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3. Italy, the mainland and the islands, 2008

1. from Menton (F) to Rome (I) (339 NM)




For our planning (temp.): see the "Italy 1 " page in "Logboek Italië"

See also, after this page, the second part:

3. Italy, the mainland and the islands: 2. from Rome to Santa Maria di Leuca, and the crossing to Greece (2008)

Overview and harbours, click here.



From Menton(F) to Rapallo (I)



24.04.08 From Menton to Alassio. Finally the high-pressure is coming nearby and extending: we read 1022 hPa on our barograph. The depression over the Ligurian sea is filling and the perturbations disappearing.


NE 2, in the afternoon S 1-2, the sky is a little bit cloudy and the sun makes her desirable. At Capo della Mortola we are in Italian waters. Behind us Menton and our very pleasant port de Garavan , the nice town, the great hinterland, and ... the many friends. We hope to see Michel and Maddy in Italy or Greece, Rinaldo and Maryse are already at Kos and start their Greek cruising. At the other friends: "Au revoir, ... à quand? Arrivederci, ... a quando?". An emotive moment...



In front of us, the Riviera di Ponente, along the ancient Via Aurelia. San Remo, some mega-yachts are passing us, heading for France: to Antibes for maintenance, to Monaco for the Masters of the Grand Prix, to Cannes for the Festival? Or simply, on the way? Bussana Vecchia, the middle-age village, Taggia, Imperia, Diano Marina, the old town of Cervo. The capes, Capo Pino, Capo San Ampeglio, Capo Nero, Capo dell'Arma, Capo Cervo, Capo Mele. Midday is now passed, and the wind is S, 4 kts, but at Capo Mele we are


lucky:we get a delicious15 kts backstay wind and so we reach Marina di Alassio sailing! Like always we get a berth - un posto - on the little-boats pontoon, "Bene, la piccola barca, pontile G", "Grazie!".

Stops: Alassio - Varazze - Rapallo - Portovenere - Fezzano - Bocca d'Arno Merina di Pisa, Marnanova - Cecina - Isola d'Elba, Porto Azzurro. Google Maps

But, we get a berth! Marina di Alassio is not so large but very well sheltered behind the Isoletto Gallinaro. Ormeggiatori taking our ropes, we have to get used to!

The centre of Alassio, on the large bay, a pleasant and well known resort is at 1,5 km. On this late Thursday afternoon it seems a little bit to quiet here, after the pleasant and lively Menton.


25.04.08 Fom Alassio to Varazze.



We keep the little private island Isoletto Gallinaro on our starboard and set course to Capo Noli. It will be motoring, this morning: the sea is oil-flat and the sun starts her warming-up in a little misty sky.

The Ligurian coast is very typical: a long urbanisation strip - Albenga, Loano, Finale Ligure, Noli, Savona, Albissola Marina, mostly big buildings, then behind but nearby, the high green hinterland and still higher, the Italian Alps. Numerous yacht harbours: Alassio, Loana, Finale Ligure, Savona - Italy's 7th commercial harbour -, Varazze. We cross some super-yachts, a few sailing boats, little fishing boats. At Capo Noli we get 10 kts wind, 029°. To Varazze still 12 miles. We try to sail between Savona and. Varazze with the High aspect. At 3 p.m. we call the port office. Ormeggiatori are waiting to keep our lines.

Marina di Varazze is a luxurious new marina,expensive but very well kept and sheltered. But there is now one problem: the wi-fi of this luxurious marine is out of use, the system didn't work; a new will be installed. A pity for us: we came here, partly for the internet connection and to update our website!





Varazze is a typical very north-Italian popular resort for people of Savona, Genua and Torino. in the narrow streets of this little town it's, on this Friday evening of 25th of April - Liberation day - very busy. A pleasant atmosphere too on the Promenade - the Lungomare. In the old-fashioned Casino - where we are looking for a internet point - in vain at this hour -, a very popular dancing evening is going on; crowded restaurant terraces too, on this public holiday. Varazze has also a lot of nice squares, mainly around the churches.



26.04.08 From Varazze to Rapallo. From Varazze to the punta di Portofino, 27,5 miles. Nice weather, variable wind becoming WSW this afternoon. We leave Varazze at 9.45 a.m. and get an ETA at 3.40 p.m.The Riviera di Levante counts elegant resorts Nervi, Rapallo and the pearl, Portofino. More to the SE, after Chiavari and Lavagna, we will sail along the Cinque Terre, with the nice village of Vernazza, further on lies Portovenere, just at the entrance of the Golfo di La Spezia. We hope to find a berth at Santa Margherita Ligure, and because we want to visit from there, the Promontorio di Portofino.

There is a light breeze and the sea is a flat; so, we have to cross the Golfo di Genova, most of the time motoring, with the main-sail hoisted, although we can set our high aspect jib for a time.

A big yacht under Cape Verdian flag is overtaking us, we cross a ferry of the Tunesian Ferries, and a beautiful sailing boat is preceding us at a mile from Varazze to the Punta di Portofino. Really, we are not alone at see for the seven last miles: small fishing boats, fast yachts, sailing boats of all dimensions!



Suddenly, a pleasant welcome committee appears: four dolphins are playing in our bow wave, and before they dive, they give us a brief look, an enticing wink to encourage our progression. Later on, due to the numerous boats, the sea is becoming rather wild when we are approaching. And then, Portofino appears in all her real postcard beauty.

The mooring is very crowded on this nice Friday afternoon.

At 4.30 p.m. we are at the entrance of Santa Margherita Ligure. But as there are regattas , we can't get a berth here. We are advised to reach Rapallo, 1,5 mile ahead.

In Porto Carlo Riva, the pleasant marina of the Golfo Marconi, we get a berth at a nice, central and quiet place - finally, and this since many months, between two other sailing boats!




27.04.08 Rapallo is an elegant resort: numerous hotels and a nice old town part. Following the Promenade - the lungomare Vittorio Veneto - we reach in 10 minutes the on this Saturday evening very animated centre: despite the coolness, the terraces of the cafés, restaurants, and ice-cream saloons are well occupied. On the Promenade, with nice small gardens and palms, people are strolling, sometimes loud speaking about events and experiences of their life ... a Saturday evening like an other, in Rapallo, Italy, in April!

The seafront shows its typical look: the numerous coloured bath cabins are expecting the summer-holiday-makers. We can imagine, when we see this all now in the early spring, that Rapallo, the sophisticated - to use Rod Heikell's judgment -, will have her summer fever, despite her would-be appearances, la febbre dell'estate...




This afternoon we visit Portofino. First we take the bus to Santa Margherita Ligure, then we walk following the road on the special wooden passerelle, and, finally by the higher situated, nice and well shaded footpath ( walking the whole time along the road should be very dangerous due to the heavy traffic, as we were told by our boat neighbour ).

Beautiful Portofino, very touristic Portofino! Portofino is really an absolute must, but ... we are lucky that we are not mooring here, because the anchorage is well shaken by the numerous tourist boats!

This natural harbour ( Marina di Portofino, with mooring buoys and ormeggiatori ) is surrounded by coloured houses, and on one of the pleasant terraces we savour a delightful cappuccino. Luxurious boutiques and shops, hotels, little churches, splendid houses, a big hotel higher on, and the Castello San Giorgio - from the garden, we have a magnificent view on Portofino, and ... the small cemetery is a beautiful place of eternal quietness ...

Back to Rapallo by coach - il pullman - where we find a lucky Sunday-late-afternoon atmosphere in the narrow streets and on the lungomare.



29.04.08 Yesterday we could up-date our website: on the Tourist Office we got a list with the internet points. Then, by the bus we reached Santa Margherita Ligure, where we did a pleasant walk in the old town; the Basilica di Santa Margherita (1658) is certainly worth a visit: statue of the Virgo with the Child (1776), fervent worship of the Virgo, N.S. della Rosa, due of numerous miraculous recoveries, beautiful paintings and statues. We just had left the church and were tasting a delicious cappuccino when the first drops were falling ...

Much rain this night and to-day it's still very cloudy, cold and rainy.

Again with the bus: now to Camogli, where tall old houses are enclosing the small picturesque harbour (case delle moglie, "the houses for the - fishermen's-wives", as a guarantee to their fidelity).

01.05.08 Rapallo is a nice spot, and today we enjoy the long weekend atmosphere with again the


passagiata on the Promenade, the animated bath-cabin-quarters - the season starts today - and the crowded terraces. We walk through flowered gardens to the Bagni dei Sogni - a tiny beach with "elioterapia-makers" - and again we savour a cappuccino. In the late afternoon we appreciate the piano recital with voce in the raspberry--pink coloured Auditorio delle Clarisse and we finish our evening with a short presence at the rock-exhibition of popular star Enrico Ruggeri ...


From Rapallo along the Cinque Terre to the isola d'Elba





02.05.08 From Rapallo to Portovenere and the Rada di La Spezia. 35 miles to Portovenere, along a very green, wild coast, and the last 10 miles, along the famous Cinque Terre, five still traditional villages, part of the UNESCO patrimony list, and National Park. We are glad to be at sea for enjoying this fascinating coast because in the villages and on the cliff paths, we see an endless multi-coloured ribbon: the innumerable visitors and tourists as a long caterpillar on the green slopes.





At 15H30 we anchor in the sunny Cala delle Fornace behind the NE point of Isola Palmeria, where a lot of boats are anchored but after dinner we are alone in the anchorage and a fresh wind is blowing in; so, we decide to go to Portovenere anchorage on the other side of Isola Palmeria, east of Punta San Pietro. Easily we find a nice place, with good holding in pos. 44°02'850N 09°51'200 E at 50 m off the red buoys marking the mussel beds.

03.05.08 After a quiet night and a pleasant half-a-day, we decide to reach a marina for the coming night: Eric has caught a cold and is feverish. Le Grazie marina has no more berths available and the wind is blowing over the anchorage outside, Porto Lotti has no berths for boats under 10m but they advice us to go to Marina del Fezzano, deeper on the W-side of the gulf of La Spezia, what we do - a small but very pleasant marina, well situated in a peaceful corner of the Rada di La Spezia.

06.05.08 From Fezzano, a pleasant village - but like many - we return to Portovenere by bus. This little town is very touristic and is missing - in our opinion - a real atmosphere: we are a little disappointed, although we find it a beautiful spot, and - of course - we made a short visit to Lord Byron's cave ...




07.05.08 We leave Marina del Fezzano for Boca di Arno and Marina di Pisa, a nice trip along the Tuscan coast and the harbours Carrara - with the impressive white marble "glaciers" of the quarries - and Viareggio a touristic place and a "charge band 5" harbour (Rod Heikell)!

At 2,5 miles from Marina di Pisa we see the outline of Isola di Gorgona, a convict settlement and a natural reserve... It is not easy to find the pontoon of Marinanova between the numerous basic, mainly wooden jetties and other mooring constructions belonging to the small shipyards operating on the right bank of the river river Arno. But once berthing after some mooring difficulties, we appreciate this quiet place from where we can visit Pisa.




In this aristocratic town we find easily the worldwide well known, monumental ensemble of the Campo dei Miracoli, on the Piazza del Duomo: the Duomo, the Torre pendente, the Battistero and the Camposanto. Every visit is an esthetic enjoyment, although the place is often, the whole year, crowded with tourists, and, today, many schools have organised their annual trip to this town, so the lawns around are taken for picnic-activities at lunchtime! So, it's difficult to take "the" picture to "immortalise" our visit ...

Before we return to Bocca d'Arno, we spent some time walking in the narrow streets of the historic quarter: the beautiful Piazza dei Cavalieri - the Palazzo, the church San Stefano and the palazzo della Gherardesca - a last look at the very interesting Santa Maria della Spina church with small statues of the Pisano school. If we are enthusiast about the cultural and artistic aspects of Pisa, we are disappointed about the poor condition of many public buildings, the street surfaces, the parks and gardens, the situation of numerous dustbins and the omni-presence of graffiti! Poor situation for a city and a country where avoiding to pay taxes is a sport!



09.05.08 From Boca di Arno to Marina di Cecina. 25 miles to this small, no nonsense harbour where we want to do a stop-over, waiting for what the weather will be: a deepening low with thunderstorm perturbation is moving northeastwards from W-Algeria.

A nice trip: we can sail for three hours. Cecina mare is a crowded, untidy harbour, but active, with a sailing school, on the mouth of the silting Cecina river. For our draft there is no problem, but 1,50 m is a maximum!

No sign of the new, planned marina, and but in the river, on the harbour entrance 0,25 M up-streams, dredging works are going on. [ update 2013: http://www.portodicecina.it/ ] We get a berth on a quiet place, on the quay, not far from the entrance.


10.05.08 From Marina di Cecina to Porto d'Azzurro (Isola d'Elba). Nice sailing weather when we leave Cecina: wind (ap.) E 15-18 knots, flat see, sunny. We can sail a whole hour and then the wind is turning, and falls.

Porto d'Azzurro is on the E-coast of Elba, at 33 miles from Cecina. At 2 p.m. we approach Elba, and at Punta Falcone, the wind is back: we unfurl the high aspect jib and stop the engine. Good wind, nice track. The outline of the island of Elba is standing out against the blue sky, the sea is steel blue, the sun a little bit pale ... On port, Salivoli harbour, and Piombino, and on starboard, Elba. Then, later on, at port the small island of Palmaiola. Sailing boats, a ferry boat, and suddenly another one, and a fast ferry too: we are not alone here!

Stops: Cecina - Isola d'Elba, Porto Azzurro - Isola del Giglio - Cala Galera - Riva di Traiano - Roma Ostia, Porto Turistico. Google Maps

The harbour of Porto Azurro is not easy to see when we are entering the large bay, but with our Pilot and, after our call, with the. guidelines of ormeggiatore-chief Giovanni Messina we arrive at our berth - with a little confusion this time ! - on the quay in the centre of the village.

In the evening, our boat disappears between big motoyachts, but with a nice meal and a good bottle of wine, life is beautiful and the harbour is ours!


12.05.08 Isola d'Elba, Porto Azzurro. Yesterday nice weather although a shower disturbed our quietness, but today the thunderstorm perturbation sends us continuous rain. A few boats - mainly French - left their anchorage and entered the harbour, but it's far from crowded here! Porto Azzurro has no more (!) internet point, so we decide to take the bus to Portoferraio where we hope to find an internet connection: the weather conditions encourage to such activities!

17.05.08 Porto Azzurro. From a German sailor who's bringing his new acquired boat from Trieste to Germany we get the advice to use the interesting promotion from TIM-Alice UMTS 9GB internet connection on our laptop (see Kortom, 10).





Meanwhile the harbour is almost empty, apart from some charter boats. We have to be creative and self supporting because the municipality has decided to renovate the shower and toilet block nów, when the season starts!.

Although we are moored at the quay our berth is quiet, the terraces of the pubs and restaurants are just far enough and the traffic here is very limited.

Elba is a nice island but - even now - very touristic. Green, varied, with gentle hills and deep bays, and a wild coastline; but, suddenly the relief becomes sharp and high to reach the highest point, the Monte Capanne, 1018m. With the Compass walking chart nice explorations are assured, with the 7-euro-one-day-bus-ticket you will cross through the island (tickets at the news-paper kiosk), and for 39 euro you'll rent a Fiat-Panda (9 a.m.- 7 p.m.).


But the weather is not well-meaning to the continuation of our trip: much rain, forecasted heavy thunderstorms and opposite winds - so the sirocco, covering the boats with red sand - discourage us to cross to the small island of Giglio at 32 NM in the S.E. So we are a little constrained to prolong our stay on Elba - like Napoleon who was reigning here during a year, constrained, before his glorious come-back through France, and the final defeat at Waterloo and the exile on St-Helena. So, we'll accept and submit to Poseidon: like Odysseus, Jason and Aeneas we will live our fate of "Med-sea tramps"! But ... really ... this isn't bad!


From l'isola d'Elba to Porto Ercole and Marina Cala Galera




22.05.08 From Elba to Isola del Giglio. After several days of bad weather and heavy rain we leave Elba, at 07.30 a.m. To our waypoint 1M N of the N-point of Isola del Giglio, 30,5 NM, wind SSE 8 kts, cc 135°.

At 10 a.m. Isola di Montecristo is on our starboard, 220°, 20 NM, hardly visible in the mist. Giglio is now at 16 NM and unless the wind becomes SW-ly - like the forecast tells - and increases a little, we have to motor. It's still a little cold at sea: our polar fleece have to give us some sensation of pleasant heat.

From Menton we get bad news: our friends Michel and Maddy have to cancel their Greece cruising, so there will be no meeting ... this year?

At 12 o'clock the wind goes to the SW and we can unfurl our high aspect jib, a little later we read 12kts on our windmeter and we can stop the engine: so, it's sailing that we reach Porto Isola del Giglio!



Giglio is also a green island but the contours are milder. The harbour/marina is small and works in progress on the jetty limit the berthing possibilities. It is very busy in the harbour due to the numerous ferries but we get a quiet berth at the ( only one ! ) visitors pontoon ... quiet until two German charter boats arrive !


Giglio is also a spot for many divers and the island is partly living on their rhythm. We explore the small village, already very touristic at this moment. In a little narrow street higher on, we find a delightful gelateria: the ice cream is guaranteed gluten-free, so it's for Eric a satisfaction moment since a long time! Meanwhile the pontoon is full occupied by ten boats.




23.05.08 From Giglio to the Promontorio Argentario. After a short and disturbed night due to our noisy and impolite charter neighbours, and after a sudden but heavy shower in the early morning we leave Giglio at 8 o'clock to reach the Promontorio Argentario and Porto Ercole at 16 NM, cc 095°. The peninsula seems dark and a little threatening, the sea and the sky are announcing a not so nice day! The course allows us to sail in a irregular SSE wind but the sea and the short waves - the swell is opposite to wind and waves - limit our average speed to 4,5 kts. When we approach the high rocky coast, we have to start the engine and some miles later we have to furl the high aspect jib just before we have to give way for a fishing boat. At Porto Ercole we don't get a berth: later this day we will hear that if there are visitors berths ( ten says Rod Heikell ) they are taken by yacht charters, and that six clubs or circoli have the concessions. After a telephone call to Marina di Cala Galera - as expensive, charge band 5, mentioned in the Pilot -, half a mile N-ly, we get a berth for only 21 euro! The marina is very well equipped and after several days we can enjoy a delightful shower! The picturesque, pleasant and touristic small town of Porto Ercole is at 10' walking from Cala Galera (see for details in Kortom).



Because the scirocco is blowing the coming days, we are a little prevented to go faster to Rome (at about 60 NM); so we are in doubt to plan a short exploration of the Promontorio Argentario ... Every day the importance to be able to communicate in Italian appears clearly: we are very surprised to note how poor the knowledge of foreign languages is. "English, a little" is the first and last expression before we usually are submerged under a flood of explanations in ... Italian, as the result of the most absolute disarray of our still friendly speakers.




From Porto Ercole to Rome


01.06.08 From Porto Ercole (Marina Cala Galera) to Riva di Traiano (Civitavecchia). After several days of bad weather - thunderstorms, heavy rain (again!) and fresh SE winds - a certain change seems to appear, but if the wind will be less "anchored" in the SE, thunderstorms and rain will still be nearby. From a NE drifting Algerian depression we draw no good inspiration, and the small, relative high over Italy will not resist a long time (1018 hPa this morning)! But we have enjoyed this longer stop: Cala Galera is a nice marina, we really liked Porto Ercole, quite nearby, and by bus we have visited Orbetello and Santo Stefano.

32 NM to Riva di Traiano: we start at 7.30 a.m., grey sky, dark clouds behind us. But looking the gribfiles ( U-grib ) we picked from the net we are a little reassured: no heavy winds, no heavy rain.

Seven hours later we moore our 27 feet in Riva di Traiano. A monotonous trip along an even monotonous coast - small hills, little green, small towns, little industrial sites ... - we have seen much better! For a time we will unfurl our high aspect jib, more for some variation than for sailing ...

Civitavecchia. The sun appears, big cruising ships: Rome is nearby. We arrive at the Porto turistico Riva di Traiano just in time to assist at the start of the "parade": motor and sailing boats sacrificing on the Sunday afternoon ritual. A short outing, and then back inside, mostly slowly: to see and to be seen. A Sunday like an other, at Riva di Traiano, in Italy.

03.06.08 Yesterday we have visited Civitavecchia. The municipality does some efforts for renovation - the lungomare and some streets and squares in the vicinity of the Theatre - but we were not really convinced about the success of the operation. The town is missing some character and is rather slovenly.

For tomorrow, again, heavy rainfall is announced, so we'll not navigate to Rome but a first visit by train seems to be a nice option. And first we have to prepare our visit: our Michelin-green guide - although rather limited - will help us.

Our one-day-visit of Rome, from Civitavecchia.

We take the bus to Civitavecchia (8.30 a.m., stop near the marina). Train from Civitavecchia - 8.59 a.m.- to ROMA TERMINI - 10.15 a.m.- but some go faster! - (BIRG-ticket: 9 euro = 1 day all public transports to & in Rome, selling in all "tabacchi" & stations). ( Photo album )

In one of the numerous kiosks of the big station of ROMA TERMINI (30 platforms!) we buy a map of Rome, plasticized (3 euro) - it's heavily raining !



With a excellent capppuccino we compare our visiting plan and the map in a bar of the Via Cavour, not far from the basilica S.Maria Maggiore***.

Today we will limit our visit: no queue, no details ... Rome today, Rome yesterday, and the day before, and from many days before! !

Rome-today is a city of more than 2,5 million people where present and past are living together.

The Via Cavour takes us to the Colosseo***, an amphitheatre for 50.000 people of the year 80 A.D. The rain is a real present for the many umbrella sellers. "Follow the guide" :Japanese, Dutch, German, Americans, Italians ... the whole world seems to have found the way to Rome!

We prefer the Arco di Constantino***, and alongside the Monte Palatino*** we reach the Forum Romanum*** .


Twelve centuries of Roman civilisation under our feet : the Via Sacra, the Arco of Septimus-Severus, the temple of Vespasianus, the column of Phocas, the house of the Vestals ....

But here is the sun and suddenly it's warm.

Then to the Campidoglio***: on the Piazza del Campidoglio***, magnificent palazzi, and the statue of Marcus Aurelius - a copy, the original is to be seen at the Palazzo Nuovo, Musei Capitolini. From here we have an imposing view at the Forum Romanum. Then we reach the Piazza Venezia, a little lower, and the Chiesa del Gesù.

It's lunch time: at the Largo Torre Argentina we find a nice terrace.

Later on we discover the commercial area of the Via del Plebiscito, the Via del Corso, and so we arrive at the Fontana di Trevi. The very beautiful fountain of Trevi is an imposing baroque monument, one of the most visited places of Rome. Kaat will throw two coins, one to come back to Rome, the second to be certain that her wish will be granted.

The hot weather is an invitation to enjoy a ice-cream from Il Gelato di S. Crispino, one of the best known "gelaterie" of Rome, in the Via della Panetteria.

Before going back to Ostia, we will see the Piazza di Spagna. On our way luxurious shops now in little streets: Versace, Armani, Gucci, Prada, Bulgari ... International animation and atmosphere on the Piazza di Spagna.



The metro station is nearby and we reach Roma Termini.

A last concession before going back: a cold coffee at the historic Caffè Greco in the Via dei Condotti, near the Piazza di Spagna. Artists and writers, Goethe, Stendhal, Berlioz, Wagner, were there.

At 17H30 we take the train to Civitavecchia. But at our arrival there, no more busses . So we will use the kindness of a employee of the station to go to the harbour. We will pay him just like we should pay a taxi, which also was not to be found.



04.06.08 From Riva di Traiano (Civitavecchia) to Porto Turistico di Roma-Ostia.

A nice day.

At 12H15 we berth at the Porto Turistico di Roma-Ostia. We left Civitavecchia at 7 a.m., and navigated 27 miles mostly with main sail and the engine. When we start the weak wind was rather astern but the see little confused.

The last 10NM the wind was seriously freshening and the see building up. When we were approaching Porto turistico we have noted a full 5Bft: the waves were rolling joyfully under our boat. The boat was then running 6,4 kts what's not usual! Kaat took the helm because our pilot was loosing his calm.

Porto turistico di Roma is a large marina, rather new, offering all equipment, services and facilities, and a good welcome, but not save to enter with heavy onshore winds. Inside the shelter is excellent.

For our 27' we have to pay 27 euro - while the marina is reported to be expensive ...

Since a long time - since Le Lavandou - Nehalinnia is moored alongside the pontoon, in all quietness!



05.06.08 Our second one-day-visit of Rome, from Roma-Ostia Porto turistico. ( see "Kortom" " Porto turistico di Roma") With the public transports we are in less than one hour (global ticket 1 euro) on the departure point of our second walk, at the metro station "Ottaviano-San Pietro": today we want to see the San Pietro place and we want to do an other "atmosphere walk". [ Photo album ]



On our way to San Pietro***, we have a short lunch stop - it's pranzo time!. We will not visit the inside of the basilica ( there are a lot of visitors and we have to wait a long time for the scanning control ). But we will have a magnificent panorama*** from the Castello Sant'Angelo*** (8 euro), near the river Tevere - at a short distance of the via della Conciliazione. From the bridge Ponte Sant'Angelo we take the via Coronari; through this picturesque antique dealers area - ice-cream stop at the Gelateria del Theatro Coronari - we reach the Piazza Novana***; the Fountain of the Rivers (the Danube, the Ganges, the Rio de la Plata, and the Nile - the four parts of the world - ) is hidden by restoration works. This large square is certainly the square with the biggest number of terraces: musicians, painters, and other artists are waiting for the visitors and their



generosity. It's here more expensive but the prices are still little lower than those in other European capitals and touristic centres. In our experience Italy is not so expensive as France. To the Corso Vittorio Emanuele and the Piazza del Argentina, and further on to the river Tevere and the small Isola Tiberina. A 15' walk to the NW along the river and we arrive the Circo massimo, large green area where we have a nice view on the Monte Palatino. Due to the FAO top we have to go along the via S.Gregorio to reach the metro station Colosseo. So our second walk finishes where the first began: at the Colosseo and the Arco Constantino!




12.06.08 Ostia-Lido di Roma, a long beach, small, a Promenade - il lungomare - even long: this is "Rome-at-sea". The beach - la spaggia, with the numerous concessions, but access remains possible and free! -, bars, some real beach restaurants, wooden constructions or nice hard constructions. Everything is clean, well kept and painted. Here the customers are young, there, it's the meeting place of a more wealthy middle-class. On the NW side, close to the new harbour - Porto turistico di Roma, with all the equipments, by day, open to all people: restaurants, gelaterie, shops, boutiques, and even a banking agency, but, at night, closed, guarded - are the more popular and poor districts of Ostia, some really decayed: washing is drying on the windows, roads are in poor conditions, walls covered with graffiti, some burned cars, here and there rubbish .... But there are flowers on the terraces, and the atmosphere is not desperate, on the contrary.




We walk to the covered marked, a renovated district where three supermarket just have opened. Parking places. Squares. But always lack of maintenance. More to the SE, where centre of Ostia town is, everything becomes better: large animated shopping avenues, nice shops, new constructions, buildings with large multi- coloured and flowered terraces: here people are living more wealthy. The station district is animated and lively.




Yesterday we have visited Ostia Antica [ Photo album ] : this ancient harbour of Rome is with Pompei and Herculaneum one of the most important excavation sites. The excavation works started in the beginning of the XX th century. Here 50.000 people were living: a city of shop-keepers, traders and haulage contractors. A town with buildings, villas, temples - a large theatre - a Capitole, forums, but also a town with numerous shops, business, workshops, warehouses. Real impressive!

We took advantage of our Rome stop to get an appointment at the hospital of Ostia for Eric's routine treatment, so that it will not be a preoccupation during the rest of our Italian trip. So, today it's the big day: an interesting experience, a confrontation with the health system that we will share today with the Italians!





13.06.08 Our third one-day-visit of Rome, from Roma-Ostia Porto turistico. ( see "Kortom" , " Porto turistico di Roma"). [ Photo album ]

No a discovering-walk to-day but a meeting with artists and their master-pieces.

At the Basilica San Pietro we want to see the Pieta, this early work of Michel-Angelo, and the dome, also from Michel-Angelo.

Later on we visit the Musei Vaticani. We have our visiting-list: the Venus of Cnidos, the Laocoon-group, the Apollo of the Belvedere, and the Perseus, this for the Greek-Roman part; of course the Stanze Rafaeli and in the Sixtine Chapel the vault, other magnificent work of Michel-Angelo, and wall paintings from Botticelli; in the Pinacoteca work of Raphael, of Leonardo da Vinci and of il Caravaggio.

But we will see more, a consequence of the track of the visit: wonderful tapestries realised in Brussels by Pieter van Aelst. Unexpected meetings with Dali and Botero! And before closing time, when visitors are leaving the museum we return to the Sistine Chapel ...

A wonderful museum ... !

And we had only 4 minutes to wait ... to buy our tickets!




We like the atmosphere of Rome: so before going back to Ostia, we make a detour through those small and so pleasant streets, again, to the Piazza Novana and the Piazza di Spagna, where the music band of the Italian Navy is giving a concert on this early Saturday evening ...



16.06.08 Our fourth one-day-visit of Rome, from Roma-Ostia Porto turistico. ( see "Kortom" , " Porto turistico di Roma").

the bus station is nearby the metro station Piramide - we take bus 118 to the Via Appia Antica.



Via Appia Antica, Rome out of the walls:we want to have visited at least one catacomb. The catacomb of S.Sebastiano is one of the nicest and the oldest and is situated on what earlier a small open Roman cemetery was. Later on the early Christians have dug this catacomb.

We arrive at lunchtime so it's just in time for a stop at the very nice restaurant 100 m nearby, L'Archeologia.

The visit, only allowed with a guide - our is English speaking -, shows us a maze of underground corridors, places and passages.




After this very interesting and amazing visit ( taking pictures was not allowed ) , it's time for a "Roman shopping" in the Via del Corso and the vicinity. This also is a part of our ( still short! ) exploration of Rome.


In the Photo-album: From Menton to Rapallo, From Rapallo to Elba and From Elba to Rome

Click here to continue the voyage: 3.2. Italy, the mainland and the islands: 2. From Rome to Santa Maria di Leuca and the crossing to Greece (2008)

Back to the previous page: 2.2 Our wintering in Menton (2007-2008) Ep3.2

Back to the general overview, click here.


Updated 14-nov-19
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