After Pompei and Herculaneum, we ended our Italy tour with 3 days in Rome, which was barely enough (a bit like Paris in 3 days), but we got to see the highlights.
We started with the Colliseum, Palatine Hill, and the Forum, which took a good part of the first day. I booked the fancy tour of Cooliseum, including underground and the 3rd floor others can't get to. Thanks to the Roma Pass we bought at the train station the previous evening, we didn't have to stand in the super long line to get to Colliseum. Yeah!
the underground was used for staging performers or slaves, and they had platforms that could be elevated to the stage level
From the end of that tour, we got some great views from the 3rd floor, including Palatine Hill, which we went to visit next:
bottom of the arch was quite fancier than the Paris Arc du Triomphe
Next, we went took the Victor Emmanuel II sky elevator for some more great pictures:
And I finished at Capitoline Museum while Jennifer rest and enjoyed the concert that was happening there:
This was a pretty packed day. The next morning we started with the Borghese Gallery where I had morning reservations. Unfortunately it was a no pictures zone and it looked like they were actually serious about it, so I played along and just once didn't take any pictures. Pitty though because it was very pretty. We also visited the park it was in.
Next, we went to the Spanish steps, and a nearby church:
Next, was Castel Sant' Angelo, from which we got great surrounding views, including the nearby Vatican, as well as the passeto/corridor from the Vatican 's St Peter's to Castel Sant' Angelo:
this is the passeto/corridor from the Vatican's St Peter's to Castel Sant' Angelo
St Peter's Cathedral
After that we went to the Priscilla catacombs, which likely was my only bad call. We had to wait almost an hour for our tour, no pictures were allowed, and all we got to see where a few tunnels with no bones or skulls, because that would be disrespectful. Go see the catacombs in Paris, those are much more interesting.
This left us with just enough time to go to the Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi by Bernini and the plaza it's in, and we finished by the nearby Pantheon which we only got to go inside the next day:
The 3rd and last day was a monday, which meant no museums for the most part, but a good time to go see the Vatican. I had reservations for that too, but I upgraded that for a guided tour when we got there.
The special Vatican Guards
The tour guide showed us a better picture of what we would see in the Sistine Chapel on pictures easier to see than the actual dome:
And we then went for the tour. The art collection and wall/ceiling paintings is just amazing:
nice floor :)
it does beat versailles
more nice ceilings
and then more random art:
After that, we finally got to the Sistine Chapel, another 'no pictures' zone (well no one seemed to care)
Who knew James Hodges was displayed in the Vatican? :)
and we went for another loop around to see the rest of the art:
And the 2nd time around we took the 'secret' exit bypass to St Peter's Cathedral:
Unfortunately, part of St Peter's closed earlier than they were supposed to, so we didn't get to see all of it, but oh well. We finished the tour by going through St Peter's Square and then we walked all the way to the Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi plaza, and then to the Pantheon before it closed this time:
And that was it, this time for real, our time in Rome, and in turn Italy, was over. Even if we had 18 days on the ground, we sure saw a lot for that amount of time.
I hadn't done a lot of research on Italy before preparing for the trip, and I have to say that I was very positively impressed by Italy. We really saw a lot of cool stuff, the best cathedrals in the world, and fantastic combined history that I'm not sure other European countries still have.