Day 011 Italy : Rome

We awoke on Friday morning to a few clouds and the sat phone signal being somewhat temperamental - probably also caused by being surrounded by trees.  Of course, the test on Thursday afternoon with BBC Radio Manchester went off without a hitch (of course it did!).  The interview was ok but as I was (picture this, dear reader, if you will) somewhat distracted as I dashed from clearing to clearing whilst trying to interpret Alan's questions bouncing about the ether and echoing triple time in my ear, the interview was not the best I'd ever done.  But we did get some great coverage for SOS Children's Villages, so, thanks Alan, much appreciated.

Once we'd finished the interview, even though we'd missed the campsite bus up into town, we decided that there was still enough time to go to Rome so we got ourselves together and off we went.  Did you know that in Italy you have to have a ticket before you get on a public bus?  No, neither did we but the bus driver took pity on us as Trevor mimed frantically and used his new language Franilangree-ish (more about this later!) and we cadged our first free ride.  The train tickets to Rome, even though it's a 1 hour 20 minute journey, only cost us €6.00 each and suddenly the prices at home for rail travel seems astronomical and a big rip-off.  Health & Safety is not huge in Italy and crossing to platforms is done across the lines - yes, no subways here, those are for sissies.... LOL but we did think that the sign telling you how to use the crossings was somewhat redundant... when else would you cross???  

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The first thing that struck us about Rome is the graffiti.  It's everywhere.  A real pity as the graffiti is random and destructive and when we say everywhere, we mean everywhere.  On the trains inside and out, on benches, walls, chairs, doors and where ever there's some free space.  Even the colloseum, a building that was built in 77AD hasn't escaped it.  It's a real shame.  Having said that though it did not distract from the awe-inspiring atmosphere of the buildings. 

The vatican was first on our list.a_SG101393 a_SG101397.  We decided to stick to visiting just the Basillica as the line for the tombs was at least 3 hours waita_SG101401.  We went straight in and stopped dead in our tracks.  It is the most beautiful, breath-taking building we have ever seen.  The artwork and sculpture, well, It inspired such emotion when I first saw it that I almost cried and for the first half an hour didn't take a single photograph.  When I eventually started taking them, here's what we saw.

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St Peter's tomb The painted ceiling of the dome that you see from the outside The altar   Outside again in the piazza

Cross off item 52 on our bucket list.  We ate a pizza in Rome in the shadow of the vatican and it was glorious - thin, crispy, cooked in a fire oven and yum yum yum.  Although we had to take out a second mortgage to buy it :o) - well, worth the experience.  The water that we bought as well was obviously holy water - at that cost, it couldn't have been plain!!

Then it was off to the colosseum (how do you spell this?? it looked so wrong as "colloseum").  It is MUCH bigger than we both expected it to be.  Although it was built for 60 000 spectators, you just don't get your head around the fact that something so ancient could be so big and built with such precision and grandeur. 

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Standing inside, if you squint your eyes and tilt your head, you can feel the building come alive and the stadium rock as 60 000 people stamp their feet and cheer as the gladiators make their appearance; you can hear the distance sound of chains clanking and snapping as slaves try to turn back and animals strain to get out. 

#1 Kirsty Lovell on 4.28.2009 at 9:17 AM

Hey you two

Seeing these pictures makes me so extremely envious!!!! You lucky feeeshes.

Hehe, anywho just wanted to let you know that Ross and i are praying for your SOS Fundraising.

Be safe, take care.

Love kirst

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Hi Kirsty

Thanks for following the website and for your thoughts and prayers - we need them as we have a huge amount to collect.  We still pinch ourselves every night to make sure that this is all real!!  We are extremely priviledged and don't want to waste a second of our time.  Keep in touc.  Da Uncle and Da Aunt. xxx 

#2 locatelli don Giovanni (don Giò) on 4.29.2009 at 12:24 AM

Avete raggiunto la Città Eterna. Il cuore, la culla della Cristianità. Dove Pietro e Paolo hanno raggiunto la grande Roma e con la loro forza e quella dello Spirito hanno trasmesso i valori e fondamenti del cristianesimo. Amore verso Dio e verso il prossimo. Portroppo a volte gli uomini non hanno saputo o voluto ascoltare la vera voce. Ma la Fede in Cristo, è grande da spostare le montagne e trasformare il nostro cuore. Sappiate donare .... e donando .... riceverete... 100... 1000... volte di più di quanto avete ricevuto. don Giò

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Even with all the people in the Basillica, we still found it to be one of the most spiritual places we have visited.  It was a very emotional experience.  Our visit to Italy has been one that will stay with us forever.