Getting into Rome from the Airport is incredibly easy, there are direct trains, buses and taxis to take you to the heart of Rome and like in Sydney (Australia) the train station is linked to the Airport. There is a tourist information offices to assist and the usual car rental companies.
My husband and I decide to take the express train. The easy part is buying the ticket, automated ticket machines (in English and which also take your credit card) make life very easy. It cost us 14 Euro a ticket so I will never complain about the cost of Sydney’s train again !
The challenge is getting on the right train as the train platform information boards are all blank .
I try my basic (read non-existant) Italian, which goes somethign like this :
“Mi Scusi” I point to the train “Termine ?”
This is greeted with “Ci, Ci!” and much hand waving from the train driver who lights up a ciggarette as he jumps from the train.
So we jump aboard and hope for the best whilst trying to avoid losing our legs as people madly thrust and cram bags the size of Texas past us onto the train.
It still amuses me that in Europe, there are smoking carriages and I love it that our train driver lights up as soon as he re boards the train after already having a smoking break.
Like all major cities the outskirts for Rome are functional and unattractive. Mass conglomerations of affordable housing within easy access to the City centre dot the landscape. The train stations we pass are full or litter and graffiti and we could be in any big city in the world.
After 15 minutes, and as soon as we cross the Tiber, the beauty of Rome begins to unfold and the grandness and style of the city becomes apparent as large apartments wiht terrace rooftops, beautiful manicured gardens and courtyards pass us by.
We arrive at Termini after 30 minutes and call Fulvia the owner/manager of the Casa Romana B & B http://www.myromeapartment.com/. She meets us at the station and walks us to our apartment, she is gracious and even helps carry our bags, she is an absolute darling and you can tell that she loves what she does.
The apartment is in a older building (luckily with a lift) as we are on the 1st floor. It looks dark and dingy from the outset but as we step inside our room, it is simple and beautiful. We have air con, a queen size bed, brand new bathroom and a small table for breakfast. There is a kettle, tea and coffee and plenty of information to read about Rome.
Fulvia has bought us fresh fruit from the markets to snack on in case we are hungry and chats to us giving us plenty of tips about her favorite parts of Rome. We bond over our love of Roman ruins and discover we have travelled to similar locations around the world chasing ruins, with Palmyra being a mutual favorite !
Fulvia leaves us to settle in, and even though the clock in our head tells us it is 12.00am Australian time, it is only 4pm in Rome. Every part of our minds and bodies are screaming to rest and sleep but we know the only way to beat jet lag is to keep going until as late as possible.
So we head out and wander and fall in love with Rome all over again.
Our walk takes us past Piazza Della Republic and Diocletian’s Baths, we stroll down Via Nationale to Villa Aldo Brandini and Trajan’s markets.
We then pass through a few thousand years of history through the imperial forum and walk in the footsteps of Emperors as we continued along Via Fiori Di Imperiali and Trajan’s forum, we say hello to Trajan’s column, and nod to the statues of Augustus and Caesar.
We continue up Via Cavour, and just past a restaurant called,Pizzeria Di Montemezzo Massimo
We order the freshest rockmelon with prosciutto, a glass of prosecco and ghamberini followed by the crisp, delicious quattro Formaggi bianci (white pizza) and red pizza with bacon, tomatoes and herbs.
The light begins to fade from pink to grey as the sunset turns to dusk and as we sit savouring each bite of hot pizza, the restuarant fills up and people begin to queue, talking and eyeing the food on each table.
I take a sip of my prosecco and look down the cobbled alleyway with scooters parked against walls and potted geraniums tumbling outwards towards the beautiful architecture and balconies beyond. As I listen to the musical and lyrical Italian syllables floating around me, the accordion player wandering down the laneway, no doubt the first of many tonight, he stops, smiles and begins to play Mia Sole. Somehow it isn’t cliched at all, just a magical evening !