Hello, hello! I know! we could have walked to Rome in the time it has taken me to get this blog post up! But I am packed and reloaded now and ready to carry on. I have had some fun distractions in the meantime, but also I was at a blogging crossroads. I had used up all the available free space at wordpress, so I had to have a think about, did I want to pay to keep blogging? I have had a lot of joy out of blogging and sharing on Instagram, so I decided to go ahead and blog on. Now that I have paid for the upgrade I even have my own web address, so my blog can now be found at hopeandwander.me rather than having the wordpress address added. Exciting times I tell you! (ha)
You know how they say, “Getting there is half the fun?” They also say all roads lead to Rome, but we wondered upon driving towards the city if all roads led to our campground? We approached Rome from the north as our campground was also on the north side. As we got nearer I thought it was going much better than what I had expected because we had no idea what kind of traffic situations we would encounter. All was going well and the sign to the campground was in sight with just less than a mile to go. Until! we took the wrong fork in the road and we were just so slightly off and onto the wrong road and no way could we back up to get back onto the right one. With the caravan we couldn’t just turn around and go back the other way on the road, and even if we could there was a major traffic jam in that direction. The result was that we had to drive down to the next ring road, (not a freeway but a smaller more congested road) of course on a Friday afternoon rush hour time. Have you ever seen a movie from Rome where horns are honking and traffic is going in all directions, people are shouting out their car windows while 6 lanes of traffic are trying to merge into two with motorcycles and scooters whizzing by on all sides? Well that is exactly what is was like the first hour only pulling a caravan! Husband has driving nerves of steel and after two hours delay we finally made it to the campground. Super big and busy campground but we had an available space and soon we were set up on site. The campground had it’s own travel service center which was very helpful and also had an excellent restaurant which was a good place to wind down the first night. The next day we took the 20 minute train ride on the train shown below into Rome. We had the journey and now time for the destination.
It may just look like a graffiti covered train, but come to find out the train takes the same path as the historic northern route that led ancient travellers to and from Rome along Via Flaminio. Our first view of Rome was at the northern entrance of the Aurelian Walls built around 270 AD.
Through the arch and into the Plaza del Popolo. We weren’t sure which way to turn but we headed up the hill to the top balcony above the fountain.
The view of the plaza from above. In the distance the dome of St. Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican. The Egyptian obelisk in the center of the plaza the second oldest and one of the tallest in Rome (and was under repair when we were visiting.)
Back down the steps to a Wow! moment when you stand near the entrance of the Tridente, the three streets that lead into the city on either sides of the twin domed churches.
Two of the things I was most looking forward to seeing in Rome other than the Vatican and the Sistine Chapel were the Spanish Steps and The Trevi Fountain. So you can imagine my disappointment when we got to the Spanish Steps to find the church at the top covered in scaffolding and with a big billboard in front of it. Sorry Max Mara but not what I wanted to see. The last day we went by and the fountain at the bottom was also being prepared for restoration.
The view from the top of the Spanish Steps was nice though and there is a little artist plaza up there and less of a crowd.
I might as well get the other disappointment out in this post so I can move onto more positives in the next. The approach to the Trevi Fountain.
Trevi fountain, shut down! I know it is up and running now, after an extensive restoration funded by Fendi. But there was no water in the fountain to throw in a coin to assure a safe return to the city, no romance, no mystery, just a construction zone. I know Rome was not built in a day, or restored in a day, but really to have two or three of the major sites under construction at the same time?? Bad timing on our part I guess.
At least Piazza Navona was beautiful and the fountains were working. And that my friends is the first post on Rome and I will be back to finish this trip report.