Never been to Rome before so last Thursday before winter truly sneaks in, Shirley and I jetted down courtesy of Ryanair from Nottingham East Midlands Airport. We stayed at the Hotel Italia on tiny Via Venezia, just off the Via Nazionale. To the budget-conscious, I would certainly recommend this clean and well-loved typical Italian hotel that amazingly only has a two star rating. Many other hotels in Rome seem grossly overpriced - rather like London.
So what did we do in Roma? Well we walked and we ate, saw famous sights such as the Colosseum, The Forum, Trevi Fountain, Spanish Steps and St Peter's, wandered through the Center Storico, watched a fisherman casting his rod by the side of the Tiber where perhaps Julius Caesar once swam with Marc Antony. While waiting in the Colosseum queue, I threatened a couple of would-be line jumpers with ancient Roman tortures and once inside we watched a cat prowling over the ruins before washing and sunning himself on a ledge, in the very place where lions and other exotic creatures died horribly for Roman amusement. It's reckoned that they killed thousands.
There is no religion in my head - I have no need of it but I am fascinated by religious buildings. St Peter's is a vast lump of a building shouting out - "This is the Catholic church baby and we rule the Earth so watch out!" The sense of space you get from the inner walkway of the dome is really breathtaking. We didn't make the Sistine Chapel because the queues were horrendous and we dropped out after moving twenty yards in two hours.
I admit that I am a mean son-of-a-bitch when it comes to giving alms to beggars but in Piazza Navarro, even I was moved to dip in my pocket for a poor man who walked around on thigh stumps with two deformed hands, one without fingers. I don't care even if he was to later drive away in a Porsche or a Ferrari - poor man, he was welcome to my five euros.