Rome, the “Eternal City”, this time of year is the crowded city. I spent some time in Rome last November with my daughter, Rebecca, just before we boarded ROYAL PRINCESS. It was the end of the tourist season with no crowds. We walked right into the Vatican, the Vatican Museums and the Coliseum – no crowds, no waiting. So neither Nikki nor I had any desire to fight the hordes invading Rome. Fortunately we were able to do tours that took us out into the wonderful countryside around Rome and some of the ancient towns like Tuscania, an ancient walled city still functioning as the heart of a larger city.
It was a half-day tour so I also had some time to explore Civitavecchia itself in the afternoon. Civitavecchia is the port city for Rome where usually I’m just coming or going. It’s not a bad little city serving as kind of a suburb and reasonable resort area for Romans. They are currently redoing the beach/park area just outside the port entrance.
DAWN PRINCESS sailed by the volcano Stromboli, jutting up out of the ocean and occasionally puffing like a cigar smoker as in spurted out small amounts of magma. It would have been fun to sail by at night. You could see the steaming lava flowing in a tiny rivulet down the side of the volcano and splashing into the sea.
Having escaped the crowds in Rome, I had no intention of fighting the hordes in Florence or Pisa, and opted again for a tour into the wonderful Tuscan countryside where I’d really love to go back and drive around for a week. We were able to go and visit the medieval town of Lucca.
Ooops! Here goes the ship’s Internet again . . . on and off . . . acting stubborn and unpredictable . . . as usual.