My old and dear friends Frannie, Dave, their son David and friends Randy and Debbie are on a whistlestop tour of Italy which began today in Rome. I helped them to plan the trip and much as Bob and I would have liked to join them on the whole thing, this time it just wasn’t possible. However, I could join them for the first three days in Rome and help them kick it off.
Over the years I have been to Rome maybe 8+ times and spent quite a lot of time here, exploring. I feel I know the central area especially nearly as well as I know central London.
Started off early this morning to get to Gatwick for my 930am flight. Normally it only takes about 50 minutes but there are massive roadworks on the M25 and the M23 and we were advised to leave early. That meant 5am. The timing worked well and I had time to get some breakfast in the terminal before the Easyjet flight. The flight was very smooth and I landed at 1245 and came out just about 10 minutes behind the flight from Miami, which was perfect.
We had a car booked to bring us to our Airbnb and he met us and we were soon underway. It was a beautiful sunny day in Rome, about 25C. The trip took about 35 minutes.
Our Airbnb is on the Via Labicana about 5 minutes walk from the Colosseum and 2 minutes from the Basilica San Clemente. A really lovely 3 bedroom apartment, a/c, 2 lovely showers, really fantastic, £140 per night. The owner, Paolo, was a lovely chap. He gave us a really good tour of the place and was very helpful. Its one of the best Airbnbs I’ve stayed in.
After we unpacked a bit, everyone was hungry so we walked down the road and onto a side street and fund a little restaurant, filled with locals where we had a bit of lunch. I had chicken in a rich tomato sauce, people had pizzas, and pasta. All washed down with a litre of red wine and 1/2 litre white. With water, lunch came to about 9euro each. Very good.
Then we walked down the road and circled the Colosseum and looked at the Ludus Magnus. Everyone was stunned. Can’t wait for our tour on Wednesday. It doesn’t seem too busy at the moment. I feared Rome would be very hectic but it really isn’t too bad.
We have a full on time here so that everyone can see as much as possible before I come home on Thursday and they depart for Cinque Terre.
Tonight we just stretched our legs out on a five minute walk to a local restaurant for dinner. Amazing value. Dave and I shared a pasta tasting menu – several different sorts with different sauces. David had grilled lobster. Fran and Debbie had crab gnocchi and Randy had beef carpaccio with black truffle followed by saltimbocca with chicory. We had two jugs of house red, two bottles of water, and it all came to about 20 euros each. Really good food.
Absolutely shattered and up early tomorrow for an early tour of the Vatican and St Peter’s.