Rome in 8 hours

Posted: December 16, 2010 in Articles, Creative Writing

Pushed from the relative comfort of a cool coach and into the sweltering heat of the eternal city with nothing but a map and a time of 8 hours you may, understandably, desire nothing more than to throw your hands in the air, scream aloud and then go find a nice quiet pub and a have a drink. But, and trust me on this, have a little faith, listen well and I will give you a guide to the beautiful city of Rome that will get you around all the main sites in just 8 hours, with enough time for a bite to each a pint if you really pick your feet up.Most of the tour operators will simply plonk you in the middle of the Vatican, give you a meeting time and then let go of the reins and let you run around the city excitedly trying to see everything you possibly can. But if you have a little restraint and don’t go with the illusion of seeing every inch of the coliseum and pantheon then you will have a much more enjoyable day.Unless you are visiting the Vatican specifically you may wish to consider skipping this part of the city and heading further into Rome towards the more ancient landmarks. If you do wish to visit the Vatican however, you will need to plan your trip more carefully. Pilgrimages are commonplace in the Vatican and when they hit in force the effect can ruin your visit to the Vatican if you simply want to visit for the art and architecture. The oppressive heat, cacophony of noise and chaotic madness of a pilgrimage can be highly daunting for a tourist and the best thing to do is keep a cool head and press through the clawing crowds until you manage to find fresh air once more.With the suffocating heat of the Vatican crowds behind you you are able to get your first breath of fresh air and see the first sites of the eternal city.Just to the right of you is the slow moving Tiber river, the Castel Sant’Angelo is to your right and ahead is the magnificent bridge of the angels.Take a moment to take in the magnificent statues and buildings, don’t forgot to save the moment with a few pictures of your nearest and dearest posing and smiling as the enthusiasm that pours from the eternal city fills every pore of your body.Got your photos? Excellent the next step is to race quickly across the bridge, down a number of narrow little streets keeping constantly vigilant for the crazy taxi drivers that squeeze past squashing everyone tight against the wall and then out you pop, almost unexpectedly into the sunlight and open space of the …….. It is here, under the beautiful watching gaze of the ……… statue that you may want to take a quick lunch break and grab a cold drink to fight of the heat of the noonday sun.Just as your beginning to relax and thinking about saying for another round of drinks I’m sorry to tell you but I do have to force you onwards and upwards now, it is time to get into the real heart of Rome, you are not far from the Coliseum, the behemoth that draws you ever onwards.Round more twisting packed streets you go passed countless shops and pizzarias until once more the sunlight floods in and freedom is granted to you. Ahead is the great round Patheon crowds will be everywhere, people shouting and if your unlucky you will be witnessing the end of the relative peace and quite as pilgrim groups decide to visit the ancient landmarks. After a quick look around the outside of the Pantheon, the queues to go in will take up at least another hour of the valuable 4 you have left and so keep on walking past, the crowds will slowly break apart and once again you will be offered a temporary respite from the shouts and heat. Savour this break, cherise the sounds of your own head because in a couple of minutes they will be swept away in the cacophony of chaos. Its time to visit the Trevi fountain.The crowds are all around, surrounding you, pressing you closer to the person beside you, the only way to pass through the madness is to keep moving, move fast and move hard. The aim is to make it to the fountain, throw your coin into the water, so you get to revisit the chaos, and then move onwards.When you do throw a coin into the water the key is to pick something bronze and small so the men with the telescopic magnets cant go and steal your hard earned tribute. Next, after spending 10 minutes pushing through the crowd you will need to pick up the pace to make the most of your last 3 hours in the eternal city.You may be tempted to rush straight down the main road to the Coliseum but oddly this is th elast thing you should do. In actual fact, and here comes the great tip, you should continue on past the Coliseum and up the road a small way to Palatine hill, the ancient of Rome’s rich and famous. This may seem weird but it will end up saving you about an hour of your day. If you go straight to the Coliseum you will find yourself staring at the back of strangers head for an hour as you shuffle slowly along in the biggest queue you will ever see. If however, you take the advice and push onwards to the hill you will go through the queue in 10 minutes and get a ticket that will also allow you to enter the Coliseum without having to queue for an hour in the claustrophobic confines of the ancient stadium.When your through with your precious ticket held tight take a moment to save the sights of rearing ancient stonework throwing shadows down on you way below. You can take a second to relax, you have a decent amount of time left and can take a leisurely work round the hills seeing the old palaces of Emperors like Augustus and even to the ancient forum where the sounds of senators and plebeians alike still ring softly on the breeze.With your final hour drawing close at hand it is time to leave the open spaces of the ancient hill and move onwards towards the main attraction.As you enter the Coliseum the crowds are immediately daunting but take a second and you will see that a separate queue, one that is empty and inviting lies open for those lucky few like you who have already got their tickets from the Palatine hill.You can whip down this queue in seconds and be in and out of the Coliseum before those in the regular queues have even got their tickets. The hardest part left for you is to not look too smug as you rush past those in the queues on your way in.Take your time around the Coliseum get as many photos as you can and make sure you visit the gift shop for souvenirs ranging from books to snow globes.This is your final few minutes in Rome as you leave the stadium through the gallery of findings and out to the waiting coach.

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