Tues 3 Jan Got up a bit earlier – 7:30 am, which is not easy when it is still dark. We have not used any public transport in Rome, as the city is more compact than Paris or London. In Rome, the journey – what you see along the way – is just as important as the destination, as there are excavations and history everywhere. Walked back through Piazza Navona, across the river and to the Vatican.
There was a long queue to get in but it moved quickly. The Basilica was elaborate, but appeared new compared to the English churches – obviously well maintained. We decided not to go into the museum and the Sistine Chapel as we also wanted to go along the Apian Way and it was a long walk.
We followed the river to the Circus Maximus (1 hour) where we had lunch. From there we walked 1 ¼ hours to the Catacombs. The Apian Way was busy with traffic and there was barely any footpath with 2m high walls along both sides, so you couldn’t see any countryside, and it was probably a bit dangerous too. We were pretty tired by the time we got there but it was worth the effort. 30min tours in about six different languages set off every 30 min. The Catacombs covered 20 km of tunnels and were used for Christian burials from the 3rd – 5th century including popes and martyrs. They were also used for meetings and hiding from Roman soldiers. The ½ million bodies were reinterred when the Catacombs were plundered.
By the time we walked back we were exhausted.
For dinner we went to a local restaurant – they are in nearly every street – then bought some more souvenirs and snacks for breakfast and the trip home. Today was our warmest day – no scarves, hats or gloves and only one jacket. We also saw the sun a few times.