I haven't written much about the traffic in Rome, so I will take the opportunity to do so now. The roads here are pretty much ruled by small cars and tons of Vespas. There are rarely any lines on the streets, and usually only depicting turn lanes...and even when there are lanes, it's rare that people actually stay in them. Traffic lights are not always followed either...we've seen a few instances of people stopped at green lights, waiting until the light turns red and then going! Crossing the street can be an adventure in itself, and it's a good thing Kev is good at it and brave enough because without him I'd be standing on the corner wating to cross for hours!
With that being said, we started out this morning with a trip to Tivoli. This involved walking to the subway, changing trains and then taking a bus. The subway was no problem...the bus ride was something I hope I dont have to experience again. We were the last people to get on the bus at the first station. The bus was extremely full, all seats filled and people crowded into the aisle. That left us in the stairwell of the bus, standing right up there with the driver...not fun in all this crazy Italian traffic. There was some kind of accident or something wrong with the streets we were supposed to take, so the bus journey took about an hour when it should have taken about 30 min or so. I thought there was no way any other people woud get on this bus...but I was wrong. The driver continued to make stops along the way and pick up more and more passengers. Oh, and by the way, the driver was talking on his cell phone and texting while driving in heavy traffic. This did not help my nerves any...plus the close contact with fellow travelers...it was not fun to say the least. Eventually near the end of our journey some people started to leave the bus at stops leaving room for me to finally sit down...and just when we thought it was going to empty out, MORE people got on and it was extremly full again... At one point Kev was practically sitting on my lap to get out of peoples way. We were so glad to finally get off that bus in Tivoli.
Once we got into Tivoli, we visited the Villa d'Este, which is a very grand estate with huge gardens and tons of fountains. The grounds were gorgeous! We took lots of pictures of the fountains...all the pictures were outside because we weren't allowed to take pics of the inside which has more rooms than you can imagine, full of frescoes floor to ceiling. The Villa was designed over time by different Cardinals.
We had lunch here and had thought about going to another Villa, but decided against it because it's difficult to get to...so instead we took a much nicer and less full bus ride back to the subway and back into Rome. Then, we visited the Forum! This was pretty cool because once again we had our audio guides to talk about all the ruins we were looking at. We started with the Arch of Titus, the remains of a huge basillica, the temple of Julius Caesar, the central courtyard, the Arch of Septimus Severus, and the eight large columns that are all that remains of the Temple of Saturn....just to name a few. It's amazing to think that all of these monstrous buildings and statues were once here, and now all that remains are pieces.
Next we went to the Victor Emannuel monument, or the Wedding Cake as Kev likes to call it. We took a panoramic elevator to the top to see Rome from the Sky. Awesome views of the whole city from here! We could see pretty much everywhere we've visited so far from up here. We even had extra time and got to sit and enjoy a snack and the view from the monument.
Our next stop was the Capitoline Museums where we saw more ruins that were found as foundations for the buildings were being laid and which are still being excavated. We also saw the remains of the gigantic Constantine statue that was once in the Forum in the basillica. There was something big going on there today, we haven't found out what it was, possibly a new statue being unveiled after restoration...we coudnt get over there to see, but there was tons of security, and from a window upstairs we could see this huge statue and lots of people taking pictures.
When we finished at the museum it was dark out, so Kev took some nice pictures of the Forum and Colosseum at night. There was an awesome lightning storm going on behind the Colosseum, so Kev tried to get some shots of that too...we'll have to see how they came out but they looked pretty cool on the display!
We were lucky enough to remain pretty dry all day but of course the rain came in tonight. During dinner we had to move inside because of the threat of rain, and when we got back closer to our hotel it was really starting to rain. We got our nightly gelato and went back to the Trevi Fountain to see it light up at night and to throw in our money so we know we'll come back to Rome!
We are pretty sore and tired now, so much walking! Now we are listning to the pouring rain, seeing flashes of lightning and the huge booms of thunder which seem to be right overhead. Are we ever going to get away from the rain??