Rome Day One: TAKING THE ON-AND-OFF BUS

The Omnia Pass

We bought Omnia Passes online prior to our trip. Like the city passes we bought in Paris and Vienna, this one offered 3-day On-and-Off Bus tickets, public transit rides and museum passes; additionally, it there were “skip the line” tickets to major sights like the Vatican Museum, Sistine Chapel, and Colosseum (and the lines were long!). Interestingly, the passes are sold by the Catholic Church and we had to go to St. Peter’s Square to pick them up.

St. Peter’s Basilica

One of the fountains in St. Peter’s Square

 

We took advantage of the bus passes to get an overview of the city the first day. While driving through, one can get the impression that Rome is an old, dirty, and covered in graffiti. However, when the bus arrives at key points of interest, all that changes. (I guess you could say that about most major cities—Paris seems dirtier now than when we first visited in 2004. Though not dirty, San Francisco is covered with litter created by the vaste number of homeless people.)

On-and-Off Bus

 

 

City Sights

Gateway to the Colosseum

A glimpse of gladiators near the Colosseum

One the way home from the bus, we spotted a little restaurant, called Catinari, with a few outdoor tables. We had our first traditional Roman meal: Bob had spaghetti with sea bass and fish roe, and I had spaghetti with clams in a thick mushroom sauce. Deliciioso!

Afterwards, we walked down the rest of the narrow street and discovered that we were in the “Jewish Ghetto,” an area established in 1555 as a home for Jewish immigrants that is now a foodie paradise.

Ancient gate and buildings in “Jewish Ghetto.”

Walking back toward our apartment, we spotted a beautiful building that turned out to be the Great  Synagogue of Rome.

Great Synagogue of Rome

Continuing our walk over the Garibaldi bridge and down viale Trastevere to our apartment, we stopped for some gelato at a little corner shoppe (the gelato here is amazing: all handmade with flavors like lemon and mint, licorice, brownie with chocolate chips, and very berry with pieces of berry inside–we’ll never look at ice cream the say way again!) The weather’s been wonderful–cool mornings, warm to hot afternoons, mild evenings–perfect to enjoy gelato every day, and sometimes even twice.

“Siestas” have become an enjoyable part of our travel agenda–taking nap or just a break during the heat of midday. Then we often go out for a walk, maybe have a gelato or a glass of wine, and decide where we to have dinner. Since we had eaten a large late lunch, we decided to eat “in”–bread, cheese and smoked salmon with wine.

PLAN FOR TOMORROW: A private tour of the Vatican Museum, the Sistine Chapel, and St. Peter’s Basilica

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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