Seeing Rome in 12 Waking Hours

I arrived in Rome yesterday at 6pm from Milan taking the new-ish fast train (still 3.5 hrs). My flight out to Barcelona is tomorrow at 9:20am, so I had about 10ish hours of awake time to see Rome for the first time. Thus began my sprint across Rome.

Friday night, I left the hotel and walked down the Spanish Steps towards the Trevi Fountain. Very nice and pretty walk in the evening and there were a good number of people around. It was cold but I can imagine in the summer how crazy it must get here. From Trevi I walked to the Parthenon where I had dinner at the piazza. I got lost a bunch of times on the way back but managed to stop in for gelatto a couple of times on the route which made it enjoyable (altho freezing).

Today (Saturday), I started early and left via Metro for the Colosseum. I got there at 8:30 and to my disappointment they didn’t take credit card for entrance. Seemingly keeping with the time of antiquity there was not a single ATM around for what must have been two miles. Finding an ATM put me back at the Colosseum at 9:15, still early enough to beat the crowd. From there I went off to the Roman Forum, which was something out of this world. Standing at the birthplace of the republican form of government is pretty special. The day had blue skies, not a ton of crowds, and an overall ease to it.

From the Forum, I took the subway across the river to the Vatican and made my way to St Peter’s Square and Basilica. The scale of the building and plaza is unbelievable. It’s so imposing and feels built to make you humble in the greatness of the church. I took the audio guide while I was there and listening to the veneration of everything holy was odd — it was interesting to get preached to while having a history lesson.

By this time it was about 3:30 so I had enough time to go see the Vatican Museum and the Sistine Chapel. The museum was quite impressive on its own. The collection of Egyptian and Etruscan work is incredible. They had a set of Sumerian scrolls and writings that were unfathomably impressible. The Sistine Chapel, and the apartments that lead up to it were equally impressive. My favorite Renaissance piece outside of the Chapel was Raphael’s The School of Athens as well as the Belgian tapestries. Inside the Chapel pick any of Michelangelo’s works, they’re all beautiful. Creation of Adam is particularly striking.

I made my way back via Metro (not without sampling a local Italian digestive at a bar) and parked at the hotel for an hour or so letting my feet rest. I went back out and took a taxi to Piazza Navano, had dinner overlooking one of the fountains. Walking back tonight I had a better sense of direction than last night via the same route, stopping again for gelatto en route.

Tomorrow it’s off to Barcelona for Mobile World Congress. Hopefully a bit warmer than there than here, but either way I’m excited to go.