Day 0 – It took us about 22 hours journey from Sydney to Dubai and Dubai to Rome, the flight was excruciatingly lengthy but it was pretty okay. It still felt surreal when we landed in Rome. It wasn’t until I exited Termini station and stepped out into the street to get into our hotel that it finally struck me, we’re in Rome! It was 12 midnight by then, so we jumped into bed pretty much straight away.
The next day, our plan was to explore Vatican. We started the day with a cup of cappuccino and brioche ( al crema for D and al ciocolatto for myself ) at a cafe located right by the Termini entrance. After our stomachs were full, we went straight to the train platforms, stopping at the ticket machines to buy some tickets to Vatican – a bit confusing as it was our first time trying to figure out how things work here. After that first time, it was really smooth, transportation in Rome was easy to understand and all the major tourist attractions are pretty close by train stations.
It was a day before Easter, and the crowd was massive. Luckily we had previously purchased Omnia cards, which allowed us fast track entry to Sistine Chapel & Vatican Museum as well as St Peter’s Basilica. We still had to queue to collect the card, but it was nothing compared to the normal queue to those places which would take hours. We managed to get a spot to go to Sistine Chapel & Vatican Museum that morning, but could only book an entry to St Peter’s on Monday. Oh well, we’d still be in Rome by then so all’s good!
At 10 we headed to Sistine Chapel & Vatican Museum. It didn’t take us long, and boy I couldn’t imagine how many hours we would’ve stood in the queue if we didn’t have Omnia. Once inside the museum, we followed the signs leading to Sistine Chapel ( the short itinerary ) and it still took us hours to get to the chapel itself. Both museum and chapel were magnificent and beautiful, showcasing mostly religious paintings and tapestries and beautiful hand-painted ceiling – even though the constant crowd inside prevented us to enjoy the place to the fullest, and there was also a garden out back where we could enjoy the view of the basilica dome.
After two plus hours, I’m pretty much done with exploring the museum, so we headed out and stopped at a random cafe nearby to have lunch. D ordered bolognese while I ordered carbonara, mine was a bit disappointing. And the portion was as huge as my lunch and dinner combined. D’s bolognese was far better. Oh well, I should’ve gone with pizza!
After lunch we decided to explore Rome a little bit. We took the train to Piazza del Popolo, where the city centre ( and the shops ) were. We navigated ourselves to one of the streets branching out from the square – Via del Corso which happened to be where Sephora and Kiko were. Of course I had to take a quick peek. It was so much fun exploring this area, the streets were filled with locals and tourists alike and there were so much to see, shops, market stalls, gelateria and restaurants lined even the narrowest alleys.
We continued our way and strayed to the alleyways and adjacent streets, found a market on one streets full of stalls selling souvenirs, and walked all the way until we stumbled on Piazza di Spagna, then later on Piazza Venezia and Il Vittoriano monument. Piazza Venezia was so majestic and grand, we took some pictures outside but didn’t go inside the museum – we’d had enough share of museums in a day.
We walked away and followed the signs to Colloseum and stumbled on Roman Forum, a plaza surrounding ruins of government buildings of the past.
From Roman Forum it was just a short walk away to Colloseum and we could already see a long queue to get inside. Funnily enough there were two queues and one was a lot shorter than the other one, so we went that way and within minutes we were inside.
We were both quite content we managed to squeeze in a lot of places in a day. It was a good start to our journey and we couldn’t wait to embark on our next adventure!