm
No kidding about all the tourists . That’s how I felt in Barcelona at park Quell people every where and even though the architecture of the site is something not to be missed ,I was discouraged taking pictures because all I could get was the masses of people in every shoot.
JoelApril 27, 2012 at 4:45 pm
I try and get creative angles with some of my shots to avoid getting flocks of people in them. It can be annoying, however somtimes I also just get lucky and walk past something cool when everyone has choosen to be somewhere else at the same time.