The experience of being pick-pocketed on a train to the Colosseum in Rome in May 2001 was a bad start for a trip. I thought my backpack was securely closed but someone got into it… on my back. Luckily, they only got a camera case with the camera’s extra battery. Two fellow travelers were also pick-pocketed on that train. However, I enjoyed an intensive tour of Italy.
We walked through the Arch of Constantine to get to the Colosseum. Inside the ancient ruins of the Roman Colosseum, I imagined this place with more than 50,000 people seated at one time. I also imagined chariot races as depicted in the movie, Ben-Hur. It is three stories high and was under renovation during our visit.
We also visited the Castle of St. Angelo, the Forum, the Pantheon, and Trevi Fountain. We walked at the Palatine Hill and climbed up the Spanish Steps.
In Tivoli, which is just outside of Rome, we went to Villa d’Este (Villa of 100 Fountains), and Hadrian’s Villa.
We went on to Assisi where we visited the Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi.
Next, was the Leaning Tower of Pisa which was also under renovation.
I admired Florence (capital of the Tuscany region) for the architecture of Florence’s Cathedral in Piazza del Duomo (Cathedral Square). Though pollution has blackened its walls, the intricate bronze carved doors were amazing.
The Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore (with its iconic red dome) is at the end of the Piazza
In the Piazza, we saw a replica of Michelangelo’s “David.” We visited the Poet Dante’s House and the Church of Santa Croce,
We took a boat across to Venice docking at San Marco Quay. We walked around St. Mark’s Square, visited a glass blowing factory, and St. Mark’s Basilica. Along the Grand Canal, we stopped by the Bridge of Sighs. This bridge was built over the canal and used to move prisoners back and forth from cells to examining rooms. It is said that the prisoners would look out at the view from the windows of the bridge and sigh, hence the name “Bridge of Sighs”
In May 2016, I visited Rome on another trip but only did a drive through a city tour. I was tired and even fell asleep in the van.
When I was leaving the Fiumicino (Rome) Airport, I was pleasantly surprised to see a billboard with Usain Bolt’s picture on it.