All roads lead to Rome


Wherever I go, my roads lead to the ice cream shop. When I unpacked and left my hotel room on St. Patrick’s Day in 2010, I walked to the Colosseum, keeping my eye on the shop windows – and there it was! Via Leonina 18, Cafe Ciuri Ciuri, my personal discovery, Sicilian gelateria-pasticceria, paradise of sugar- and calories-packed deliciousness and the best Sicilian style gelato in Rome. In the photograph, I immortalized my first one, the pistachio-ricotta gelato, creamy, with the unique taste of roasted pistachios. I won’t write about the pastries. It is sufficient to tell that I ate them twice a day. They are that good. Never forgotten.

( Edit: Forgot to mention another Ciuri Ciuri close to Colosseum: Via Labicana 126. The same great food)

I saw the Colosseum from the airplane window and couldn’t wait to visit the ancient monument. I knew about the free admission to the gladiator games in ancient Rome, and was surprised to learn that the times have changed. So I got a combined ticked for several attractions, and my historical holidays began.

I posted some street scenes from my Rome trip in my blog post People in the streets, and probably in some other blogs too.

Shadowless afternoon, amazing quality of light. I don’t know what these ruins are. The place is situated above the Forum. I was trying to find more images like mine, but there was only one, taken in May 2010. Perhaps, the place is closed for excavations?


The broken side of the Colosseum. Over the centuries, it was shaken and damaged by many earthquakes ( the most devastating ones in 847 and 1231), and also struck by lightening and damaged by fires. All the valuable materials were taken away and re-used.


Glimpse of Roman centurions’ life.


There is what it looks like inside the amphitheatre. Construction of the Colosseum began in 72 AD, and was completed in 80 AD.  This place has seen the most horrible scenes of bloodshed and slaughter. The advent of Christianity changed Roman culture, morals, principles and values. The last gladiator game took place in 404 AD when an Egyptian monk Telemachus came to Rome, visited Colosseum, and shouted for the gladiator game to cease in the name of Christ. He was stoned to death, but after a few days the Emperor issued a decree that the games were to stop.  Centuries later, when the Colosseum was in danger of demolition, Christians  saved it as a site of martyrdom .


Evening light, at about 6pm. I took pictures of Colosseum every day on my way from hotel and back.


River Tiber. I enjoyed the light in Rome, so different from where I live.


St Peter’s Basilica. In my blog Make it light I posted a picture of the interior.


This is a picture I got from Google Earth, just to show the Basilica and the grounds.


This is the dome I climbed 🙂 I intentionally left all these picture icons. The rule is that people who upload their images for Google Earth, have to map them properly – in exact place where the picture was taken from. I doubt that any picture was taken from the top of the tree …

I used a lift ( 170 steps?) and climbed the remaining 320. With my walking stick. With my claustrophobia.


The lift took me to the roof ( the level behind the statues of the saints, the base of the dome). The roof looks like a small town with buildings and bridges. I walked around, even looked down inside the basilica below my feet, and up to the ceiling.


The climb is scary, definitely not for the faint of heart ( I overestimated myself, but there is no turning back, by the way). The staircase is getting very narrow as you climb. It is slanted, and curves up between the outer and inner walls of the dome (1m? less?).


As you can see, the windows are scarce, but there are windowsills. The temperature wasn’t too bad in March, but I would NEVER go there in summer. When there is no one around you, it is OK, but seeing people who actually take all the space of the staircase makes you panic. And I did panic, but at the last moment I saw the window, and I climbed some more steps and fell on the windowsill, almost in coma 🙂 When the others cleared off, I quickly finished the climb.

And this was my reward 🙂


I think this is the residence of the Pope.


On my way back I took a picture of these fine guards, and ate a gelato to restore my shaken health.


Here are some more pictures.


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I still miss Rome.

inesemjphotography Have a wonderful Sunday!


  1. I, too, would be able to climb those stairs if I told myself that my reward would be gelato. 😀 A both delicious and breathtaking voyage you captured! 🍨 🏟

  2. Fantastic post.My wife and l couple years ago were in Rome.We took the 280+ steps to the top of the Vatican and saw the great city of Rome.I enjoyed the post.Regards.

    1. Yes, Cynthia, when you are on your own, you can focus on getting out of there without distractions. People take your focus away. Also, people take a lot of space and air. It is what makes me panic 😦

  3. Your images and story bring back good memories when we were traveling there. I still have to return, twice in Rome but still unable to see Trevi Fountain 🙂

    The view of Vatican from the top is truly stunning, you did make an effort to get there! Wow!!

    1. Thank you so much, Indah! I am afraid I wasn’t impressed with Trevi Fountain – because it was swarmed with tourists. I would love to sit back, enjoy the Baroque beauty, toss my coins and listen to the gurgling water. Instead, I found myself jammed in the thick crowd, and walked away with my coins still in my pocket 😦 It was the only place on my list I remember from the poor snaps I took while holding my camera high above my head. My tip – go there as early in the morning as you can 🙂

  4. Wow, many very beautiful shots, especially your reward shot! It’s a stunner. The dome, the Vatican Guards, & the light on the Tiber River are all indicative of the marvelous time you had. TY for sharing these! Okay, I have to run, now. I believe I have some limon gelato in the freezer.

  5. Italy must be calling me! I had e-mail today from a friend who lives in Tuscany and now your glorious post. Rome is on my list but I don’t know if I will ever get there. Your photos are outstanding! You are a brave soul for climbing those last stairs. I am claustrophobic also and would have panicked. I enjoyed this post every much.

    1. Thank you so much! Tuscany is a beautiful land, lots of space, air and light.
      I am claustrophobic, but can control the panic if there is enough air to breathe. That time I was close to my limits. I wouldn’t advise anyone to go there in summer, especially in the crowd.
      Hope you will visit Italy soon.

    1. Thank you so much! It had nothing to do with being brave, it had to do with being silly and reckless 🙂 I didn’t write about the observation deck because I don’t want to remember that nightmare 🙂

  6. The prospect of seeing the Colosseum from the plane’s windows had me gripped from the outset! Despite many visits to Italy I’ve never yet been to Rome. What’s keeping me? 🙂

    1. Not on every flight! I came with Ryanair, and returned with Aer Lingus. The second one didn’t fly over the city.
      I was there six years ago, and many things could have changed since, but the historic Rome is still there. Just go 🙂

        1. I have never been anywhere except Lazio. I would love to drive around the country.
          Ryanair airport is situated far away from Rome, but still, it was more convenient for me time-wise. On the way back I wasted much less time flying from Rome International. All depends. Research saves time and money 🙂

          1. I’ve been to most of the Italian lakes, Venice and the lagoon, and the Amalfi coast. Loved them all for different reasons. Because we have a home in Portugal and I have Polish family most of my traveling is tied into those. I still hanker though. 🙂

    1. Thank you! I had no fear when I started the climb. I was pretty much like Mr. Bean, oblivious. Only after I got stuck between the other climbers, the fear took a grip on me. Unfortunately there is no turning back, and my only option was to steady my breath and keep climbing 🙂

      1. Sometimes it’s better not to have an option in cases like that!! I remember making it to the top of a church tower in Munich, on rickety wooden stairs – going up was OK, but I had to come down the same way. By the end of it my legs were literally jelly!! 🙂 And they ached for days afterwards…

        1. Haha, it is something I can relate 🙂 One cannot live in the attic of the church forever and has to make it down, somehow 🙂 I have been in such situations many times because of my Mr. Bean attitude 🙂 Thank you for sharing, it is nice to know that someone has been in my shoes too 🙂

  7. Ah, the Eternal City. Been twice and love it. Your pictures are amazing. I see we liked the same things too!!!! Thank you for posting. Brings back many happy memories x

    1. Thank you ! 🙂 I love the terracotta colour of the City. Sometimes I would take a bus, and sit and look in the window, and see the ancient history everywhere. And those pine tree silhouettes! Ah, memories 🙂 xx

      1. I loved the Colosseum. I didn’t think I would but what a place. And yes history is everywhere. I liked that you could stroll about and everything was so accessible, except for the catacombs. I’d go back again.

      2. My internet has been sheer torture all week. I saw your comment. Lol, maybe one day we will meet in Rome! We always stay at the Risorgimento plaza. There’s a great wee trattoria in aside street . And then there;s the ten min walk to Yeats’ bar!

        1. If you ask me where I stayed, I have no idea! When I plan to go again, I find my hotel on the map – not by its name… I am very bad with human names too…
          I don’t see myself going to Rome in the nearest future 😦 All my travels took place before my granddaughters were born. Now my only route is to my daughter’s – it is all I can afford. Priorities, you know. My daughter has been to Europe twice, but it is a terror for her to fly, and I don’t see it happen again soon. Sigh.

  8. Well done, Inese, for taking all those steps. It was definitely worth it with a view like that. When I was there with my sisters we didn’t venture as high up as you because our mother was with us and it would have been too much for her. Rome is a fabulous city and is well worth a visit.

    1. Thank you Jean! I was very proud to be able to suppress my panic and finish the climb. My legs were shaking though 🙂 Glad you enjoyed your Rome trip!

  9. Stunning pictures Inese.If you have a Lidl store nearby, Julia used to say they did a vanilla gelato that was second to none.
    Have a Great Week.
    xxx Hugs Galore xxx

    1. Thank you so much, David! I will check out but this might be a seasonal stuff, like that fantastic mango and raspberry sorbet they had last summer in Aldi. Many hugs!xxxxxx

  10. You’re so right, Inese 🙂 All roads lead to Rome. Those roads led me to Rome 3 years ago. A fabulous city. A huge museum right under the free sky 🙂

    1. Thank you so much for your comment! Yes, indeed, a free museum. I stayed there four days and four nights, traveled by public transport around the city, and never had time to visit an actual museum. Hope for another visit in the future 🙂 I am learning Italian, but it doesn’t go well …

  11. Mmmm, you’ve made Rome breathtaking in your photos ~ almost better than being there as there are no crowds as I work my way through your post 🙂 And if there is one piece of history that brings out a great emotion of past history, it is the Colosseum. Beautiful shots.

    My sister is taking off for Italy in April, and I am having her read “The Agony & Ecstacy” which brings out the history of Italy, and this post of yours also does this so well. Just need a nice gelato and I am set. Cheers to you!

    1. Thank you so much for reading, Randall! Your sister is wise to go in April 🙂 Tell her to learn a few words in Italian – it can help break the ice in the restaurants 😉 Also, when she takes photographs – since she has to lift up her arms for that – to make sure her purse is zipped up and safe. Thousands of pickpockets travel to Rome for the ‘harvest’ season.
      I wasn’t in the best form when I went to Rome. I walked with a stick, was back to my hotel before 6-6.30, and don’t know what the night life looks like in Rome. You guys have to do a lot of research and plan thoroughly to make the best of this trip. Best of luck! 🙂

      1. Thank you for the advice Inese ~ very helpful (and fully agree, a few words of a foreign language goes such a long ways). She will have a blast I am sure. Wish you a great week ahead ~

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