(I forgot to mention in my fitness recap – I did not gain weight on the cruise! I actually lost almost a pound.)
The next port was Civitavecchia, which is an old port for Rome. We traveled to Rome, and began our tour at Trevi Fountain. It was beautiful but very crowded; our guide gave us suggestions for avoiding pickpockets.
We then toured the forum (Roman ruins). Our guide explained that in the Roman senate, the door was closed and the senators could not leave until a decision had been reached. There was no secret vote – the yes votes would move to one side, and the no votes would move to the other side. (We all thought that OUR congress should be locked in a room until they could reach a decision for the good of the country!)
Forum -- temple columns
(forum from the Coliseum)
The marble and columns from many of the ruins was moved to Vatican.
The coliseum was enormous and impressive. Also very crowded. The bottom exposed the maze where the wild animals were kept; they were hoisted up into the arena for battles with gladiators. The whole maze below would have been covered by the floor and sand where the battles were fought.
Our final stop was the Vatican. Because the Vatican is independent from Italy, we had to show our passports. Another tour spent the entire day at the Vatican (including the Sistine Chapel); we chose the tour that included the Roman ruins instead. The central courtyard of the Vatican had been set up for a youth service by the Pope on the next day.
We were able to tour St Pietro's Basilica – AMAZING!
The Basilica housed Michelangelo's Pieta. Because a crazed visitor attacked the original, this is a replica.
Inside of the Basilica, all of the artwork and frescos have been replaced by wonderful mosaics in order to avoid earthquake damage.
We saw the changing of the guard for the Swiss guards. I loved their colorful uniforms! Our guide thought the uniforms look like pajamas.
Our next port was Naples, and we took a bus tour of the Amalfi Coast. The villages are charming, and scenery was spectacular. The drive has a LOT of hairpin curves where only one vehicle can go, and lots of up and down. At times our bus was stuck because another driver didn’t check for oncoming traffic, and the whole line of cars had to back up. Parking was almost impossible. would NEVER drive myself on this road no matter how charming the scenery!
Beach at Amalfi
We had time to walk through Amalfi village, and I had my first true gelato. It was wonderful!
Cathedral at Amalfi has marvelous mable inlays
View from restaurant (toward Salerno)
Well I had better get back to my fall chores (raking leaves and putting away the outdoor furniture). Writing about Italy reminds me of summer and warmth! More later!