Saturday, November 28, 2009

Italy (Day 5) – Rome

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From Vatican City, we headed to Rome which we passed by Piazza Venezia. Near Piazza Venezia, there’s the huge monument called National Monument of Victor Emmanuel II, to honour the first king in Italy. The bus did not stop for us to have a photo shot here, such a sad moment.

After 10 minutes of bus ride, we reached the famous tourist spot in Rome, the Colosseum, an open-air venue mainly for spectator sports and gladiator games. Though the structure has fallen into ruins by an earthquake in 847, it is an imposing and beautiful sight in Rome today. Surprisingly, this amphitheater is capable to cater 50,000 spectators. The exterior of the Colosseum, showing the partially intact outer wall (left) and the mostly intact inner wall (right)

Inside view of Colosseum from outside the fence.

Outside the Colosseum, you can take photo with the ancient Roman soldier for a small fee.

Due to limited time given by the tour guide, we did not enter the interior arena of the Colosseum. Kind of a bit regret. Below is the photo taken from the vicinity of Colosseum.

Mobile van selling snacks

Next we headed to an Italian restaurant, La Baia for pizza. I’m not sure if this is the norm way Italian serve pizza to customer. We got a whole thin crust pizza and an appetizer. There's no topping on the pizza, it's just plain cheese and tomato. I thought it’s a lot, but it’s not. Most of us can finish it with ease. I wish to have another piece, but no unless I pay extra :-(

A stone statue on the city wall opposite the restaurant

Our next tourist spot to Trevi Fountain began right after our hearty lunch meal. The bus stopped and we had to walk to the fountain. The Trevi Fountain is the most famous and beautiful fountain in Rome together with the impressive monument. You will see many tourists sitting on the steps surrounding the fountain enjoying the scenery and the smashing sound of the fountain. It’s just a relaxing moment to enjoy. The central figure of the fountain is Neptune, god of the sea. He is riding a chariot in the shape of a shell, pulled by two sea horses guided by a Triton. On the left hand side of Neptune is a statue representing Abundance, the statue on the right represents Salubrity.

The water at the bottom of the fountain represents the sea. Legend said you will return to Rome if you throw a coin into the water and should toss it over your shoulder with your back to the fountain. My wife and I threw the coin into the fountain, but the legend never says when the wish will come true. Probably I did not throw a Euro coins, sigh…shouldn’t be so cheapskate.

On way back to our bus, we bumped into a mobile van selling fresh fruits. Look tempting, but kind of expensive.

I didn’t know Pinocchio is from Rome. Pinocchio is known for having a long nose that becomes longer when he is under stress especially when telling a lie.

While waiting for the bus, I saw an impressive tunnel in the city of Rome.

After we on boarded the bus, it’s started to drizzle till we reached The Piazza di Spagna, which is one of the most popular meeting places in Rome. One of the highlights here will be the Spanish Steps. It is the longest and widest staircase in Europe, with 138 steps leading to the Trinita dei Monti church at the top. The steps can get crowded with people sitting on the steps if it’s not drizzle that day.

At the foot of the Spanish Steps is the Fontana della Barcaccia. The small boat design was inspired by the flooding of the Tevere in 1598, when a small boat stranded here after the water subsided.

The tall column at the square, Colonna dell'Immacolata was erected in 1857 and now topped with a statue of Virgin Mary.

Though it’s drizzling, we took the opportunity to climb up the stairs to the top and have a nice view over Rome.

With ample of time, we took a stroll at the surrounding shops and to my regret, it has become an expensive affair. My wife bumped into a Louis Vuitton boutique and decided to take a look. I’m so hesitated to go in, so I took a picture of the stair inside the shop which attracted me. At the end, I gave in.

While browsing the bags, my wife decided to try few bags which served by a Japanese promoter lady for almost an hour. The way she served is so professional and friendly, no obligation if you don’t buy. Unlike in my country, they will give you a dull look and mumbling in their heart, if you have no intention to buy, get out from the shop. She bought the Noe collection bag and the price here is definitely cheaper according to my wife, even more after minus the GST tax. I told my wife, this bag will be all her special occasion celebration gifts for the next 20 years. I guess she's so desperate to have the bag and she!!!

After the whole day of sigh-seeing, eating and shopping (most expensive item I ever bought for a single item), we headed to the Chinese restaurant nearby for dinner before heading back to the hotel, Cristoforo Colombo. We quickly took the shower and packed our belonging. Tonight will be our last night in Italy. On that night, we went to the nearby cafe we can find (around few hundreds meters walk) for a drink and enjoy the music. We left that around midnight. Wish I could be a little longer in Italy.

The next day at the airport, feeling so reluctant to go home

On the plane, I ordered a ratatouille dish, which is a French dish served with rice, potatoes and some veges.

Good bye ITALY…see you soon, if my wish at Trevi Fountain comes true.