This series of posts, accompanied by photographs, records our recent stay in Italy. Having thoroughly enjoyed it, we wish to share our experience. You’ll get the almost full story of our travels, activities, and experiences; warts and all, in instalments.
22nd September, Saturday.
After breakfast, again by the hotel restaurant windows, we set off on our last day in Rome to explore some of the other sights, using Maria’s list as a guide, and our street map to find them.
To Trajan’s Column first, as I wanted some closer pictures of this piece of history we’d passed several times at night. It was relatively early, so the crowds were still quite thin.
Once done at the column, we made our way to Piazza Venezi, and then along narrow side streets, trying to avoid the growing crowds, to the famous Trevi Fountain.
It was Saturday morning, so we’d expected there to be a crowd. We weren’t prepared for the sheer, overwhelming numbers of visitors thronging the monument.
Valerie climbed the few steps of a nearby church to escape the mass whilst I elbowed my way through the bodies until I reached the edge of the area where the water was visible.
So many people taking selfies, alone or in groups. I couldn’t escape the impression that most were there to prove they’d visited this prominent tourist attraction, rather than to actually look at the work of the sculptor.
I was able to take a few shots before I returned to join Valerie. An old woman was begging at the foot of the steps but few people seemed to even notice her. All that activity and so little concern for this victim of society.
We continued our exploration and made for the Spanish Steps. They, too, were covered in flesh.
Once again, so many selfies exposed. Really, these two locations have become victims of their own fame and popularity.
With such crowds, no one can really see what they come to look at. It brought home how easy it is for human beings to destroy the things they love by simply being there in vast numbers.
Seeking sanctuary from the crowds, we made for the river.
We walked the bankside road from Ponte Cavour to Ponte Umberto 1 before finding our way to the Piazza Navona with its three fountains.
There were plenty of people here, too, but the space made it much more pleasant as a location and we sat for a while with an ice cream each (Italian gelato is delicious).
I took photographs of the statues, fountains and people. And we rested our feet with a short spell on a bench under the bright, hot sun.
We found, by accident, a small, quiet square with a tratoria with vacant tables and took advantage of that for a spot of lunch. We were entertained by a man with an electronic keyboard for a while, which was pleasant.
From there, we walked toward Piazza della Rotonda before sauntering back to the hotel for Valerie to complete our packing, and to rest before dinner.
This last day of sight-seeing was probably our most tiring and least rewarding, but we wanted to see as much of the city as possible before we left. What we saw most was a lot of other tourists.
Difficult to know what can be practically done to reduce numbers, but I fear that ever-growing crowds must ultimately prevent anyone from actually enjoying their experience as a tourist. And it must be daily hell for the residents.
Our previous holidays have mostly been in relatively quiet resorts on the Greek islands, so our encounters with such great numbers, at a time of year we expected it to be quieter, came as something of a shock.
We’d hoped to have our final evening meal in the hotel restaurant, but the whole place had been booked by a wedding party, so we returned to Osterio Maracuja, the place we’d eaten on other evenings, since the food was good and the staff lovely.
Another enjoyable meal among other friendly diners, and a final wander along the main road to watch the light shows on the old buildings before turning in for the night a little sooner than usual, due to our early rise next morning.