Arrival in the Eternal City

Pink flowers and the Colosseum

By mid-winter, the imperative is clear: get somewhere sunny. The UK skies are too much for me, I feel like my brain is broken: fat, useless, old.

Solution: go to Italy. This year it was Sicily. The first year it was Sardinia. Last year it was Naples.

Why Naples? It certainly wasn’t because of the Amalfi Coast, or Pompeii, or even Vesuvius. Once upon a time I watched a documentary and they described Naples as the city where you go to hire an assassin. It’s where they tried (and succeeded?) to kill Caravaggio. It’s where the stiletto knife was invented. That’s enough drama and gore to convince me!

I then discovered that it was waayy cheaper to fly into Rome and get the train down to Naples than fly direct. The flight to Rome was £74 and the train to Naples was €9 each way. I’d been to Rome as a child so I figured it could be fun.

I went for only six days in total (I had things to do back home): 2 in Rome and 4 in Naples. I spent a grand total of €310 (excluding flights and hostel deposit). I got a tan. I did not get a heat rash. This is a major success.

Day One: a holiday whirlwind.

I flew with Ryanair (praise be to Ryanair) on an early flight that got into Rome around midday. It costs €3.90 to get the bus into town from Fuimicino airport: it’s cheaper to get the return but I didn’t want to commit to a certain time. Turns out I forgot we were in Italy and it is basically an open return, but the difference is only a few euros.

I stayed in a hostel near the station. It was nice and clean, although they charged me tax despite my Italian YHA membership which got my gander. It was also quite expensive, €25 a night, but that’s Rome for you! At first the atmosphere was not good, but that all improved later on…


I’d pre-booked a tour of the Colosseum, which cost €18.50 from here. You have to buy an entry ticket (€7.50 + €2 booking fee) plus the tour ticket (€5). It felt a little pricy to me but the €7.50 entry also gets you into the Palatine Hill and the Forum, which is quite good really. (Thank you to Alexandra for helping me get this right!)

I don’t need a tour: I’m a bit of a history buff and know quite a lot about it already. However, the big change from when I went as a kid was that they have restored and opened the basement and top level… and you can’t go without a tour. The tour was in the early evening, so I got there nice and early (with some church-themed sightseeing along the way) and did some tourist watching.


I almost missed the tour, in the end: turns out they meet down by the ticket hall, around to the left. Nonetheless it was great, a bit slow, but I got to see everything I wanted. I regularly recommend it to my friends, because the views from the top are just so great. I think the guide expected to get a tip but nobody else did so I slunk quietly away…


After the tour, I considered going straight on into the forum (it was all included in my €11 ticket) but since it was valid for 48-hours I decided to go the next day. Instead, I wandered back to the hostel.


What happened next is a little fuzzy. I made friends with a South African in my room, and we hit up the common room together. There was free Sangria and crisps but she wasn’t keen so I had to shake her off… Returning to the free booze (free booze!) I made friends with some other people. Once they took the booze away we went to the hostel’s other location, where they were having some sort of party. There were tokens, there were mojitos, there was a raffle, and our little group won two bottles of wine. By this point it was 3am so we smashed the wine and tripped back to our hostel. I then lost them and passed out in my bunk.


The only problem was, I had booked a tour of the Vatican museum for 9am the next day…

Until next time x


10 thoughts on “Arrival in the Eternal City

  1. So the 11 euro tour allows you to see the underground section of the Colosseum as well as the top tier? Interesting…I’ve done a similar tour with the company I work for (which charges a lot more), but I had no idea you could see the same things for such a good price. Seeing the underground tunnels and visiting the top level made me appreciate the Colosseum so much more. If you visit without a guide and you only see the main section, I don’t think you get that much out of it. In comparison, anyway.

    Also, I read your post on Budapest, and I really hope you get to give it another go one day. I loved Budapest, and the baths were my favourite thing. They’re one of the things that makes the city feel really unique, so it’s a shame you missed out.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi, thank you for calling me on this. I’d just copied what my ticket said but I did a quick online investigation and it’s so much more complicated… I paid € 7.50 for entry as an EU person under 25, plus a €2 online booking fee, then € 9.00 for the tour, coming to a grand total of…. €18.50? Update coming soon.

      I especially enjoyed seeing the underground tunnels, since I like how they explained where all the different rooms, corridors and lifts are. In the amphitheatre in Pozzouli, near Naples, the underground section is much more complete and you can walk around almost all of it: you should check it out!

      Yeah, I have a lot of regrets when it comes to Budapest. I’d love to go back when I’m fresh, so to speak, not at the end of a trip. Which baths did you go to?

      Thanks for stopping by 🙂 x


  2. > It’s where they tried (and succeeded?) to kill Caravaggio.

    Amore, who is a big fan of Caravaggio, says that he was killed in Porto Ercole, which is a bit up, in the south of Tuscany, just where I am. Amore also says that the Colosseum is just a bunch of stones, so I haven’t been yet. 😀 Loving your priorities and reasoning.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ah, see I once heard a rumour that he never made it out of Naples, and the knights of St. John intentionally spread false rumours and confusion so nobody could pin it on them! But I also just wiki-ed it and science says he almost definitely died in Porto Ercole… can people visit his grave?

      The Colosseum *is* just a bunch of stones, but they are old stones and organised in a pretty way! You should go… if only on your way to Naples 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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