And so began one of the most memorable Birthdays yet, a clear and sunny day began with a trip to the Trevi Fountain, quite possibly the most amazing fountain in Rome or anywhere, with the sun out it stands in beautiful relief, with the temperature rising it is all you can do not to want to swim in the pool. More gelato will have to do instead, well it is a celebration after all.
Though getting close enough to even touch the water can be a challenge as this attraction draws a hefty crowd in what was a surprisingly small space.
Wishes made we moved on, everywhere you look there are beautiful architectural gems, don’t forget to look all around.
Even the shopping arcades are beautiful here and full of even more perfect leather goods. To ensure the safety of our bank balances we kept on walking, finding the river and plenty of bridges that lead the eye to amazing facades.
Further ramblings took us across the Fiume Tevere too…
The Castel Sant’Angelo a vast circular castle near Vatican City, originally built by the Emperor Hadrian as a Mausoleum for himself and his family. It demonstrates his penchant for producing vast structures (the Pantheon and wall included).
Walking around the battlements gives a wonderful panoramic view across the city, cannons and catapults are still in place ready to defend the castle if needed.
Wonderfully serene with a lot fewer visitors than other places we had been to, you could take your time and imagine it in use as it would have been. It feels a little like an enclosed town, in which you could weather out a lengthy siege
Heading into the centre of the structure where the original crypt was, you head up through the oldest parts to the newest.
The exterior gives away nothing of the inner keep with its artworks and murals.
The inner keep is a maze of rooms each one filled with surprises
including a pretty spectacular view of the vatican.
Lunch managed to pass us by so we picked up some gelato from near the Piazza del Popolo before heading into the Villa Borghese Gardens seemed the right and proper thing on such a glorious day.
I thought the views from the castle had been impressive but from the Terrazza del Pincio it is another level.
A short walk from our hotel we finished an exceptional day with a gloriously simple and tasty dinner, the menu was on iPads in multiple languages helping those of us who never managed to get much beyond ordering a couple of beers.
Our final day in Rome, checked out and with our luggage in storage at the Termini station ready to collect later before we head back to london, we set out from there to Vatican City. Pre-booking tickets proved to be a real boon as the queue was huge. Pretty much walking straight in was handy given the shortness of time.
There is no shortage of art here the buildings themselves are part of the attraction
There are key attractions that draw the crowds but also a fair few other galleries that are quieter and contain no less a staggering collection of treasures.
The Egyptian and statue exhibits are also worth taking some time over
Of course the Sistine Chapel, has to be visited but on route you pass through room after room of stunning frescos and artworks
There isn’t a great deal of time to take it all in as you are pulled along by the current of the crowd.
You are not allowed to take photos once inside the Chapel and silent contemplation is the expectation.
The route out is shorter though no less filled with things to take your attention.
No visit is complete without a visit to St Peters Square, which was being set up for the popes speech the following day.
With more time in the future we’ll hopefully go in the Basilica, but as time had flown by with and a flight to catch, we picked up a final gelato and headed home.