Roman invasion - part I

Yesterday I revealed that one of the places I visit regularly via a webcam is Rome. Rome is, to me, a very special city. I’m not normally a city person - I live and work in the country and I normally choose to spend short breaks in even quieter hideaways.

I’m not much of a traveller; I hate the hassle of airports, currency and language. But a few years ago I spotted an advert - day trips to Rome. Yes, I could fly from a local airport - 40 minutes away - see Rome and then tuck myself into my own bed before midnight. I wasn’t necessarily drawn to Rome for any other reason than I liked the idea of seeing it.

So that was it, I booked my ticket and a few weeks later flew up, up and away - on my own mini Roman Holiday.

The coach journey from the airport took us to St Peter’s Square, but of course even that relatively short distance allowed us to spot some of the famous sights. The Coliseum, Forum and others were all on our way and I was even able to snap photos of them from the coach.

A jovial man seated behind me commented to his partner that all my photos would just be the reflection back. I hoped not and carried on snapping.

My first reaction to St Peter’s was one of awe. The impact of the sculptures atop the high columns and the sheer size of the buildings was jaw-dropping. Once we had our bearings we were given 90 minutes to explore at our leisure. I headed straight inside to check out the Basilica. Of course 90 minutes would never do it justice, but the urgency of trying to see as much as possible seemed to heighten the pleasure. Tourists mixed with pilgrims in a shared atmosphere of wonder.

Thankfully you can snap photos - I probably took at least 100. Sunlight poured in through windows in the many domes. Shafts of light became spotlights and even this non-religious, non-catholic couldn’t fail to be moved by the spiritual experience of it all.

Before I ran out of time I decided to explore the Square. How many times had I seen the Pope’s Easter message broadcast from that very window? How many thousands were blessed here?

I can’t do justice to Rome in five minutes - the time limit for each of my posts. So I’m saving the rest until Monday when I reveal it’s possible to see Rome and NOT die!