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  • Writer's pictureRuth Mcbride

Oh Look! What’s that?

Day 123/138. 2022/2023 Viking Neptune World Cruise. Rome, Italy

We woke up docked in Civitavecchia, Italy. We were not alone either with Virgin’s Resilient Lady cruise ship (2700 passengers), Royal Caribbean’s Symphony of the Sea cruise ship(5,400 passengers), Costa Toscana’s cruise ship (6,500 passengers, the same ship we saw next to us in Naples yesterday), and Oceania’s Marina (1.238 passengers). That’s a lot of people all trying to get somewhere for the day and if they are all trying to get to Rome, like us. Oh dear!

Virgin‘s Resilient Lady cruise ship.

The Costa Toscana that followed us to Civitavecchia from Napoli overnight.

Royal Caribbean and Oceania cruise ships. The port of Civitavecchia was very busy this morning! I guess it is spring and the weather is nice so why not go on a Mediterranean cruise?

We had planned to try and take a private guided tour in Rome but someone Richard knows in Rome let us down last minute, so we were on our own instead today. We had booked return train tickets from the Civitavecchia train station to Rome, but we first had to get out of the port.

Viking was running a shuttle close to the train station but I was having some issues this morning so we missed the shuttle that would have taken us close to the train station. We decided to walk out of the port and try our hand at getting a taxi to the train station. We managed to walk quickly out of the port and arrived at the taxi stand outside the port at 8:50am. The train to Rome was scheduled for 9:12am so we did not have much time to get from the port to the train station. Every taxi driver we asked about taking us to the train station just ignored us. Finally we asked an official looking lady who went up to a taxi driver and he said he would take us with 8 other people who were coming off another ship and who might have been crew on that ship, but were also from Peru. The taxi driver agreed to take all of us in his Mercedes van for €6 a piece. We followed him to the van and and away we went. The taxi driver was funny and joked a lot, but frankly we just needed to get to the train station and I was not in the mood for his humour, because we were cutting it pretty close, considering we did not know our way around Civitavecchia.

We made it to the train station at 9:07am and proceeded to walk down the stairs and up to platform 3.

We had planned originally to go on the shuttle with Bill and Donna but they ended up ahead of us because we missed the shuttle, so we met them on the train platform in Civitavecchia.

The train was late arriving by about 15 minutes which was fine since we were so rushed to reach the platform; it gave us a chance to catch our breath. The train was an express train to Rome Termini.

We had reserved seats in the first class coach number 1 so when the train arrived we easily found our coach and our seats and sat down to enjoy the quick 40 minute express train ride to Rome. The Viking excursions were also going to Rome but with the traffic the one way bus ride was going to be 1.45 hours. It was a breeze frankly getting train tickets online and taking the train to Rome and only cost 14 euros for first class.

Once we got to Rome we waited for Bill and Donna and then bought a street map of Rome to know where to go. We did not have much time, so we wanted to make the most of what time we did have.

I had read about the Jewish ghetto in Rome so we took a taxi from the train station to Teatro Marcello and then started walking down the small streets until we came to a square with a fountain.

The Theater of Marcellus was erected in 17BC and construction was started by Julius Caesar who expropriated the area for the land to build this project. The Theater was dedicated to his nephew Marcellus.

The cafe where we had a mid morning snack. I love that this local is having potato chips and an Aperol spritz at 10:30am. Anything goes in Rome!

Our first order of business was to sit and have a tea, double espresso, and cappuccinos with some baked goods for a mid morning snack before we started our real walking tour of Rome.

Donna was looking for some nice Italian leather shoes so we wandered down a pedestrian street looking for some shoe stores.

Plates outside a home in the cobblestones in the Jewish ghetto in Rome.

Instead of shoe stores, we found some brass plates in front of what used to be homes occupied by Jewish people in the Jewish ghetto.

On October 16,1943 the gestapo raided the ‘Roman Ghetto’ as it was known and shipped 1,259 men, women and children to Auschwitz. Only 16 people survived Auschwitz from the Roman ghetto.

I was very moved as we walked through the Jewish Ghetto area imagining what life must have been like for these Jewish people living through the war and then being rounded up for the death camps. Lest we never forget.

It looks like green, yellow and purple boots are in fashion this season!

After we left the alley way with the plaques in the stones in front of the homes, Donna found a shoe store, and her shoes! Excellent! They had a good sale on beautiful leather jackets, but none were in my size. Italian sizing is definitely different than back home!

We decided to walk through various neighbourhoods on the way to see some highlights of Rome and everywhere I looked was amazing old architecture. I kept asking “What’s that? What’s that?” Since there was so much to take in, in the short time we had in Rome.

What have we here in the middle of Rome?

‘Area Sacra de largo Argentina’ is the place in which the ruins of the oldest ruins in Rome are found. Discovered in 1926 and 1930 During construction work. It is not known to whom the temples are dedicated but there were 4 temples built in 3rd Century B.C. It is believed that Julius Caesar was assassinated here.

We stumbled upon Area Sacra excavation in the centre of a few roadways. Oh ya, just some temples in the middle of the street. No big deal!

The shopping opportunities were overwhelming! Italian leather goods were amazing and everywhere! Donna found another pair of shoes and I found a new small cross body leather purse.

Rome was very busy today! Tourists were abundant and the temperature was 24C, which is warm for this time of year. We were charmed!

We found the Pantheon as we walked along. No big deal. There is the back of the Pantheon with Bill and Richard resting on the walls of it.

Side of the Pantheon.

The Pantheon is a former Roman temple. In 609 AD the Pantheon was converted into a Catholic Church and it still is a Catholic Church to this day. The Pantheon sits on the site of an earlier temple (from 27BC to 14AD). Almost 2,000 years after it was built, the Pantheon’s dome is still the world’s largest in reinforced concrete dome. The Pantheon is one of the best preserved of all Ancient Roman buildings.

The square in front of the Pantheon is called Piazza Della Rotondo.

After a few photos outside photos of the Pantheon we decided to keep walking because as in any busy big city with crowds, pick pockets are everywhere and we did not want to be victims.!

We saw some signs for The Trevi fountain so we decided to go and see it. Since I had never been in Rome before, anything I was able to see on foot today was a huge bonus. This is a spot we will come back to and spend a few days before exploring the rest of Tuscany from a villa. I’m thinking that will be a fall of 2024 vacation where I would like to spend at least a month in Italy.

The Trevi fountain! An 18th Century fountain in the Trevi district of Rome designed by Nicola Salvi and completed in 1762 by Giuseppe Pannini. At 86 feet high and 161 feet wide, it is the largest baroque fountain in the city and one of the most famous fountains in the world

The Trevi fountain was also very crowded but I threw my coin in and made a wish! So did Donna. There are 3,000 euros per day thrown into the fountain and the money is used to subsidize a supermarket for Rome’s needy.

From the Trevi fountain we had a plan to find the Metro station and take the Metro to Rome Termini or central station. We walked for a bit until we found the station.

There is not a Metro I cannot figure out.

Got the tickets for the metro!

These people keep following me everywhere!

Going down into the bowels of the Rome metro.

We were at Barbarini and only had to go two stops to Termini. Easy peasy.

Waiting for the train. Donna had never taken the metro train before in Rome, so this was a big adventure for her!

Finding a restaurant or cafe for a traditional Italian meal in Rome was our plan and knowing we were close to Rome Termini meant we could easily walk back to reach our 3:12pm train to Civitavecchia.

We found a great little outdoor cafe about 4 blocks away from Rome Termini. The restaurant had been recommended by Le Routard (backpackers guide) for the past 5 years and it was full inside with local business people who worked near by, having a long Italian lunch.

We ordered the Tourist menu since it included the Primi, Secondi, salad, wine, water, bread, taxes and gratuities for €22 each.

Our wine came and it was awesome. We love table wine in Europe and this red table wine did not disappoint!

How can something as simple as al dente pasta with tomato sauce and Parmesan cheese taste so amazingly delicious? Pasta in Rome! I’m in heaven!

We all ordered the same meal. Pasta with tomato sauce, meatballs, green salad and fruit for dessert.

The food was fabulous! We could have sat in that cafe all afternoon but our 3:12pm train was beckoning so we said adieu to Bill and Donna who were on a later train back to Civitavecchia and we hoofed it to track 28 in the train station to get on the train. The train we were on was a very long walk in the terminal, so I’m glad we left with lots of time to make the train, even if it meant missing our strawberries for dessert.

We made the train with time to spare at 3;05pm.

The train pulled out exactly at 3:12pm and while this is not an express train, it only cost €4.60 each to take the train all the way to Civitavecchia, which takes 1 hour and 6 minutes, stopping at every stop along the way, which was still better than the Viking bus at 1 hour and 45 minutes!

I really loved our short time in Rome and in Italy over these past 3 days. The food, the wine, the scenery, the architecture, and the fashion….I can see why people come back to Italy over and over again searching out their favourite little part of Italy and claiming it as their own. I know we want to go back to Sorrento because we did not have enough time there and to combine Sorrento with the Amalfi coast and spending a month in Tuscany and Sienna (from what I’ve heard), would be a piece of heaven on earth!

The famous statue of two lovers kissing (Navy sailor and nurse) on the sea front in Civitavecchia. The statue is made from the photograph that American photographer Alfred Eisenstadt made in New York on August 14, 1945 in connection with the termination of WW2. The statue was in the U.S. for a long time, but now it sits on the waterfront in Civitavecchia.

A long boardwalk in Civitavecchia.

Fort Michelangelo on Civitavecchia‘s harbour. The Fort was established to defend the Port of Civitavecchia from constant pirate incursions that from the fifteenth century, threatened the security of the city with sacks, fires and slaughters. The Pope Julius II cast the first stone at the fort which was completed in 1535. The Fort now houses the port authority of Civitavecchia.

“Kissing in Memory of a Port” statue which was inaugurated in September 2020 during the 150 year anniversary of the Italian port authority. The cruise ship harbour is in the distance.

Looking back towards the train station. The waterfront in Civitavecchia was beautiful for a nice walk today.

We arrived back in Civitavecchia at the train station and our friend Bill had told us where the Viking shuttle bus was picking up and dropping off, so we walked the 10 minutes from the station to the shuttle pick up point. We saw the red bus Viking was using for the shuttle but it left before we could reach it. There was a bus stop with seats, so Richard sat while we waited for the next shuttle bus with our fellow Vikings who had been out exploring either Rome or the downtown of Civitavecchia.

Saying goodbye to Civitavecchia with our friends Mike and Sharon from Canada.

Another nice sunset for our sail away from Italy. We will be back! ARRIVEDERCI Italy! Until we meet again!

We are sailing off to Monte Carlo where we will arrive tomorrow morning. I’m excited because we finally get to golf again!

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Apr 30, 2023

Italy draws so many of us back. The table wine alone calls my name, along with the shopping for leather goods. When we visited the Trevi Fountain in 2015, it was being re-built, complete with scaffolding and the fountain itself wasn't running. However, there was a temporary walkway running from one side of the fountain to the other and it took us very near the statues - loved seeing them so close. And if you're in Siena in July or August during their horse race (Palio di Siena) around the square, it is an experience like no other.


Apr 28, 2023

I was pickpocketed once on the Rome subway. I had an old wallet and had a few lira in it but nothing else. I deliberately put it in my rear pants pocket, and it was gone within a few minutes on a crowded subway car. We were on our way to the Vatican Museum. Since then, I always put my wallet in my front pocket. And like you, I love using the local subways in whatever city I am in. They are fast, inexpensive, and easy to use.


Allan Yoshimura
Allan Yoshimura
Apr 28, 2023

Too bad your guide bailed on you. There is so much to see and do in Rome that a guide would have been very helpful. That being said, looks like you made the most of your day. Did you go into the Pantheon? The dome has amazing acoustics. Once had a guide who stood on one side of the Pantheon while we were on the other side. He spoke at a normal conversational voice and we could hear him! The crowds may have make that not possible while you were there. I've been to Rome many times, mostly on business, but have never been to Jewish quarter. It's on my bucket list now. Thanks for sharing.

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