Sunday, May 3, 2015

Italy: Last Day in Rome

I'm going to have to blog about today another time as I've got to get to sleep for an early taxi to the airport.


  • Roma vs Genoa Football (Soccer)
  • Pantheon
  • Bus ticket use (lots of it) and shuttle bus (cheap, easy rides)
  • Laundry in the sink
The update below -- 

First off, let me say that the hotel we settled at in Rome was comfortable and had beautiful views and all that, but the continental breakfast was lousy and the coffee was worse, which is a disappointment in Italy. But it's easy to rectify that elsewhere.

We woke, showered, had bad breakfast and caught the 9am shuttle to the Vatican, where we took a bus to Stadium Olympico. Yeah, that's the Olympic Stadium IN ROME. Somethings just feel special when you get there. 

The activity for the day: AS Roma vs Genoa football (soccer). I'd heard what a soccer match is typically like in Rome and this LIVED UP to my expectations. I'll start off by saying there were no fights, but this is only because fans of the opposing team were cordoned off in their own small section. They were in a triangular section in the corner, on the second level, behind plexiglass, behind what looked like crime scene tape with guards surrounding the section for the whole game. 

When I bought the tickets online it said this: 

 Code of Behavior: Unless specified otherwise, your tickets are for the HOME section. Therefore, do not wear the Away Team colors for the match, neither you should cheer/jump up/show any signs of over-joy if the Away Team scores. Such behavior will expose you as a fan of the Away Team. It is considered as "teasing the audience". Such behavior can expose you to expulsion from the venue by the ushers

No Joke, Folks!

For the entire game, the Genoa fans cheered and clapped and chanted obscenities at the Roma fans. The Roma fans would respond, in kind, with chants and gestures and angry middle fingers. If the two sets of fans were able to reach each other, I am convinced that there would be murders. No Joke. But we were safe and enjoying the banter.

Before the match began, the crowd would sing a song about Rome (obviously in Italian). They would sing the whole song with no lyrics on a screen and then break for a few minutes, only to sing another passionate song about Rome. It was a fantastic thing to behold. But the best part came just before the start. The whole stadium sang the team song. Everyone stood up, held up their team scarves, flags or shirts with reverent pride and sang LOUDLY. I have never heard a national anthem sung with such feeling, let alone a team song. I was so moved, I had to compose myself. Seriously. It was emotional. 

The game itself was good. Some players had amazing moves. Rome scored their first goal in the net right in front of us and the crowd went NUTS. Young men and women screaming and hugging. Just brilliant.

And then back to the game. The constant clapping and chanting from the Genoa corner. "Va Fangool!" Finger! I was giddy at the streaming obscenities. 

Kate and I left a little early to catch the bus and on the way down the street, we heard Rome score their second goal. You'd have heard the cheering from a mile away. 

Quick side note about Italian public restroom. They are the worst. And the worsts of them all is in the Stadio Olympico. Seriously. Avoid it if possible. If not possible, burn your clothes and boil your skin afterwards.

Genoa fans try to break out of their designated area

Yellow Card for Genoa
Roma scores right in front of us and the crowd goes wild!
Blurry Goal celebration
Football fans taking a seat together on the fence around the soccer field
Stadio Olimpico - built in 1928

We took the bus back towards the Vatican and had gelato (surprise). Cherry and Chocolate today. Delicious. I used their bathroom, which was still terrible but survivable. 

To make the most of our transportation ticket (bus, tram, train for 3 days - 16.50 Euro...SO WORTH IT!) we took a bus towards The Pantheon and then had more gelato.

Raphael's coffin

And to wrap up the day (after a horrible pasta dinner at a tourist trap on the outskirts of the Vatican), we walked back to St Peter's Square (which is really a circle) and recapped our trip. It's only been 8 days or something, but we had a hard time remembering which day we did which amazing thing. Milan, Venice, Cinque Terre, Florence and Rome - The Duomo, Gondolas, the Mediterranean Sea, trains trains trains, The David, Pasta Pasta Pasta, The Coliseum, Football, The Pantheon, Gelato Gelato Gelato. Then to the shuttle and back to the hotel where we packed and prepped for our flights out of town.