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After our Abruzzo mountain adventure, it was time for a stretch of more "classical" Italian exploration: that of the great cities of central and northern Italy. The Itinerary we chose was fairly predictable, but irresistably so.

First stop on our cultural express: Rome, "the Eternal City". Although the saying goes "Rome wasn't built in a day", and my own followup "you can't see Rome in a day", we did. We left our Abruzzo campsite early in the morning and drove a couple of hours into Rome. I chose to park the car that resides under the Villa Borghese park (a place I've used before and come to value as a pretty good place to leave your car), and walk from there.
A street in Rome
Piazza del popolo
Jenn and St. Peters
We wandered around a bit of the Villa Borghese before heading towards the Vatican, a place I wanted to show to Jenn. We passed through many wonderful piazze, including the Piazza del Popolo, a large and notable piazza just outside the Villa Borghese. Jenn was especially enamoured of the colorful distinctive streets we walked through on the way to the Vatican.
St Peters Basilica
The Vatican Guard
Front Facade, St Peters Basilica
I had wanted to finally see the Sistine Chapel (for some reason I am always there when it is closed), but when I asked the guards about when we could visit, we got a vague answer about it having been closed for the day already. But it was only 2:30pm!!! How early do you have to get here? Foiled again!

Wandering around inside the Basilica, we appreciated the beautiful and immense (if somewhat dark and somber) interior. No one gave me a hard time about me snapping pictures here and there (for some reason, the Catholic Church has a wildly inconsistent policy on picture-taking within their facilities). We did the trek to the top of the dome at St. Peter's Basilica, where the clear sunny Roman day provided excellent views in all directions. Boy, talk about crowded up there.
Papal Tombs
Main Hall, St Peters Basilica
The Main Dome
Between the walls
Dome view
Roman Cafe
From the Vatican City, we walked a pleasant couple of kilometres through more beautiful streets to the Roman Forum, taking a quick stroll through and admiring more excellent 2000-year-old classical roman ruins. From the front of the Coliseum, we took a quick subway ride back to a stop near the Villa Borghese and were soon back at the car. Rome in six hours! Rome deserves much more, but we were focused on sticking to our schedule.
Temple Remnant
The Roman Coliseum
The next time I am in Rome, the Sistine Chapel will not elude me!

(If you are interesting in seeing a more in-depth set of pictures of our visit to Rome, click here.) Otherwise, to keep reading this narrative, select the 'next page' button below.
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[ Italy 2005 trip home page | The main trip report | Family | Monte Cervialto | Herculaneum & Vesuvius | Palace of Caserta | Amalfi & Capri | Abruzzo & Monte Amaro | Rome | Tuscany | Venice | The Biennale | Via Ferrata-ing in the dolomites | Climbing in the Ortles | Gottfried's Adventures | Maps, Graphs & GPS Data ]

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