Rome Journals

Cruising the Mediterranean

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A June 2009 trip to Rome by Two For the Road

Old Meets New Photo, Rome, Italy More Photos
Quote: Travel from Rome to Venice with stops in Monaco, Pisa, Naples, Santorini, Mykonos, Athens, Olympia, Corfu, and Turkey. If you want to experience the major sights on your own rather than through the windows of a crowded tour bus then this journal is for you!
Santorini View at Lunch Photo, Oia, Santorini
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When we first considered taking a Mediterranean cruise, Santorini was one port that just had to be on the itinerary. We have made a decision to fill our home with photos of our travel experiences and high on our list of "must haves" was a shot of the blue domed churches of Santorini with the Sea of Crete in the background. Santorini is a located in a group of islands called the Cyclades. The landscape of the island is considered by many to be the most spectacular in the world with wonderful beaches to the east and incredible sunsets on the western side of the island.The first evidence of humans inhabiting the island dates back to the 3rd millennium BC. Excavations have confirme...Read More
Beach on the Bay of Napoli in Sorrento Photo, Sorrento, Italy
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Naples offered us many choices for our day trips. We wanted to avoid the one dimensional cruise ship tours and see as much as we could, so after a lot research and planning, we chose to walk through Naples, visit the ruins of Pompeii, explore the enchanting city of Sorrento and cruise the Bay of Napoli – all in less than eight hours and without feeling rushed.The port in Naples can accommodate large ships providing us with easy access to our adventures ashore. With the help of other online contributors I have created a "Pompeii on Your Own" guide in MS Word format that will help you to navigate travelling to this spectacular site on your own. It features pictures and step by step direction...Read More

Relaxing in Pisa

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The Leaning Tower of Pisa Photo, Pisa, Italy
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Pisa (via Livorno)Livorno is Italy’s third largest shipping port serving as a gateway to Pisa and Florence. Despite its diminutive size, Pisa was once the capital of a commercial republic and once challenged Venice and Genoa in the 11th century for Mediterranean trade and played an important role in the First Crusade. Florence is arguably Italy’s artistic center and the jewel of the Renaissance, filled with majestic piazzas, sculptures and cathedrals. After spending three days in Rome exploring similar sights, we felt that we would not be able to spend as much time as we would need to in order to fully explore Florence so we opted to spend our day in Pisa and vowed to return to...Read More

A Day in Monte Carlo and Nice

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Arches at a Nice Store Photo, Nice, France
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Our first stop was in Monaco. Although it is less than one square mile in size, Monaco is a sovereign state with Monte Carlo taking its place as the eastern gateway to the Riviera. French is the official language however most signs are in English too. The majority of residents speak English so communicating was never a problem. The average net worth of Monte Carlo’s 33,000 residents is $4.5M and in order to be considered for full time residency, at least half of that net worth must be in liquid assets. That clearly explains the number of exotic cars we saw throughout the city. Monaco is a tax free haven for the world’s rich and famous.Our self guided itinerary for the day included taking t...Read More
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The cruise ships dock at Civitavecchia which is approximately a one hour train ride from the Termini Station in Rome. After a spectacular summer thunderstorm in the morning we decided to take a cab to the station instead of walking uphill along via Cavour.You should plan to arrive at the Termini station at least one our in advance even if you have pre-purchased your tickets online. The Termini station is very large and is difficult to navigate. We were unable to find an information desk to help point us in the right direction. The confusion exists because your train tickets are purchased to your destination (Civitavecchia) but the train you need to board is designated by the last stop. Unf...Read More

Rome at Night

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Old Meets New Photo, Rome, Italy
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Rome at NightThe magic of nightfall seems to awaken Rome, transforming the city. The tour busses and the heat of the June sun give way to conversations filled with laughter and the sound of music emitting from nearby restaurants. Even the sculptures and ruins appear to come alive as many are illuminated by floodlights offering those with a camera a unique photo opportunity.I would recommend taking an evening stroll to see the Colosseum and Trevi Fountain. They are both truly magical at night. As we walked by the Forum, we were surprised to see a play being performed on the Forum site. Although we were unable to understand the actors were saying, we enjoyed watching it for sever...Read More

Rome Sights - Day 2

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Abstract View of the Pantheon Photo, Rome, Italy
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Our itinerary on day two included the Vatican, Vatican Museum, Piazza Navona, and the Pantheon.Vatican CityWe decided to walk to the Vatican. Our route took us by the Pantheon and although it was a longer walk from our B&B, the cloud cover made the day a little more bearable. The Vatican has a dress code so pants (or Capri pants for women) must be worn if you want to enter St. Peter’s Basilica and the Vatican museum.St. Peter’s Basilica is free to enter and I would recommend arriving before 10:30 am to avoid the long lines. As we were leaving around noon, the lines were at least an hour to an hour and a half long. Inside St. Peter’s you are immediately in awe of...Read More

Rome Sights - Day 1

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Old Meets New Photo, Rome, Italy
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After a great night’s rest and a taste of Rome fueling our enthusiasm, we emerged from our B&B armed with my camera as we set out on our first full day in Rome. On our itinerary were the Forum, The Colosseum, the Trevi Fountain and the Spanish Steps. The ForumThe Forum was the center of political, commercial and judicial life in Ancient Rome. Dating back to the 5th century BC, the Forum evolved through a variety of expansions to keep pace with the growth of Rome. Archaeological excavations began in the 18th century and continue today with ruins uncovered that date back through the different period of Roman history.It took us less then five minutes to walk to the...Read More
Capitoline Museum Photo, Rome, Italy
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Capitoline HillWe began exploring the Capitol region around 6:00 pm on the evening we arrived in Rome. In June the sun sets in Rome at 8:45 PM and we needed all of that remaining daylight to cover the expansive grounds of the Capitol region. The Capitol was the center of the Roman world. You can enter from the north alongside the Forum or to the west via The Cordonata, a spectacular stairway that was designed by Michelangelo. Looking down to the east you will see views of the Forum and the Colosseum; to the south you will see the Palatine and the Teatro di Marcello. On the North side of the Capitol you will pass by Piazza Venezia and the recently restored Victor Emmanuel Monume...Read More

Rome 101

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Capitoline Museum Photo, Rome, Italy
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Finding a Place to StayWe looked for several months at a variety of Hotels and B&B’s in Rome for our pre-cruise three night stay. We began by mapping out the location of the sights that we wanted to see on Google Earth such as the Trevi Fountain, the Forum, The Colosseum, Spanish Steps, The Vatican, Piazza Navona, The Pantheon and the Capitol. Once those were plotted, we added several hotels and a few B&B`s to our Rome map based on the contributions from IgoUgo members, TripAdvisor reviews and comments from CruiseCritic.com contributors. I would also highly recommend buying the Rome guide published by DK Eyewitness Travel. It is an easy read and highlights Rome by area making it ve...Read More

About the Writer

Two For the Road

Two For the Road
Calgary, Alberta