Travel History

Tracy McCully

Back to travel history

Rome, Florence and Capri

Year: 2017

My BFF and I booked a package with Transat Holidays.  The package included roundtrip flight from Toronto, 7 nights hotel with daily breakfast and airport transfers.  In addition I booked into a group tour of the Vatican and a morning walking tour that included entrance to the Colosseum, the Pantheon and Piazza Navona.  This trip we didn't want to be on a schedule.

We travelled in early October and this was still to hot for me.  We chose the H10 Waterloo hotel as it was in our price range.  This hotel is on the opposite side of the river Tiber and rather out of the way.  We were using public transportation which is not great in Rome so I certainly recommend spending a little more for a hotel with a better location.  We spent a lot of time waiting for and travelling on buses.  Rome's roadways are made of cobblestones so bring sturdy footwear as you will likely be doing a lot of walking.

After almost 20 years of travelling together, my friend and I had our first pick-pocketing experience on this trip. It happened on the metro. Two young girls approached us as the train was pulling into the station.  Luckily my friend caught the girl as she was pulling my friend's wallet from  her purse. They  escaped as the doors opened. It made me glad I was wearing my moneybelt with my passport and credit cards securely inside.

We spent the first day taking in some sights on our own....the Spanish Steps, views of the Forum, the Monumento Nazionale a Vittorio Emanuele II. We enjoyed some gelato and topped things off with a delicious pizza at a restaurant near our hotel.

Day 2 we made our way to meet our tour group for the Vatican. We were glad we booked into a tour because it saved us waiting in one of the longest lines I've ever seen.  After ending the tour in St. Peter's Square, we walked over to Castel Sant'Angelo.

Day 3 we met our tour guide and visited the Colosseum and then walked to the Pantheon and ended our walking tour in Piazza Navona at 1pm.  We then got some lunch and went back to the Pantheon as we did not spend much time there during the tour.  Then a little shopping.

Day 4 we went to Florence.  We made our way to the Termini station and bought our train tickets at a kiosk and took the Italo highspeed train reaching speeds of 220km/hr.  It took 90 minutes to get to Florence.  We wandered around on our visiting the famous Duomo, Ponte Vecchio bridge and Palazzo Vecchio where we had a lovely lunch (spaghetti) and met some other tourists from the States.  Then it was time to shop.  A favorite memory is sitting on a bench near the Duomo and listening to bells of the campanille (bell tower)

Day 5 we did not do any tourist stuff.  I was not feeling well so I stayed put in the morning.  We ventured out in the afternoon and just explored some neighborhoods close to our hotel

Day 6 we booked a day tour to Capri right at the front desk of our hotel.  We were picked up at 6:45am and driven to a central tour office and then set off for Naples and the ferry to Capri.  The drive took about 3 hours and the ferry took 50 minutes. We arrived in Capri at 12noon.  They took us directly to a bus and we went up the corkscrew road, passing olive trees, to Anacapri.  We had free time to wander, visiting charming shops, sampling lemoncello, and saw the stunning views of Marina Grande below.  Then we were taken back down to the harbourfront and had more free time to explore.  We left on the 5pm ferry and by the time we dropped off everyone at their hotels it was after 11pm. It was wonderful to see Capri but it was a very long day.

We saw a lot on this trip but it made me remember how nice it is to go on an escorted tour.  I had certainly had enough of travelling on hot, crowded buses over rutty cobblestone streets and I must say we wasted a lot of time waiting for buses and trains. It would have been better had I been younger and thinner!