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November 2019 to February 2020. Italy, Sicily and Sardinia.

2. Central Italy B. Lake Trasimino, Numana, Rome.

1. Lake Trasimino.

After our time exploring some of the Italian Cities we decided that we needed some rest and relaxation so headed East. Our first stop was at San Feliciano on the shores of Lake Trasimino where we found another free camper stop (in the winter) with electric.


One of two harbours with fishing boats and pleasure craft in San Feliciano.

We saw several cats when we went for a walk along the lake shore.


Narrow streets and pathways in the small town.

A little further we came across this 'home' for the feral cats, which are caught and neutered.


2. Numana

We stopped at the harbour of this hillside town for a couple of nights.

Numana town.

A statue of a fisherman looking out to sea from the belvedere.

We bought fresh fish from the local fishermen.

From a small park at the top of the town we had great views.

A view of the harbour where we parked up for a couple of nights.

Sunset


Sunrise.

2. Rome

We spent 5 nights at a camper stop in Rome. It was close to a bus and metro stop which we used to get into the city. We had a mixture of weather with some rain but also some sunshine. The main tourist areas were quite busy - but nothing compared to what they must be like in the summer! The metro was very easy to use as you just use a credit card at the barrier - it was €1.50 per journey, whether you do just a couple of stops or want to go from one end of the city to the other. 

We enjoyed our time in Rome doing lots of walking but were usually back at the van by mid afternoon.  The only site that we paid to see was the Coliseum/ Roman Forum.  You could spend a fortune (even with 'museum passes') to go and see many of the places. 

Thursday

After a late lunch in the van we took a bus to the Colosseum to see how easy it was to get around by bus and metro and where we could buy tickets.

Friday

We intended to visit the Vatican museums but were told we'd have to buy a timed ticket or wait in a long queue so we went to St Peter's Square, however the queue to go into St Peter's Basilica was also long so we just admired it from the outside. We then walked via a few sights to Piazza Venezia.

The Ponte Sant'Angelo over the River Tiber.

Piazza Navona.


The Pantheon is the best preserved ancient monument in Rome,  it was built as a Roman temple but is now a Catholic church.  

Outside:

Il Vittoriano, a monument dedicated to King Victor Emmanuel II, the first king of Italy and one of several buildings around the Piazza Venezia.

Inside:

We shared a pizza and fries at a nearby cafe. This was the only time we ate out in Rome (very expensive).


Saturday.

A lovely sunny day. We were at the Colosseum by 9am and didn't have to wait long but were stopped at the security check point because Kevin had left his knife in the rucksack.  There was nowhere that we could leave it so decided to change our plans and return tomorrow.


We walked past the Roman Forum with the King Victor Emmanuel monument in the background.


It was difficult to get a decent photo of the Trevi Fountain because of the shadows.


We carried on heading north towards the Spanish Steps where we had a good view over the city.

The view from the Piazza Trinità dei Monti at the top of The Spanish Steps.

Artists stalls in the Piazza di Spagna, at the foot of the Spanish Steps.

Looking back up the Spanish Steps.

The Fontana della Barcaccia in the Piazza di Spagna. 


The Piazza del Popolo is a large square in the north of Rome and at the foot of Pincio Gardens.

Another view of the Piazza del Popolo from the Pincio Gardens.

After lunch we wandered around the gardens and the park.

We managed to find a bench in the Gardens where had our lunch.



Sunday

Yesterday we discovered that, on the first Sunday of the month, many of the sights in Rome are free to enter. We arrived at the Colosseum 15 minutes before opening time but there was already a long queue so, once again, we decided to postpone our visit! Instead we visited the Castel Sant' Angelo or The Mausoleum of Hadrian. It was initially commissioned by the Roman Emperor Hadrian as a mausoleum for himself and his family. The building was later used by the popes as a fortress and castle, and is now a museum.

We spent a couple of hours wandering around the museum, sometimes inside in rooms filled with armoury or highly decorated rooms where popes had lived. From the outside areas we had fantastic views of the city.


Evidence of the fortifications
Outside

There were several rooms with cabinets displaying armour and weapons.



Inside



Throughout the Middle Ages the castle served as a refuge in times of trouble, especially for the popes, who could reach it from the Lateran through a protected passage. The papal apartments were substantially reconstructed for their residents, as can be seen below!


The statue of St. Michael the archangel is situated at the top of the castle.


Rooftops and churches across the river.


The Vatican.

The Ponte Sant'Angelo crossing the RIver Tiber.

Monday

Finally we got to visit the Colosseum, Palatine Hill and Roman Forum!

Once past the security guards you enter the wide passageway around the arena.

On the first floor there are lots of exhibits about the building and artifacts.

The area under the arena floor was called the Hypogeum (meaning underground). It consisted of two-level subterranean network of tunnels and 32 animal pens. It had 80 vertical shafts which provided instant access to the arena for animals and scenery.



The Colosseum ticket also includes entry to The Palatine Hill and Roman Forum.


The Arch of Titus - the entrance to the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill.


The Palatine Hill


The Basilica of Maxentius, which was the largest building in the Forum, taken from The Palatine Hill.

Views to the North-West and South-East from the Palatine Hill.

 

1. Central Italy A. Pisa, Lucca, Florence and Sienna.

2. Central Italy B. Lake Trasimino, Numana, Rome.

3. Central Italy C. West Coast, Vesuvius, Herculanium and Pompeii.

4. Southern Italy. Matera, SE Coast, Gallipoli, South Coast.

5. Sicily.Sant' Alessio, Naxos, Mount Etna, Taormina, Siracusa, Ortigia and Piana Calzata.

6. Sardinia. Cagliari, SW region, Gira Plateau, Santu Antine and Alghero.

7. Spain. Travelling from Barcelona to Bilbao.

 

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