Arriving in Rome, I met up with my friends in our hotel on via Nazionale, just round the corner from the train station on saturday afternoon. I mention this only because they had been "charged" 40000L (=£15) for the 300m cab ride! They had then paid 13000L each for a coke and ice cream in the cafe opposite!!! An ominous sign of things to come.---
Certainly Rome has enough sites to keep you occupied for several days if not weeks. We had four days and so went about this in the only way we knew how and headed for the nearest pub, stopping off on the way to eat one of those gigantic ice creams you can find on Via Tor Millina just off Piazza Navona. We then went in search of a club and were on the point of giving up when we came across a door with a bouncer outside and "Esquire" written over it. After a long discussion on the merits of going into this establishment we paid the 8000L life membership (you had to become a member before being allowed to enter!) and entered what was basically somebodies basement converted into a three room nightclub, with a portable stereo type thing as the sound system. Different! But they served beer and we were happy.
The next few days we did the tourist thing, checking out the Colloseum, Foro Romana, Palatina, the spectacular Fontana di Trevi and the Pantheon (amongst others). Of course we also saw "Il Vatican" and the St Pietro dome, before rushing round the Vatican Museum in order to set our eyes on the magnificent Cistine Chapel with Michelangelo's wonderful "Creation" frescos and "Last Judgement".
Next we headed for Naples, quite a grimy run-down city. The only real reason for coming here must be Mt. Vesuvius and the destroyed city of Pompeii. Whilst we didn't ascend the former, we were suitably impressed by the latter. The only other things need mentioning about Naples is they make the world's best pizza (better than Rome).
After Naples we headed onto the Amalfi Coast and the somewhat touristy town of Sorrento in search of a bit of beach. Well there was plenty of sun and sea, but no sand... we had to make do with deckchairs on the raised piers. Well worth a visit from here is the Isle of Capri. Just a word of warning, the funicular is not a tourist attraction. It is there for a reason, as we found out the hard way, deciding to save ourselves 1700L and walk to the top of the hilly island. But there are nice walks all over this splendid island.
After Naples we headed up north to Florence, a truly wonderful city. It's almost like every building in this city has a history and was designed by some great artist or other. The Duomo is a must, certainly the most beautiful church (from the outside) I have ever seen. Also, views from the Campanile next to it are great and the Battistero in front of it is also stunning, with its beautiful relief covered gold doors. Ponte Vecchio is also outstanding - even Hitler thought so, it is the only bridge into the city which the germans didn't destroy during their retreat in 1944. Finally, the views of the city, afforded from Piazza Michelangelo (over the river in the south east of the town) are magnificent.
Our final destination was Pisa, to the west of Florence. Of course, there is only one reason for going to Pisa and that is the leaning tower. Actually the whole square containing the tower is beautiful, with the Duomo, Battistero and cemetry. We stayed slightly out of town, in Hotel California and spent much of our time relaxing by the pool. This was partly due to our inability to understand the bus system into town. The only bus into town ran a circular route - but only in one direction. Needless to say we stood on the wrong side of the road for over an hour waiting for the "return bus"!
After Pisa we headed back to Rome for a couple of nights, staying in the somewhat upmarket "Hotel Columbus" on the road leading to the Basilica San Pietro, before returning home to England.