Italy Day 1 and 2


Italy Day 1 and 2
Italy Day 3 - 2006
Italy Day 4 - 2006
Italy Day 5 - 2006
Italy Day 6 - 2006
Italy Day 7 - 2006
Italy Day 8 - 2006
Italy Day 9 - 2006
Italy Day 10 - 2006
Italy Day 11 - 2006
Italy Day 12 - 2006
Italy Day 13 - 2006
Italy Day 14 - 2006
Italy Day 15 - 2006
Italy Day 16 - 2006


This time we are going on a bus tour through Italy.  We've had a couple of other trips to Italy and driven ourselves around in a leased car, but this time we want to see Sicily and the South and we felt it wiser to go with a group.  The tour is run by Trafalgar, runs for 15 days and is called "The Best of Italy and Sicily".

Italy Day 1 and 2 - Rome Sightseeing

Monday - June 26th

We left our Chelsea flat in a cab for Victoria Station, then boarded the Gatwick Express to the airport to catch our flight to Rome.  The weather in London was miserable.

We arrived in Rome and were picked up at airport and whisked to the Grand Hotel Tiberio to join our tour group.  The weather in Rome was hot and clear.  The hotel was very comfortable and located not far from Vatican City.  We arrived at the hotel just as the Romans started tooting their horns and waving flags signifying their win over Australia in the World Cup.  We were too late for the "welcome drink" but did meet the charming tour director, Antonio, who filled us in on the days ahead.  We settled in and then went for a walk around the area eventually  settling down for dinner at a little outdoor pizzeria not far from hotel.  The bed was very comfortable and was our last double bed for most of the tour.

Tuesday - June 27th

We get up early, have an adequate breakfast and meet some of our touring companions, before being bussed down to stand in the group entry queue for the Vatican Museum.  We are fairly close to the front, so not much wait. We use a local guide, rather than Antonio, our tour director, because of some Italian regulations ensuring employment for local guides.  These guides proved generally to be very good and bring an extra dimension to our visits and local tours.  We were equipped with a wireless audio system with which the guide could describe our surroundings, a quite effective system in the noisy hubbub of a Roman summer.  The contents of the museums were splendid and the Sistine Chapel was, as always, absolutely beautiful.  We continued our tour in St. Peters, a truly grand edifice, lined with masterpieces of marble carving and statuary and where even the pictures on the wall are mosaics of fine coloured marble. We visited the Swiss Guards display before lunching at a little bar down the road from St. Peters.  After lunch we crossed the Tiber into ancient Rome past the Circus Maximus and stopped near the colosseum. Our guided tour finished there and we left on our own for some more exploring.  First of all we went into the Colosseum for a good view of the arena and the grandstands.  What a marvellous construction and amazing that so much is still standing after so long. We then wandered up the Palatine hill , past some archaeologists with hand brooms and little shovels slowly brushing back through layers of history before making our way back through the ruins of the forum to Piazza Venezia and modern Roman traffic.  Continuing our rambles we headed up the Via Del Corso side tracking to the Trevi Fountain where Judy brought a paper parasol to deflect the Italian sun.  Next stop was the Spanish Steps via the Via Condotti, luckily most of the shops were closed.  We had a difficult search for an ATM that had and English option, finally found one and replenished our cash reserves.  Our next destination was the Piazza Navona, with a stop on the way for an expensive beer.  We had dinner in the Piazza and Judy took advantage of the fountains to soothe here hot feet.  We walked back to the pickup point for the journey back to the hotel and a refreshing drink.

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