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Wednesday, 18 June 2014

Italy Part 4: Rome wasn't built in a day! (Roma)

I traveled to Italy last year (2013), visiting Venice, Florence, Pisa, Rome, and Trieste over the course of two weeks with my bestie, Bhavani. Overall, Florence (Firenze) was my favourite for this entire trip. Originally, the trip was meant as a sort of a “working trip” as I was invited by the Abdus Salam International Centre for Theoretical Physics (ICTP), Trieste to attend the 1st International Workshop on “Low-cost 3D Printing for Science, Education and Sustainable Development”.  

For this trip, myself and Bhavani took Malaysia Airlines from Penang - Kuala Lumpur and Turkish Airlines Inc. from Kuala Lumpur - Instanbul (Ataturk) - Venice (Marco Polo). 

We both did extensive research before our trip, and here’s what we did for our entire 15-days journey (27 April - 11 May 2013) in Italy (Italia):  <Venice (Venezia) - Florence (Firenze) - PISA - Rome (Roma) - Florence (Firenze) - Trieste - Venice (Venezia)> 

27 Apr:
PENANG / KUALA LUMPUR Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA)
KUALA LUMPUR / INSTANBUL - Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) to  Ataturk Airport, Instanbul via Turkish Airlines Inc.  

28 Apr: 
INSTANBUL / VENICE (VENEZIA) - Ataturk Airport, Instanbul to Marco Polo Airport, Venice via Turkish Airlines Inc. Upon arrival at the Marco Polo Airport, we took the ACTV bus (Linea 5 Aerobus) to Piazzale Roma (approx 20-30minutes) – Check-in Hotel Minerva & Nettuno, Venice  

29 Apr:
VENICE (VENEZIA) – Piazza San Marco / St Mark Square - St Mark Basilica - Doge’s Palace Palazzo Ducale) - Museo Correr - Museo Archeologico  - Monumental Rooms of the Biblioteca Nazionale Marciana  - Gondola Ride at Canal Grande - Ponte di Rialto 

30 Apr: 
VENICE (VENEZIA) / FLORENCE (FIRENZE) -  Depart from  Venezia S. Lucia (Venice) to Firenze  S.M. Novella (Florence) - Galleria dell' Accademia -  Monuments of Opera di Santa Maria del Fiore (The Dome of Brunelleschi -  Baptistery of San Giovanni ) - Museo dell’ Opera di Santa Maria del Fiore -  Giotto’s Bell Tower  -  Archaeological site of the crypt of Santa Reparata - Cathedral of  S. Maria del Fiore - Basilica of San Lorenzo - Gallerie degli Uffizi - Piazza della Liberta 

1 May:
FLORENCE (FIRENZE) - Firenze Central Market (Mercato) Basilica of Santa Croce - Piazza della Signoria & Palazzo Vecchio/ Neptune Fountain/ Loggia dei Lanzi - Ponte Vecchio (Old Bridge) - Piazzale Michelangelo & San Miniato al Monte Church -  San Lorenzo’s Market  

2 May:
PISA - Depart from Firenze S. M. Novella (Florence) to Pisa Centrale - The Piazza del Duomo or Campo dei Miracoli - The Leaning Tower (La Torre di Pisa)  - Cathedral of Pisa (Duomo di Pisa) - The Baptistery of St. John - Depart from PISA to Florence  

3 May:
ROME (ROMA) - Depart from Firenze S. M. Novella (Florence) to Rome Termini Central Station - The Colosseum + Roman Forum (at Piazza Santa Maria Nova 53) + Palatine Hill (at Via San Gregorio No. 30) - Roman Forum - Palentine Hill - Arch of Constantine - Temple of Venus & Roma - Trevi Fountain at Trevi Square (Piazza di Trevi) - Piazza Navona - Pantheon @ Piazza della Rotonda - Piazza Navona - Monument to Vittorio Emanuele II – Depart from Rome to Florence    

4 May:
FLORENCE (FIRENZE) / TRIESTE - Walk around Florence town – Depart from Firenze S. M. Novella (Florence) - Trieste Centrale (approx 4.45 hr by train) 

5 May:
TRIESTE - Piazza Unità d'Italia (Town Hall) - Municipio di Trieste - Saint Anthon and the Canal Grande + James Joyce Statue - The Old Roman Theater - San Silvestro - Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore - Via del Trionfo to see Arch of Riccardo – The Roman Gateway (33 BC) - Miramare Castle/ Castello di Miramare  

6 May:
TRIESTE - FREE & EASY - Stock Exchange Square - Church of the Immaculate Heart of Mary - San Giusto Castle/ Church -  Serbian Orthodox Church  -  Piazza Unità d'Italia  

7 May:
TRIESTE – FREE & EASY - Grotta Gigante - Museo Revoltella -  Civico Museo di Storia e Arte e Orto Lapidario    

8 May:
TRIESTE - FREE & EASY - Tour around Piazza Unità d'Italia (Town Hall) 

9 May:
TRIESTE / VENICE –Check-out from Hotel Tritone, Trieste – Depart from Trieste Centrale – St. Lucia (Venice) – Murano Glass Making – Explore Venice by Water Bus – Check-in San Geremia Rooms, Venice  

10 May:
VENICE / INSTABUL / KUALA LUMPUR -  FREE & EASY - Depart from Venice (Marco Polo Airport) – Instanbul  (Ataturk Airport) and Instanbul  (Ataturk Airport) – Kuala Lumpur (Kuala Lumpur International Airport) via Turkish Airlines Inc.  

11 May:
KUALA LUMPUR / PENANG - Depart from Kuala Lumpur (Kuala Lumpur International Airport) – Penang via Malaysia Airlines (MH)  

I don’t even know where and how to start here. It has been my dream since secondary school to visit The Colosseum and to see it firsthand. As I stepped my foot onto Rome to witness the real Colosseum, that was the day - one of my dreams in life came true and I totally had no idea what lay ahead that would change my life so profoundly - (This made me realise that in life we must "chase" after our dreams and desires, and they will eventually become a reality).

We (myself and Bhavani) arrived in Rome on 3 May 2013 at 9.05 a.m. and took the metro to Colosseo Station (Line B – blue line) which was only 2 stops from Termini Central Station. It costs us only Euro 1,50 one way per person. 

Because we were super “kiasu”, we left the hotel around 7.00a.m in the morning and headed over there around 7.38a.m. from Florence. There was a feeling of tranquility as soon as we got there; the crazy hustle/bustle of Rome with lots of traffic, subways and buses are incredibly crowded and hucksters everywhere.

The day started off seemingly well for us as we headed over to the majestic Colosseum, where the gladiators used to fight in the ancient days. This was then followed by the Roman Forum, Palatine Hill, Arch of Constantine,  Temple of Venus & Roma, Trevi Fountain at Trevi Square (Piazza di Trevi) , Pantheon @ Piazza della Rotonda and Piazza Navona  all in just one day!  

Our first stop was The Colosseum. I was a little shocked at my first view of The Colosseum. The history of this building (and everything I saw in Rome) overwhelmed me. Early reservations to The Colosseum got us up early in the morning and we beat the crowd and it was very peaceful and a great way to see the sights. The Colosseum was just magnificent and the place was huge!  There's no other way to explain it, you just have to see it in person to truly grasp the beauty, other people's pictures are not going to cut it.
A dream came true
The Colloseum is made up of 3 concentric ovals

I was so excited! The Colloseum was just in front of me!!
The Colloseum - I never imagined it to be so huge!

And that's The Colloseum - right in front of my eyes
The Colloseum - shot from a different angle
Check out the number of crowds
The inside of Colosseum
The inside of Colosseum
The floor of the arena is obviously no longer there. So what you see are actually rooms and cages to keep animals and gladiators
Humans everywhere
I couldn't believe that I was actually inside The Colloseum
The inside of Colosseum
Nearby the Colosseum was the Arch of Constantine (Arco Di Constatino) which we stayed for a short while and then we proceeded to the Roman Forum, Palatine Hill, and Temple of Venus & Roma which were all just next door.  
The Arch of Constantine
The Arch of Constantine
The Roman Forum
The Roman Forum
Temple of Venus & Roma
The next destination was to Fountain at Trevi Square (Piazza di Trevi), which was terribly too famous to describe and horribly too crowded! There’s a saying; “When in Rome, do what the Romans do... and you can't go wrong.” And, so that's what we did (by tossing a coin). We did the customary "throwing coins into the fountain" hoping that we will return to Rome again some day in future. In modern times, it says throwing one coin means a return to Rome, a second coin leads to a new romance, and a third coin leads to marriage.
Trevi Fountain (Fontana di Trevi) - one of the most famous icons of Rome
Trevi Fountain (Fontana di Trevi) - one of the most famous icons of Rome
And of course not to be missed the Pantheon, Temple of all the Gods. It was built between AD 118-125. In the 7th century it was made into a church by early Christians and now is lined with tombs.  
Here is The Pantheon
A shot of The Pantheon interior
A shot of The Pantheon interior
We finished the day by walking over to the Piazza Navona and then taking a nice stroll back to Termini. Overall, we had a pretty good time in Rome seeing the sites.  It was an amazing one day trip in Rome, and a real dream came true. I would definitely recommend first time visitors to Italy to not miss Rome. 
Piazza Navona, one of the most important city squares in Rome, built in the 1st century
Piazza Navona, one of the most important city squares in Rome, built in the 1st century
Every corner in Italy is unique
The Church of Sant' Agnese in Agone  at Piazza Navona
Victor Emmanuel II Monument (a monument dedicated to King Victor Emmanuel II, the first king of Italy)
Well, those are my Rome pics. I would really like to take this opportunity to thank ICTP, Trieste from the bottom of my heart for this wonderful opportunity. Of course, there is no way I could forget the trip to Rome that could change my life so profoundly.

GRAZIE MILLE PER TUTTO!!! (Thank you for everything!!!) 

Air Itinerary Details:  
Penang - Kuala Lumpur  (via Malaysia Airlines MH) and Kuala Lumpur - Instanbul (Ataturk) - Venice (Marco Polo) via Turkish Airlines Inc.  / Venice (Marco Polo) - Instanbul (Ataturk) - Kuala Lumpur via Turkish Airlines Inc.  and Kuala Lumpur – Penang (via Malaysia Airlines MH) 

Venice (Venezia) - Hotel Minerva & Nettuno
Florence (Firenze) - Hotel Stella Mary

PISA – N/A (1- day-trip from Florence)

Rome (Roma) – N/A (1- day-trip from Florence)

Trieste - ICTP Galileo Guesthouse and Hotel Tritone
Venice (Venezia) - San Geremia Rooms
The train we took from Florence - Rome
Metro Line to Colosseo Station
Local Transportation: 
How to get there: Took Frecciargento  train from Firenze S. M. Novella - Rome Termini
Departure time: 7.38a.m. – 9.05a.m. (approx. 1.5hour)
Fare Type: 29,00 Euro/pax / way (Super Economy/ Class 1)
Click here for details: http://www.italiarail.com/italian-high-speed-trains
How to get there: Took Metro (Line B - Blue) to Colosseo Station (2 stops)
Fare Type: 1,50 Euro/pax/way

Entry Tickets:
Self-Print Entry ticket to Colosseo + Palatino + Foro Romano areas (valid for 2 days)
Fare type: 12,00 Euro + 1,50 Euro
Ticketing hotline: http://www.ticketclic.it/?
(**highly-recommended - pre-book your entry tickets in advance to avoid the long queue) 

Read more about our travel experiences @ Italy (Italia):

 "Traveling is the ruin of all happiness! There's no looking at a building after seeing Italy" - Fanny Burney
Welcome to Small World! This blog allows me to share my travel experiences with others in a straightforward and far-reaching way. I often made great use of other peoples travel blogs and websites every time I plan for my travel itinerary as they often contained most updated information and invaluable resources from their past travel experiences. I really hope that you will find every piece of information contained within my blog handy and useful for your upcoming trip. Thank you very much for reading my post(s) and feel free to leave a comment/testimonial or even click "Like/Share" if you love reading them all xoxo. 
  The writer is a passionate traveler who enjoys speaking to young keen travelers about the freedom to get cultured and to taste the fullness of life. Feel free to contact the writer if you need any travel guidance or tips or if you have any burning questions with regards to your upcoming trip/ journey 

Be inspired but more importantly be inspiring -

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