From the Spagna stop, we took the metro to Ottaviano, 3 stops away for our visit to the Vatican City, our final itinerary. The metro was quite crowded and the majority of the passengers were heading towards the Vatican. We will only be visiting the grounds of the Vatican as we will be returning to Florence right after this.
Vatican City is an independent state, the seat of the Pope who heads the worldwide Catholic Church. Although the Vatican is a state, it is entirely surrounded by the city of Rome as it is being the world’s smallest state.
Once at the grounds of the Vatican, we walked among the columns of pillars (for the shade) surrounding St Peter’s square and later onto the square itself. On the square ground, there is an Egyptian obelisk and a granite fountain. From here, which is about the center of the square, the entrance to St Peter’s Basilica is visible. What cannot be seen back in 1985, I now see huge crowds lining up to enter the basilica. Back then, no tickets, no crowds … you just walk into St Peter’s basilica.
The column of pillars surrounding St Peter’s square..
Part of the fountain in view.
The Vatican grounds.
The fountain and the Egyptian obelisk.
The Egyptian obelisk facing the column of pillars on the opposite side.
Line of crowds on the other side too.
St Peter’s square leading to the entrance of St Peter’s basilica.
Huge crowds lining up.
Walking among the colonnades.
What the Vatican looks back in summer 1985.
Almost nobody on the grounds of St Peter’s square. No crowds, no tickets required. Walk right into St Peter’s basilica and there isn’t many people in there too. You can then proceed to the Sistine chapel.
From the Colosseum, we took the metro to head for the Barberini stop for our next itinerary, the Trevi Fountain. You would need a change of metro line at Termini for Barberini. From the Barberini stop, it is a 600m, 10 minutes downhill walk. Elder travelers would not find this walk difficult but coming from the opposite direction, it would be taxing. (300m in the opposite direction, walking uphill you’ll reach Hard Rock Cafe.)
Lucky for us, the renovation works on Trevi Fountain has been fully completed, otherwise it would be another disappointment as the Rialto Bridge in Venice is also under renovation and our next itinerary, the Spanish Steps near-by, is half completed. Whats frustrating at the Rialto & the Spanish Steps is you don’t see workers attending to the renovation.
Walking route from Barberini metro stop to Trevi Fountain and onwards to the Spanish Steps before taking the metro at Spagna. Click for enlarged map.
The recently renovated fountain.
With the Spanish Steps still under renovation, tourist flock here.
Almost impossible to walk through or get a good spot for photos or selfies.
Front view of the Trevi Fountain.
Poli Palace back dropping the Trevi Fountain.
After a brief stop at the Trevi Fountain for some pictures and selfies, we walked over to the Spanish Steps. It’s another 600m, 10 minutes of gentle up-slope walk. Another tourist spot that is under renovation. At least it is ½ completed and the fountain is operational. Back in summer of 1985, the steps has a huge collection of potted azaleas with hundreds of people sitting on the steps, mostly couples but not during this 2nd visit of mine. There was a saying that tossing a coin into the fountain will make you want to come back to Rome one day. It is kind of difficult to believe, however I did just that, back then.
Renovation to the upper portion of the Spanish Steps still uncompleted as at April 2016. The steps are cordoned off.
The left side steps are open for public use.
The fountain and the steps.
If the steps aren’t ready, we’ll admire the fountain.
The fountain is operational.
After taking photos, selfies and taking a rest in the shade, we are ready to continue to the Vatican. You will need to take the metro at Spagna stop and you can walk there following the map below. It’s a right turn at the Diesel store into an alley towards the underground walkway. At the other end of the alley before the underground walkway, there is a small McDonald’s outlet.
Route from Spanish Steps to Spagna metro stop.
The underground walkway from Spagna metro stop to the Spanish Steps.
Our 5½ hours Rome itinerary covers the Colosseum, Trevi Fountain, the Spanish Steps and the grounds of the Vatican in that order. Arriving Roma Termini at 11:10 from Florence, we’ll be taking the metro to visit all of our itineraries as we wanted to save time. The Roma Termini metro station is a level down from the train station and you can purchase your metro tickets at the newstand at that lower level. It cost €1.50 each.
Our 5½ hours Rome itinerary.
From Roma Termini, we took the metro to the Colosseo stop where the Colosseum is situated. It’s just a few minutes metro ride and as you emerge from the metro stop, the Colosseum looms to greet you. The grounds surrounding the Colosseum is open and when the wind blows, you’ll get dust in your eyes. Bringing sun glasses and probably a face mask is a good idea.
Entrance tickets to the Colosseum which includes Roman Forum and Palatine had been purchased online (€12) in advance but we still needed to queue for a while for security check ala airport style. Once through security, we are straight in compared to the others who still need to queue again for tickets. We toured the Colosseum for an hour and nothing seems changed when I first visited it some 31 years ago. As we are not such a history buff, we skipped the Roman Forum and Palatine, suffice by just seeing it from afar from the Colosseum.
After the Colosseum, we headed for the Trevi fountain. You’ll need to take the metro back to Termini for a change of metro line heading towards Barberini metro stop. This is just a change of line and is a single ticket trip.
Colosseo metro stop where you want to get-off for the Colosseum.
What you’ll see as soon as you exit the Colosseo stop.
Lining up for the security check. Common line even for pre-purchased tickets holders.
The airport style security everyone has to go through.
Back again after 31 years. White hairs evident. Back then, this upper terrace was close to visitors.
Overview of the Colosseum.
Not so crowded at mid day.
Lower terrace of the Colosseum.
Probably where the gladiators run around chasing the beast or vise versa.
Upper level of the spectators terrace.
Ground level and way out. I’m definitely sure the floor isn’t original.
Colosseum through the window.
The Arch of Constantine situated between the Colosseum and the Palatine Hill. Photographed from the Colosseum.
Temple of Venus & Rome on the adjoining grounds as seen from the Colosseum.