Day 38: Thursday, October 12, 2006
We got up at 7:30 am and had
another continental breakfast served in our room. We then
caught the vaporetto to the train station, arriving about 9:00
am. Having learned
our lesson, we stayed close to the exit with our luggage this
time. The train didn't leave until 10:32 am so we had time
to look around and take a few last minute photos of Venice.
Ken really enjoyed the train ride as he hadn't been on a train
since 1965. The train went from Venice (Venezia) through
Bologna and Florence (Firenze) and then to Rome.
The scenery was beautiful but we both ended up napping most of
We arrived in Rome around 3:00 pm. We had
been warned by several people, including our travel agent, about the
gypsy pickpockets in Rome so we were very paranoid. Our hotel
was only a couple of blocks from the train station but we didn't
know exactly where it was. We each had two large suitcases and
a carry-on and the thought of dragging them through the streets of
Rome while fending off pickpockets was not very appealing.
Kathryn had booked all the hotels in her name so she took her
carry-on and one bag and went searching for the hotel while I
remained at the train station with the rest of the luggage.
After awhile she returned and we took the remaining luggage to the
hotel. The Hotel Contilia was a very nice hotel but our
rooms were in an annex building. We had to go to a courtyard
behind the hotel and enter a tiny elevator (only room for one of us
and a couple of bags). We were on the second floor.
Other floors were used by other hotels in the vicinity. This
idea of an annex is the only way that hotels can grow in old, packed
cities like Rome.
Kathryn's sister had given us her copy of a walking guide to Rome.
This had four separate tours and was invaluable to us. As it
was already late afternoon, we decided to do the one closest to our
hotel. The guide gives the following advice for crossing the
road in Rome: "Cross only at zebra stripes. You can wait
and cross with a Roman or play Roman Chicken. The game goes
this way: if you look at a driver, he will run you over, but if you
don't look, he'll stop - maybe!"
Rome is a city built
on 7 hills so that went lots of work for Kenny's knees over the
next four days. We first walked to one of Rome's four
great basilica's, St. Maria Maggiore. From there we
headed north to Piazza Republica which consisted of a
large fountain with 4 lanes of traffic traveling in a circle
around it. We got our first chance to play Roman Chicken.
We saw the church of St. Maria degli Angeli which was
designed by Michelangelo and built inside the ruins of the Baths
of Diocletian. A little further along we came to the
Acqua Felice Fountain with Moses in the centre.
Heading west we came to the Corner of the Four Fountains.
Each corner consisted of a building with a fountain in the
circle-topped alcove. The statue inside each alcove was
One of the
Corner of Four Fountains
west we came to Piazza Quirinal. Here on the
highest of the seven hills is the palace and official residence
of the President of the Republic. Just as we entered the
square they had the changing of the guard and I was able to
quickly snap a photo.
We then made our way down the hill toward Trevi Fountain and
stopped for ice cream at the bottom. Kathryn loves gelato
(Italian ice cream) and she ate scores of them while we were in
Italy. They were all extremely good except for this one
that we had in the high tourist area of Trevi. If you are ever
Changing of the
Guard at the Presidential Palace
Rome, you must see the absolutely gorgeous Trevi Fountain.
At the bottom of the street, backed by the fašade of the Palazzo
Poli, looms the most stunning of the fountains of Rome: the
central figure, the Ocean (by Pietro Bracci) is shown dominating
sea horses guided by Tritons, while in the niches on either side
are the figures of Abundance (on the left) and Health (on the
right), both by Filippo della Valle. Bernini had initially
been commissioned by
Urban VIII to
construct a monumental fountain, but the project had been
abandoned after the Popes' death. It was Nicola Salvi, almost a
century later, who was to build this ensemble on the site of one
of Rome's earliest fountains designed to receive the water of
the Aqua Virgo. The bliss of returning to the Eternal City is
guaranteed to all foreigners who, with their back turned, throw
a coin over their shoulder into the fountain. Trevi
Fountain was featured in the movies La Dolce Vita and
Three Coins in a Fountain.
After taking several photos in the fading
daylight, we headed north along Via Del Corso and then east on Via
Condetti, a street filled with every ultra expensive clothing and
jewelry store before ending up at the Spanish Steps as night began
to fall. We had walked a long way this afternoon and we now
had a long walk home. We were tired when we arrived at the
hotel so we ordered spicy chicken and potatoes from a takeout place
next to our hotel. We took the food up to our room, ate it and
crawled into bed.
Click here for a slide
show of Day 38 photos.