This was it! I was headed to Rome! I could hardly contain my excitement. Rome was somewhat of a dream destination for me, much like London. The history, the food, the art; all of them were of great interest to me. Plus I got a ticket to be in the papal audience.
The flight was smoother than I expected even though I flew coach. The flight was just a little under 10 hours from JFK. I arrived in Rome’s Fiumicino Airport early in the morning and was fortunate to be the first ones out of the plane so I didn’t have to queue very long to pass immigration. Once cleared, I got my bag and headed out to the get my transport.
Italy 2012: Day 1
Fiumicino Airport is a ways out of the historic city center but it does have a train connection that will bring you straight to Termini Station, Rome’s main train station, in about 30 minutes.
My commute took around an hour however. Mostly because my hostel, Dreaming Rome, was outside the Aurelian Walls and required two more transfers from Termini Station. When I finally reached my destination, I checked-in, set my luggage aside and proceeded back out again. I was ready to start sightseeing.
My first stop was Piazza Barberini. Here, I received my first dose of Bernini courtesy of the Triton Fountain. I continued my walk downhill until I reached the Spanish Steps. It was still early in the day so it wasn’t quite as crowded, but even then, the view from the bottom was somewhat surreal. The image of the white Baroque church glistened prominently against the bright blue sky. It was going to be a great day.
After snapping some quick photos and drinking my first gulp of water from the fountains, I headed towards the Bishops’ Office for the United States to retrieve my ticket to see the pope. Their office is a peach colored old building located on a small side street just a few blocks away from Via Condotti where upon entry, you’re welcomed into a small courtyard with the statue of the Virgin Mary. Once I got my ticket, I took a turn around the grounds just to see what else was around and also to find the loo. In Europe, toilets aren’t usually free so if given the opportunity to find one that is, take advantage.
Anyway, I headed out and got a Roman pizza (square slice with think crust) to nibble on. It was late in the afternoon and I was starving. I ate my slice while I sitting on a stone stair step. It was fascinating to hear the roar of Vespas and the staccato sounds of footsteps while watching people pass by. When I reached inside my purse to capture the moment however that was when I realized that my camera, my newly bought pink Canon Powershot camera was gone. Pickpockets are common in major cities like Rome but I didn’t want to jump to that conclusion so I tried not to panic and carefully retraced my steps, hoping that I just left it at the bishop’s office. Unfortunately, when I returned, the nun I spoke to said no one turned in a camera. I left my information anyway, just in case a miracle happened. As you can probably imagine, I was bummed.
I drowned my sorrows by slurping on my first cup of gelato that evening and convinced myself that it was better to have lost it now when there were hardly any pictures in it rather than towards the end of my holidays. It did little to comfort me but I decided to continue sightseeing. I wasn’t about to waste a perfectly nice spring day in Rome despite the circumstances. My phone still had a full battery life so I used that to take pictures instead. I stopped by the Pantheon, Piazza Navona, and waited for the lights to turn on at the Trevi Fountain before heading back to get some much needed rest.