Italy, Rome – A Off Season Trip II - Vatican
Being in Rome one should visit Vatican - the smallest country in the world. Millions of tourists visit it every year and sea its museums, the Sistine chapel, or St Peter's basilica. The entire land is surrouned by ramparts. The state of Vatican consists of the Vaticane gardens, St Peter's square, St Peter's basilica, and another significant structures.
You can get to Vatican by every means of public transportation. Subway was our choice. It is easy to orientate in and there is a subway lines map in every tourist map. We set off from Roma Termini and travelled by A line to Ottaviano - S. Pietro. There we went down Via Ottaviano, crossed Pizza Risorgimento, and then walked down Via di Porta Angelica street which led us to the entrance to Vatican, i.e. St Peter's Square. You don't need to have a map. Just follow other tourists and soon you will spot ramparts of this city state. Moreover, there are many security guards around willing to help you with anything.
The entrance to St Peter's square is for free, plus there are no security checks. There bigns the first moment allowing you to see Vatican in its complete beauty at once. However, there is one more place with even better vista - St Peter's basilica, the main landmark on the square. We planned to visit the dome of the basilica, primarily for the great vista. Also, we planned on visiting the Sistine chapel. However, the long queues made us reconsider and limit our visit only to the basilica. Good half of the square consists of crowds waiting to have their luggage controlled and only then to enter St Peter's basilica and some other famous places. Even an online bought ticket we couldn't get inside in less than an hour. You can drink there but better don't carry a large backpack because you may not be allowed to be let inside. On information boards backpacks are crossed as they are not allowed. However, small backpacks should not posses any problem.
It is free of charge to enter St Peter's basilica and you are allowed to take pictures at most places. It is a huge structure, in fact one of the largest basilicas in the world. It was built during the rule of Constantine I the Great. In the course of time, the basilica saw architecotnic additions and renovations. Some are linked to the famous name of Michelangelo (especially the Last Judgement in the Sistine Chapel).
Upon our isit to the basilica's interior, we moved to the inside of the dome. I recommend you to use the elevator. This way you won't have to climb ungodly amount of steps. This tour is not good for old, or sick people. Climbing the steps is quite strenous. Off season means there are not that many people there. People who needed to rest had no problems to do so during the climb. The vista over the St Peter's square is great reward for getting all the way up for you will see Rome spreading before you. Also, you can buy there sum snack. Once you are back on the square, you can send a postcard right through Vatican post office. You can buy even themed stamps.
We moved to Angel Castle (Castel Sant´Angelo) from Vatican which is on Tibera's right riverbank. Originally, this round building was Emperor Hadrian's mausoleum. It is linked with Tibera's left riverbank by the not less famous Angel Bridge (Ponte Sant´Angelo), an execution ground originally. There is an amazing view on the dome of St Peter's basilica nad the Victor Emanuel II's bridge (Ponte Vittorio Emanuele II.). Then we moved to the beautiful baroque Piazza Nanova square close to another amazing Roma sight - Pantheon which is located on Piazza della Rotonda. This temple is among the most important landmarks from the antiquity. Its construction started in 29 BCE under the rule of Marcus Vipsanius Agrippus. The entrance is free of charge.
We left Pantheon for Piazza di Spagna, the place of the famous Spanish steps, and Barcaccia, the fountain made by Bernini. Trinita dei Monti is a church built in the 16th century and is located at the end of the steps. Close to the church, there is Villa Medici. Our last point of interest was Piazza del Popolo square.
GPS: 41°54'08.3"N 12°27'19.0"E
Text and photos: Veronika Schubertová
Do you have some place that you love the most on the old continent? Rome is our choice! Do you know why? The answer is not a short one and we can name dozens of reasons.
We were pondering if winter or early spring are suitable seasons for a stay in Rome. It turned out, it was a great choice. It is off main season, therefore accommodation, and flight tickets are notably cheaper. There are also lesser tourist crowds (yet in Vatican or at the main train station there are still many people there). Moreover, the weather is amazing. It was bit frosty in the morning but as the day goes on, the sun is more powerful. Temparatures then rise up to 18 °C so we wore just sweaters (some even wore T-shirts and shorts).
A hundred kilometers north of Rome lies the Umbrian town of Orvieto. It sits high above the valley of the Paglia River. The town was founded by the ancient Etruscans. It later became a significant fortress, especially due to its strategic location. Today it consists of two parts. The old town lies at higher altitude, the newer part lies in the valley and it is the place which you see first when you get off the train or park your car. To get to the historic center, you can use the funicular. Up there you will find most of the tourist attractions.
Once more we dive deep into this beautiful town of 20 thousand.
We have probably all heard it: "See Naples and die." Yes, Naples is beautiful, but it is also rough, authentic and dirty. Maybe that's why it will be etched under your skin. Half-dilapidated houses, smelly piles of garbage, but you go a little further and breathe the atmosphere of real Italy. Naples is considered the cradle of modern delicacy, which is nothing but pizza. We also plan to taste the real Neapolitan pizza.
This year did not want to travel much, but we still found tickets to a place we have been planning to see for a long time. The aim of this year's holiday was a diverse Sardinia. Within 14 days we had the opportunity to cross the island from the south through the mountains inland to the east, then north and northwest. Our journey begins in Cagliari, from where we then move east to the island.
Whenever we go on vacation, one of the first things we look for is the highest mountain on the island. It is already our tradition to try to look at the highest point of the area. It will not be different today. We set off to the highest mountain in Sardinia, which is Punta la Marmora with a height of 1,834 m above sea level.
Once Tibur, now Tivoli. The city of sixty thousand is located approximately 30 kilometers east of Rome in the Sabine hills. Emperor Augustus had once enjoyed this place. He sought shelter here from hot summer in Rome.
Spring seems to be a distant dream. Maybe it is worth traveling somewhere where it is warm. Therefore, we chose the town of Ostia to be the place of our article for today. In the past, the town was known as Rome's most important port. It is situated close from the Tyrrhean Sea. Now the town features the second largest excavation site in Italy.
Today we go to a region where you will love to stay for as long as possible.
We were about to stay five days in Rome. So we intended to make some trips around Rome. We received some advice at the visitor's center which led us to visit the town of Cerveteri. The town is situated in the Lazio region about 40 kilometers from Rome. It takes us about an hour by train to reach Marina di Cerveteri station (the train departs several times every day from Roma Termini station). Then you need to reach a bus stop (100 from the train station). A free of charge minibus departs from here to the historic center of Cerveteri (to Piazza Aldo Moro). The ride takes about 20 minutes.
We decided to leave Rome on Sunday for Tivoli, a town about 40 kilometers away. Formerly, this was a place where Rome's rich went to recreate because they had their summer residence there. Today, tourists are most intrigued to visit the magnificent Renaissance villa – Villa d'Este.
The last day in Rome was the perfect day for a trip off the city. We visited two different places. After Villa d‘Este we decided to set off to Frascati. There is Villa Aldobrandini. Frascati is situated 20 kilometers southeast of Rome. A train departs from roma Termini to here regularly. The ride takes half an hour. But bear in mind that the train departs from a pretty remote platform. So don't go to the train station at the last minute.
In the antiquity, Pisa was an important Roman port. However, the Arno River has silted up since. Now, there is a 10 kilometer gap between the city and the sea. It is very likely that you know Pisa as the home of the leaning tower. However, it is possible that you don't know that Campo Santo cemetary or local cathedral are other major sights around here.
Today we take another look at the beautiful city of Bologna.
Siena is situated in central Tuscany, the cradle of Reneissance. Its people are often considered a nation within a nation.
We return to Florence, Italy, to see other interesting places.
On this day we travel to Campania, Italy. Its mountainous landscape is situated in the south of the country and you will lvoe this region. The nature is amazing, history is rich, and food is addicting while everything is wrapped into the beautiful nature which is dotted with beautiful towns.
More than two thirds of Sardinia are covered by mountains. They do not reach dizzying heights, but you will find beautiful and unspoiled nature. It is therefore not surprising that this island is a popular outdoor Mediterranean destination with interesting treks. If there is a place in Sardinia where it will feel completely small, it is the Su Gorropu canyon. The rock sides of the gorge rise to a height of 500 meters, making it the deepest gorge in Europe.
Join us in our visit to the heart of Italy and enjoy all its amazing architectonic pieces. Unfort...