There is spring in the air :)

Sun is shining, birds are singing but there is still a lot of snow on the streets… This time some images from Riga, Latvia. I would say – waiting for the summer!

Park in the front of Latvian University, Riga, Latvia

Park in the front of Latvian University, Riga, Latvia

Freedom Monument in the central part of Riga

Freedom Monument in the central part of Riga

Old Town of Riga, called Vecriga

Old Town of Riga, called Vecriga

Streets of Old Town

Streets of Vecriga - Old Town of Riga

Interested in history – just visit the Rome

Sad to say but this was my last of ‘full sightseeing day’ in Rome. And last day of this short vacation trip as well.  Didnt feel like getting up early & staying in long lines for getting in  ‘must‘ visit… Therefore (please forgive me:) ) instead of  visiting Vatican, I sleep in & spend few more hours near pool. I know – Vatican is one of the  ‘must’ for people visiting Rome & Italy but I leave it for some rainy day:)

Rome. Piazza NavonaAfter some ‘morning sun’ I’m ready for more sightseeing of Rome. Main check points for the day –  Piazza Novana, Coliseum and Castel Sant’Angelo in the evening. In between – a lot of walking in narrow streets of the central part of Rome. Of course a lot of picture-taking, some ice cream, ‘lunch’ in some park with shadow & nice views, a book/music store on the way.

Rome. Silvio Berlusconi mansionAnd yes, not far from Trevi Fountain I stumble upon mansion of Silvio Berlusconi – place hard to miss because a lot of people, some police, TV & news reporters on the street. Or maybe I just happen to be there during some meeting because many ‘important’ guests were arriving… But since I’m more found of Italian culture, history and architecture than politics, then I did keep going to explore other monuments, museums and places of tourist attractions in Rome:)

Coliseum - world famous attraction of Rome

Coliseum - world-famous attraction of Rome. If you take an audio guide, plan more than hour for this visit.

Activity for the evening – ‘Notti d’Estate a Castel Sant’Angelo’. Saw this place already some other night, because with all the illuminations it looks really great in the evening.Rome, Castel Sant Angelo at night

As special summer event this museum has weekly programme for visitors. Every night there is a different events going on from 8:30pm till 0:30am. With entrance fee of 9 euros, this evening visit to Castle Sant’Angelo was very impressive. Worth every cent! So those ones that are in Rome till September 4 – hurry up to spend a balmy summer evening in this wonderful place full of  art, history and culture!

Well, could I squeeze in some thing more for today? Maybe visit to Terme di Caracalla (they are not far from Coliseum) but since it was close to closing time, this stays for some other time…

 
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Day 3 – sightseeing of Rome

Love every day of my trip so far:) . It is so nice to have a lazy mornings and simple enjoy the breakfast & relax an hour or more near the pool. I know I’m in Rome, & there are so many things to do & to see but these hours by the pool are nice as well. Chat with other people, read a travel guide about places to see and swim a bit in the pool. Well, to be honest I was in the pool more that outside. Because can tell you a secret – you get nicer tan while in the water & most important, skin doesn’t get sunburn so fast. Learned this during my swimmers carrier:)

Today is my ‘tourist attraction’ day. My picks for the day are cathedral of San Giovanni in Laterano, Capitolini Musseum and Bocca Del Verita & Summer Night event along riverbanks of Tiber. Since I have Roma Pass that covers all transportation for 3 days and entrance to 2 museums of choice,  I need to take Metro to get to the Termini & bus to get to the San Giovanni. Here I‘d like to mention that till the end of 2011 there are some traffic limits set on Metro line A and not all stations are served.

Metro line A service suspention

So – San Giovanni in Lateranois the cathedral where the Pope officiates in his capacity as a bishop of Rome. Entrance is free & you even can get an audio guide for the visit; but if you want visit cloister (entrance at the end of left aisle), then there is 2.50euro for entrance.

San Giovanni in Laterano, Rome

Large builging of S.Giovanni in Laterno you definetely see but is not so impressive from outside as inside.

There are many cathedrals and churches in Rome. And every one of them is like a piece of art & architecture.

Cathedral S. Giovanni in Laterano is very impressive from inside

Cathedral S. Giovanni in Laterano is very impressive from inside

But San Giovanni in Laterano is really ‘wow’. Besides, right next to it there is another unique place to visit – Scala Santa. If you go out of cathedrals, main entrance, turn to the left – across the street there is a 16th–century building. This church holds a staircase from Pilate’s Palace in Jerusalem. Tradition says that 28 steps of this middle staircase can be made on knees.

Santa Scala

My next destination is Capitolini Museum. Information states, that this is most ancient museum in the world. In two buildings of the museum there is a significant collection of mediaeval and modern works Palazzo Nouvo and Palazzo del Conservatori are linked with underground tunnel, which leads to ancient Tabularium with monumental arches overlooking Forum.

Forum - one of most famous tourist attraction in Rome

Forum - one of most famous tourist attraction in Rome.

Right next to the steps leading to the Musei Capitolini there are other ones left side that lead to the Vittoriano Complex and its panoramic terraces. Again, great view over the Rome and Piazza Venezia. Or maybe I have to say Capitolini is right behind Vittoriano? Because that white monument dominates the area of Piazza Venezia.

Vittoriano monument complex, Roma, Italy

My next destination was Bocca della Verita. Many people are wondering where to find it but it turns out easy access from Piazza Venezia – I would say that you can just walk down the street on left side from steps to Capitolini in direction to the river. Church itself is not far from Palatino bridge.

 Long day come to end and there was just one thing left – Lung il Tevere Roma (Along the Tiber). This is event, that already goes during the whole summer till the end of August in backsides of Tiber from Palatino bridge till the Sisto bridge. With 3 thematic areas – culture, reception, entertainment this is nice place where to take evening walks.

Summer Nights along the Tiber , Rome

Day two of my short ‘vacation’

My first morning at the hotel Exel Roma Montemario. This is a comfortable and modern hotel in surroundings of Montemario Natural Reserve. It was kind of confusing to find it at first (because I took a public bus from the Lepanto metro station) but now it’s fine already. Though it was funny, when I asked how to get to the hotel at the Tourist Information center, got info that I have to take a bus #913 and it’s 20 stops…

hotel Exel Rome Montemario

hotel Exel Rome Montemario

I was not lucky enough to get a room in upper floor to enjoy nice views over the Rome. But I like it anyway because one of the reasons I did choose this hotel was outdoor pool.

Nice way to start a day - few hours of morning sunshine

Nice way to start a day - few hours of morning sunshine

 

Castel Romano Designer Outlet has shuttle bus service. Return ticket - 12euro

Castel Romano Designer Outlet has shuttle bus service. Return ticket - 12euro

I know for many it sounds not smart, but for today the main thing is … shopping. I decided go to the Castel Romano Designer Outlet. It is located 25 km outside of Rome. This outlet is easy to reach by car but there is no connection with public transport. For customers convenience there is a direct shuttle bus from Termini Train Station or From Piazza Risorgimento (near Vatican).

 Some can wonder why to go shopping, if there are so many things to do. Well, the thing is that on Mondays many museums are closed, therefore I leave sightseeing for some other day. Besides I had great evening program because during the summer there are several cultural events & festivals going on in Rome. I was lucky to see opera singers at first at Trevi Fountain, but later near Spanish Steps.

Opera singers at Trevi Fountain, Rome

Opera singers at Trevi Fountain, Rome

One of the great summer events in Rome - concert at Spanish Steps

One of the great summer events in Rome - concert at Spanish Steps

My Roman Vacations – Day 1

Right from the beginning – this is my first trip to Rome. Since this is kind of last minute trip, I haven’t created big travel plans. Though I did check some travel forums & TripAdviser about interesting sightseeing places and have set approximate plan for every day. And since this is the end of summer & sunny days, most of my mornings include few hours near swimming pool :) at the hotel before exploring Rome.

Since I arrived late evening last night at the Ciampino Airport, I did stay overnight in the hotel near airport & went to Rome in the morning. And looks like that it was a good decision. Because with all the reconstructions on ‘A’ metro-line it takes much longer to reach Termini train station than usual. Of course there are direct shuttle buses (costs around 5-6 euro one way) from airport to the Termini train station but they are not so fast as by train or metro.

Ciampino train station - takes just 15 min to get to the Rome

Ciampino Train Station - takes just 15 min to get to the Rome

The fastest & cheapest  way going to the Rome from Ciampino airport is to take Cotral bus to Ciampino train station (1.20euro) & then take a train (1.30 euro). If schedule matches for you, it takes a bit more than 30 min in total.  Similar it is with bus & metro but there are reconstruction works till the end of 2011& with some traffic limitations, therefore that connection is not convenient this year.

Since I did choose hotel with the outside pool, it is located a bit in outskirts of Rome. So my plan for sightseeing on the day 1 in Rome: from Termini Station take a direction to Pincio view platform & from there go to the hotel. No rush to get to the places, just direction…

Introduction to Rome - tickets to the sightseeing buses &attractions

Introduction to Rome - tickets to the sightseeing buses &attractions

Wonderful sunny weather in Rome:) Here are the great sights of Rome on the way from Termini Station to Lepanto Metro station, where I could catch a bus to my hotel.

One of many water fontains in Rome - Piazza della Republica

One of many water fontains in Rome - Piazza della Republica

Basilica S.Maria delgi Angeli

Basilica S.Maria delgi AngeliRome - Piazza Barberini

 

Near the Spanish Steps - view over the Rome

Near the Spanish Steps - view over the Rome A little piece of park near Villa Medici - nice relieve from hot summer sun

View from Pincio view platform - Piazza del Popolo

View from Pincio view platform - Piazza del Popolo Piazza del Popolo - one of the famous tourist attractions in Rome

WOW – that was a lot of walking. you know, what was nice thing to do before heading to the hotel?

Nice & refreshing thing for tired legs :)

Nice & refreshing thing for tired legs - clear but cold water:)