|It was always going to happen, the rain had finally caught up with us and how. The last couple of days in Florence were very wet and the rain had followed us down the A1 to Rome. Entering Rome wasn`t as difficult as we first thought however after missing the worlds most hidden campsite entrance we were coasting down the via Flamino into centro roma. It is at this point the drivers turned on us and the skys really opened up. We skirted around central Rome, through some strange woodlands and two hours skirting round the borders of the campsite we were there. We found the Italian people to be very friendly and always willing to help (once they realised we were aussies), however once behind the wheel of the car they become bumper hungry maniacs. Six lanes regularly merge into one but the obvious policy is never let a car with GB in anywhere. A number of times Simon was forced to roll down the window in the pouring rain to exchange pleasantries with the drivers who would then apologise profusely then let us in. Our take on the different driving methods employed by Europeans will have to wait for another update.
Our first day in Rome we hopped on the 110 open-top bus which runs from the Terminus round all the main sights in town. The Romans have a saying 'Roma, non basta una vita' which means Rome, a life time is not enough, given the number of sights we spun past on our 2.5 hour circuit of the city it was clear our three days wasn't really going to be.
We hopped off the bus, drenched then headed for the Piazza San Pietro. We spent the rest of the day marvelling at the square and St Peters Basilica words can't describe the incredible feeling of walking into the worlds biggest basilica. We wandered around inside looking at the 52 designated points of interest inside the basilica then took the lift (then 322 stairs) to the top of Michaelangelo's dome, still the tallest structure in Rome. The view was like something neither of us had ever seen, looking across Rome it is an excellent way to get a better sense of the city's geography. I was also very surprised I was able to get Simon up to the top (I think the Rome smog must have gone to his head).
The next day was a blockbusting walking tour through the Centro Storico, starting at the iconic Trevi fountain we threw the obligatory coin over the shoulder, then down to Palazzo Chigi the prime ministers official residence. Then as promised the Pantheon introduced itself as we rounded the corner, having withstood the rigours of two millenia and the stripping of most its bronze to make Bernini´s baldacchino in St Peters Basilica it had both of us gobsmacked. This is the closest thing that reminds us of what the great monuments on the Acropolis would have looked like. Next sight was Bernini´s Elefantio. A quick stroll later and we were sitting enjoying a coffee in Piazza Navona, past a few more works of art masquerading as fountains then finished our walk in the heart of roman life the Campo de´Fiori. We finished off the day with a trip to Palazzo Venezia the first renaissance building in Rome and looked at the balcony where Mussolini gave his speeches to the packed piazza during the fascist period in Rome.
The next day we toured the Roman Forum and took a guided tour of the Colosseum. Both of which were excellent, the Romans had built such an advanced city. Modern in so many respects, it really was incomprehensible how far they were ahead of the times. The excavations were still going ahead at full pace it is exciting to think of not only what they have already discovered but what they may find in the future.
Our time in Rome was at an end, it was time to push our arc away from the wharf and track north to Pisa.