The Roman Colosseum originally known as the Flavian Amphitheatre, is the largest structure of its type in ancient Rome. A huge ellipse with 80 arched entrances allowing access to 55,000 spectators
After much consideration we've decided to stay the month in Civitavecchia. Our decision has been based on many factors.
Surprisingly there are very few anchorages along this coastline and those anchorages that do exist are very exposed to wind and swell. Marinas are small and booking ahead is necessary especially in July and August plus the berthing charges are exorbitant - we can expect to pay anything from €60 to well over €200 a night. If we averaged it out at €100 a night over 60 nights that's a whopping €6,000 for 2 months - well over our budget!!!
Riva di Traiano on the other hand is a safe haven and cost effective if you stay a month, particularly during July and August. The daily rate for us is €60 but they offer a weekly rate (unlike many further along the coast) where we pay for 6 nights and get the 7th free. However, stay a month and the price drops significantly to €30 a night which is excellent for this time of year. The marina is also out of town so there's no loud music to keep us awake until the early hours of the morning and due to its location there are sea breezes to keep us marginally cool. Unlike many marinas closer to Rome and Naples it also has some security. There's a COOP supermarket just a short walk away, a few onsite shops, a small laundrette plus it has easy access to the train network and a bus that stops outside - we couldn't ask for more.
A visit to Rome was a 'must do' and didn't disappoint over the two days that we visited. YES, it is extremely busy this time of year and YES it's hot in July and you're totally knackered at the end of the day but it's well worth it.
With so much to see we focused on the popular sights just like the millions of visitors before us. The queues were particularly long at the Colosseum and the Vatican (approx 200 meters) and the area is inundated with touts trying to sell bus tours, private tours, tickets, skip the line tickets, meals at restaurants, bottled water, hats, umbrellas... the list goes on! The touting is borderline on aggressive and became a nuisance. At the Colosseum the entrance price was continually announced over a tannoy so that the unaware didn't get ripped off.
We decided to start the day early with an open top bus tour, a circular tour that started out from Roma Termini and passed most of the main sights. Unlike most people we didn't get off until we completed the circuit which took about 1.5 hours. The audio commentary provided us with lots of background information and having bagged the best seats the views from the upper deck allowed us to reaffirm which sites we really wanted to focus on. It also gave us a better idea of the distances between sites so we were happy to walk rather than wait for the bus which would have taken longer.
For the Vatican museums and Sistine Chapel we decided to purchase 'skip the line' tickets. We're pleased that we did but ended up queuing anyway in order to exchange the voucher for a ticket before queuing again to gain entry. It did save time though as we queued for approx 30 minutes whereas without it, it would have been well over an hour, possibly longer.
Our words can't describe the beauty, the architecture or the history of this fabulous city but below are a few photos of some of the sights and a short video that we've put together after walking through the Vatican, Sistine Chapel and St Peter's square... enjoy.
We found the gallery of Maps particularly fascinating, with 40 detailed maps painted on the walls. Each section showed one region, with a large inset of its major city. The ceiling too had amazing frescoes, illustrating events which took place in the regions shown on the panels.
At 26 meters high and approx. 20 meters wide, the Trevi fountain (Fontana di Trevi) marks the terminal of the Aqua Virgo aqueduct. The central figures of the fountain are Neptune (God of the sea), flanked by two Tritons. Tradition has it a coin thrown into the water guarantees a visitor's return to Rome.
the Arch of Constantine is situated between the Colosseum and Palatine Hill standing almost 26 meters wide and 21 meters high. It's another huge structure but overshadowed by the Collossium.
The Monumento Nazionale a Vittorio Emanuele II is a colossal monument, 135 meters wide and 70 meters high. Comprised of Corinthian columns and endless stairs, all carved in white marble. The top is crowned with an equestrian sculpture of Victor Emmanuel cast in bronze and two chariots driven by the goddess Victoria. It holds the tomb of the unknown soldier, a place where eternal flame shines and guarded by two soldiers.
the Romans built really solid structures so solid that many ruins remain today, thousands of years old in the center of the modern city.