The Return of Mussolini!

So when we arranged our tour into Rome we were thinking that we would see maybe some ancient ruins, some imperial Roman stuff and some personal shopping time.  We perhaps should have read the fine-print of the tour again because apparently we were booked on  a tour with the female version of Mussolini and there were to be no slow people and no shopping breaks!  Don’t you know there are ancient ruins to be seen???

After the brief introduction by our guide we were led to the entrance of St Peter’s Cathedral.  There were approximately 45,000 people lined up at the same time all trying to get through the security gates.  Here is us trying to do the right thing by covering our shoulders and knees in St Peter’s Cathedral – I mean, it’s respectful, right?  There were some people there wearing their ‘Daisy Dukes’ who were turned away.


The temps were hitting about the high 30s about now.


She was hot and she was sweaty!


St Peter’s was pretty awesome and Fliss was moved to literal tears as she walked through.  I found lots of marble walls to lean up against.

Here’s Fliss standing on the border of Vatican City and just to the right is where the Pope pops out of a Wednesday to say G’day to the peeps.


We were given 25 minutes to have a look at a souvenir shop and grab a bottle of water which was all fine.  The guide counted everybody off and made sure we were all there.  Then as we walked off a lady decided she’d just quickly pop back into the shop to buy one more thing….

We walked back to the bus and got on and then a family of 12 people looked around the bus and one said “Hey, where’s Aunty?” “She’s not with you?”  “I thought she was with you” “No, she wasn’t with me, wasn’t she with you?  She was the one who ushered us all out of the shop!”

Aunty was missing.

Her sister and the guide went back to the shop to look for her (about a 10 minute walk), but she was nowhere to be found.  We waited on the bus for about 40 minutes whilst her family members one by one realised that she didn’t have her phone, or her passport, or clearly her wits!

But… the show must go on, so we left her at the Vatican and made our way to the Trevi Fountain.  The generous guide gave us 10 minutes to throw our coin in and make our wish. There were close to 57,000 people there all trying to do the same thing.


But we managed to push our way in to get the money shot.


Then as quick as we arrived, we were all gathered to move on to lunch.  As we were getting off the bus to walk to the Trevi, the guide said that to get to the restaurant that we could either walk the 7 minutes straight there or we could walk back, through a traffic tunnel to the bus, to drive 3 minutes to arrive about a 5 minutes walk from the restaurant – this made no sense to us, so Fliss asked if we could possibly walk to the restaurant as the alternative wasn’t too appealing and people around us were agreeing that it seemed silly. She then made this announcement to everybody: “There is ONE person in the group who does not want to walk back to the bus.  Instead she wants to walk up the hill to the restaurant, so……”  The group all agreed that they were happy to do that too, but she repeated, “There is ONE who is not happy.”

So we all hiked up the very flat hill for about 5 minutes and arrived at the restaurant.  It was a nice little place that couldn’t deal with the 40 degree heat, but packed us all into the two back rooms and served us a very tasty, even if it lacked a little visually.

Maybe they have followed Masterchef Australia where negative space on the plate is all the rage?


Missing lady update:  She had enough sense to make her way to the restaurant – so she met us there.  Luckily the guide had given us the name and address at the beginning.

Hot and sweaty, we were all waiting outside the restaurant for people to go to the toilet.  The guide said, “Are we all here?” nobody answered, so she just started walking.  She walked super fast and just before we got to the bus, somebody called out that we’d left people at the restaurant (members of the same family of the missing woman!)  Rather than letting us onto the air-conditioned bus, we had to stand and wait whilst the guide walked back to the restaurant to find the missing people.


Next stop on this whirlwind tour was the Colosseum.


Our guide spoke at length in a monotone voice, stopping and starting her sentences, rambling on about things that didn’t seem to be about what we were looking at.  She did stop and talk for about 15 minutes though – did I mention how hot it was? about the cover to the sewerage.  The group was listening intently!


We plowed on ahead to take our 40,000 pics of the amazing 2000 year old building!


Finally, after waiting with the 27,000 other tour groups to go through security we were in!  The guide asked us to use the bathrooms at the restaurant because the lines at the Colosseum would be horrendous, so as soon as we got in there, a few members of the 12 strong family said they needed the bathroom….

So we waited.

If there’s one thing that puts me off doing group tours it’s the waiting for other people.  It’s also the cramped buses and the guides (if they’re not great) and the fact that you have to see what they want you to see… I don’t love big group tours.


We were not amused.


Then we saw this…


Fliss loved the Colosseum!


I had taken my ear piece out by this stage because our guide was not enhancing my experience.  Here’s what I missed…

A quick in and out and we were off to the Forum – seriously….. did I mention that we’re doing all this in 40 degrees?  Did I?

The Forum was pretty amazing.  I can’t tell you any information about it because I wasn’t listening – but I did enjoy just wandering around all the fabulously kept Roman buildings (ruins) and statues.


So – Rome in a day?  Can I recommend it? Absolutely!  Would I suggest you go in a more friendly temperature? Most definitely!  Would I give you the name of our guide? No!

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