The fifth day of the cruise started rocky, in the sense that the waves were large and it was difficult to get any sleep without feeling the motion of the boat moving. However, the day got better and better as it went on.
When we started the day, the cruise had docked in Civitavecchia, there wasn’t much to do in this town however there were many exertions to Rome from here.
The cruise exertions departed far too early in our opinion, so we left the boat when we wanted and got a taxi into Rome. There were plenty of coach exertions and taxis to take you into Rome. The taxi firms made the trips more affordable by combining trips to Rome together, we drove down with a couple who had finished their trip to Italy and were returning to Rome airport.
There are few cities around the world with the in-depth history of Rome, still on display today.
We had already planned out what we wanted to do in Rome and had booked our tickets to the Vatican City and to the Sistine Chapel. The taxi dropped us off outside our tour operators office and we went inside to meet our guide.
The Vatican City
Vatican City is the smallest state in Europe, it is just 0,44 km² and inside its wall live approximately 1000 people, including the Pope. On 11 February 1929, Vatican City was announced an independent state, separate from the rest of Italy.
Our guide first took us to St Peter’s Square, one of the most famous squares in the world. This was designed by Bernini during the seventeenth century. The most breathtaking part of the square is the columns. There are two rows of columns around both sides of the square and designated spots marked on the floor where if you stand, the front columns conceal the second row behind them.
The Vatican Museums
Whilst outside, in the gardens, there were pictures and information of Michaelangelo’s painting in the Sistine Chapel, the tour guide explained that she would talk to us about the history of this painting before entering, as when you are inside you have to be silent.
After looking around the gardens, we went inside the museum.
We went on one of the quietest days but by god it was busy. We were all given headphones which meant we could hear the tour guide speaking without having to stand right next to her. This was great because you couldn’t really control where you went, you got taken with the sea of people.
The Vatican Museums are home to some magnificent artwork, from sculptures to paintings, everywhere you look there was beauty. What I found most interesting is the depth of the paintings, the most realistic looking curtains turned out to be painted on the walls, and the ceilings looked to have plaster artwork, were actually just painted.
Inside Vatican City, you can find the Sistine Chapel, this is where the pope used to live. Every inch of this chapel was covered in art. There is no photography and you must have your belly, shoulders and knees covered whilst inside.
Upon leaving Vatican City, we knew we wanted food but struggled to find anywhere to sit down and eat. We headed straight out of the city and couldn’t find any restaurants, instead just take out food kiosks.
I literally bumped into an Italian promoting a restaurant around the corner. After apologising for not looking where I was going and rudely walking into him, he offered to walk us round to his restaurant and show us where it is.
Just two streets away, we were sat outside looking through the menu of fresh pasta and pizza available. My father and I liked the look of the creamy mushroom pasta, my sister went for the classic spaghetti carbonara and my mother chose pesto pasta. All pasta and sauces were made fresh and you could taste it. They were amazingly tasty. Literally my only fault was the persistent beggars who kept coming up and shaking their cup of change at us, but the staff were quick to shoo them away and we know next time to sit inside.
Roman Colosseum & Spanish Steps
After finishing our food, we knew we were running out of time in Rome and had to head back to Civitavecchia and board the cruise. We met back up with our taxi driver who drove us down and told him to take us back to the shore.
He asked what we had seen whilst in Rome, we explained that we only had time for Vatican City and didn’t have time to see much else. He said we had to see the colosseum and the Spanish Steps before we left. He said they weren’t far off route and he would take us there on the way home.
The Spanish Steps didn’t look like much, I didn’t really understand the hype, they just looked like steps but I’m sure there is some beautiful history behind them.
The Colosseum was one of the most awe-inspiring things I have ever seen. We turned a corner and the colosseum encapsulated the entire front window, it is all you could see!
The taxi driver pulled over to the side of the road, and we stepped out for a picture. Even if just for a moment, this was amazing to see.
After a long day of walking around Rome, we wanted to chill and ventured to find a place on this cruise where we could comfortably do so. We travelled all the way to the top deck, we thought we had been here before but apparently the top deck isn’t accessible by elevator and you have to go to the top there and then up some stairs.
On the top deck, we found a jacuzzi. What better place to chill? We climbed in and chatted about what we liked most about Rome.
We found another restaurant on the top deck of the cruise, the food was the same mediocre crap, as in the lilo restaurant downstairs – a lot of meat and little choice for vegetarians. The main issue with the food wasn’t the quality (although it wasn’t great) it was more that you had to eat the same thing day after day.
Lady luck was not in our favour today! We began with £1 minimum bets and won a bit to begin with, breaking even and playing with only our winnings. Then we had a series of bad hands, or the dealer had a series of good hands and walked away with half as much money we started with.
Later in the night, we returned, ready to win our money back. Things didn’t really go to plan as we lost £40 more. We still had a lot of fun and laughed lots about our terrible gambling, I feel like it’s a part of being on a cruise, losing your money in the onboard casino. We realised that the cards weren’t going our way (these are all phrases I heard other gamblers say) and instead of losing more money, we decided to stop playing and watch other people lose their money on the roulette wheel.