Neither of us slept as well as the first night. I find that true most of the time when traveling. The second night is the worst.
We were up before 6 and made in room coffee to get us going. Breakfast started at 7 am and we shared a table with Rick and Cheryl from Rhode Island.
Brad came by and showed us our seat assignments for today. We needed to be on the bus at 9:30. We We first picked up the walking group and our guide, Carlotta, before heading towards the Colosseum.
It was a zoo there. This was the 3 day walk for breast cancer and they go right past the Colosseum.
|3 Day Walkers
Every person that goes in has to have their bags inspected. We were lucky to be part of a group which made it quicker but it was still a process.
|Carlotta with her scarf on a stick guiding into the right line
The Colosseum was very interesting. After Carlotta took us around and showed up various points of interest we had 30 minutes on our own before meeting the group for our picture in front of the triumph arch.
|Stones that shoes have walked on for thousands of years
We learned that the Colosseum once was much more ornamental. The granite and artwork was removed by poachers many hundreds of years ago.
It took 20 minutes of that time for me to get through the line for the ladies room! I would have enjoyed more time there except for the crowding. There were too many people in there.
|Arch of Constantine
After dropping off the people not going on the optional tours, the bus headed towards St. Paul outside the wall basilica. Just driving around Rome there is awesome scenery so I took the following pictures. (If you know the names, let me know).
|Pyramid of Cestius
It was much quieter in terms of traffic and people when we arrived at Basilica of Saint Paul Outside the Walls.
We had lunch at the cafeteria there before heading inside and shared a table with Mary Ann and Dave from Toronto. Steve and I both selected the fried chicken cutlet panini with coke/diet coke to drink. We topped it off with chocolate gelato.
|The holy door
The basilica was absolutely beautiful. I learned about holy doors at the four papal basilicas. They are only opened every 25 years during the Jubilee year.
|Portrait of Pope Francis
There are portraits of every pope in the basilica.
|The tomb of St. Paul
|Fresco in St. Paul’s Outside the Walls
After this we headed to the catacombs. There are 11 miles mapped although we only walked a brief part. No pictures allowed unfortunately.
|Ticket to Catacombs
I found it interesting but Steve didn’t think it was worth touring.
The optional dinner was at Da Pancrazio restaurant. It is built on the ruins of the Theatre of Pomppey which happens to be where Julius Caesar was murdered. It’s in a scenic area of town where they have the flower markets known as Campo de’ Fiori. Of course, I had to take pictures on the way to restaurant (both from the bus and on foot).
|Campo de’ Fiori Fountain
|Giordano Bruno Memorial
|Brad demonstrating how to use public water fountain
After touring the downstairs area and learning about the frescos and double glazed plates there, we headed to the room where we’d be dining on the lower level.
You’ll notice all the photos have a yellowish color due to the underground location.
We sat a table with Teresa and Maria from Melbourne, Australia. Maria is visiting Italy for the first time since she left 60 years ago!
The tables were set with bottles of red and white wine as well as both types of bottled water. You could get soda or beer if that was preferred. There was also a basket of bread and packaged bread sticks.
The first course was melon and prosciutto. We then had mixed green vegetables (spinach, artichokes, beans, etc.) that was very good.
This was followed by a fantastic cannelloni. By this time the musicians had started playing and they were quite enjoyable. There was dancing, singing and everyone really had fun with the two performers.
The main course was veal with peas. This was followed by a tomato and lettuce salad.
Finally we were served the dessert which was zuppa inglese cake. It was delicious with the chocolate and vanilla custard. They also served expresso.