Leaving Turin, Italy, on October 25, my wife (Lupe) and I were finally together for the first time on this trip. Until now, our schedules and accommodations were different, and we spent little time in the same activities. On a high speed train, we were off to Rome. After exploring different options, our tickets were booked in advance in Canada and received the next business day from Rail Europe. The Rome station was busy, and the line up for taxis was long. We decided to take the underground to the station near the Vatican, as we knew our hotel was across the road from the Vatican Museums. It proved to be a bit more of a challenge than I experienced on the underground in London, as there were many areas where we went up and down on steps as we tried to move along quickly. Once at street level, directions were not easy to obtain, but we did arrive at the hotel within about 15 to 20 minutes.
Our stay was at the Hotel Alimandi Vaticano, and it was immediately across from the Vatican Museums entrance. It was an exceptional stay in all ways. For our first evening, Lupe and I enjoyed dinner at a restaurant recommended by the concierge. Upon arrival at Terno Secco, we learned he had called ahead and a table was awaiting us.
Of course, the restaurant staff were pleased to pose for photos after the enjoyable meal.
Our first full day in Rome started with planning our activities at the Vatican. In some ways, I wish we had planned earlier, but in other ways this was good and it all worked out. It would have been easier to plan there if we were staying a little longer. Many thanks to concierge Irene for all of her assistance. After reviewing options, we booked our mid afternoon ticket for the Vatican Museums online directly. Paying a 4 Euro service fee, in addition to the 15 Euro enrance, allowed us to print our tickets and go right in without waiting in line. At times, the regular line was long, extending around the walls!
We truly had no wait as we entered and passed through security later in the day. Here are the photos from the Vatican Museums.
Prior to the booked museums visit, Irene suggested we visit St. Peter’s Square and St. Peter’s Basilica. There were a lot of people, and the line for the Basilica seemed endless. However, to our pleasant surprise, it moved quickly and we were in within a half hour.
One of our other hopes was to attend the weekly Papal Audience in St. Peter’s Square, held Wednesday mornings when the Pope was not away. Irene came through again. Our first full day was Tuesday. In the morning, she said she would try to obtain tickets for us. By later in the day, they had arrived. They are free, but you just need to know where to get them.
Tuesday night was another dinner recommended by Irene, a short walk from the hotel. Sorry, no photos, but I will add the name of the restaurant if I find it.
Wednesday morning, we arrived at St. Peter’s Square two hours early. People were arriving, but it was not exceptionally busy. As a result, we were able to find seats close to the front. When the Pope later arrived, I was able to move to the back of the seat area and be quite close as he passed, twice. However, due to a problem with my telephoto lens, I did not get the number and quality of photos I should have. That was a day when I should have had more than one lens with me.
Wednesday evening was our last in our short stay. We took a bus to the Coliseum where we were able to walk around outside. Photos were not great due to the darkness, but some were okay.
Returning to the area near the hotel, we experienced our third dinner in Rome, with the waiter deboning my sea bass at the table.
It was a very early morning departure to the airport on Thursday, and we were warned to beware that the taxi drivers pretty much set their own rates at that time. However, the night concierge confirmed a rate of 50 Euros with the driver. Using the meter, it was slightly over, so we paid the agreed fare, also covering the additional and a little more.
Our return was to Frankfurt, Germany, but that is where Lupe and I parted on different flights to eventually reach Edmonton.