Rome — Andrà tutto bene

Rome — Andrà tutto bene translates to Rome — all will be well. These are the words on signs throughout Rome during the pandemic at the time of our visit. These words reflect the positive attitude of the Italian people in Rome.

Hotel Indigo – St. George

Hotel Indigo and views from rooftop terrace bar

Rome was the last stop on this magnificent 41-day Retirement Extravaganza. We arrived by train and took a taxi from Salerno to the Hotel Indigo – St. George in the historic Regola district.

The hotel had, years ago, been a courthouse designed by Donato Bramante. Hotel Indigo was another terrific lodging experience, again paid for with hotel points. Our room was stunning, with a large window opening onto the street.

We could see the Vatican from the hotel’s excellent rooftop bar and restaurant.

Rolling Rome Golf Cart Tour

Shortly after arriving at the hotel, we went on a private guided evening tour of Rome’s historic district by golf cart! Armando was our outstanding guide. He knew the streets upside down and backward and drove us up very close to many historical sights.

I cannot recommend Rolling Rome golf cart tours enough and urge you to make this tour your first tour in Rome.

By the end of Rolling Rome’s golf cart tour, we understood Rome’s historical center and knew how to get around on foot. I recently reached out to Jane at Rolling Rome’s office regarding the conditions in Rome today during this pandemic. This is Jane’s excellent summation of the situation.

Stumbling Stones

Our golf cart tour took us to a cobblestone street in the old Jewish Quarter and the most surprising and sobering sight of the entire evening. The Stumbling Stones, engraved and polished brass-plated cobblestones, number over 200 throughout Europe.

They mark where holocaust victims either lived or worked when they were removed from their homes to extermination camps. Names and details are engraved on the stones. These stones are part of a memorial started in the 1990s by Gunter Demnig, a German artist.


Rome -- Andrà tutto bene

Stumbling Stones (Stolpersteine)

Garden of Ninfa

The only bothersome hiccup in this trip is that the vendor canceled our first full-day tour in Rome to the Garden of Ninfa and Sermoneta!

I had been looking forward to this for so long and was very disappointed. I watched a fascinating documentary about these gardens and was fascinated. The cancellation provided us the entire first day in Rome without a plan.

No Plan Free Day

One of the marvelous things about Hotel Indigo is that they provide a cell phone and charger for guests to use in each room. Most amazing and very appreciated.

I did have walking tours and maps on my cell phone, and we used my phone and the hotel phone back and forth. Although we frequently got lost, we always found our way eventually and usually made an incredible discovery in the bargain.

Rome -- Andrà tutto bene

We began our day walking toward Piazza Navona, a mere ten minutes away if you do not go in the wrong direction. Our day was so full of hilariously wrong directions!


The Pantheon was less than five minutes from Piazza Navona, and after waiting in line for half an hour or so, we were allowed to enter and view this fantastic structure. Entry is free and is in staggered groups, so the crowd remains manageable.

The Pantheon is a circular building with an opening at the top of the dome. This oculus allows rain to fall through, draining through holes in the slanted floor. Pantheon’s history, beginning in 27 B.C. as a pagan temple, is a long and incredible story.

If you’re interested in knowing more about its history, a quick Google search will provide you with tons of information.

We meandered over to the Spanish Steps and, finally, Trevi Fountain. Each of these locations was teeming with tourists, people everywhere!

In August 2019, a new rule banned people from sitting on these steps and imposed a hefty fine if found in violation. The purpose of this rule was to prevent damage and litter, which had become a significant expense to Rome. 

We quickly found the Trevi Fountain because that is where the massive crowd was. Everyone was courteous, with no pushing, shoving, or cutting in front.

We were allowed to slowly make our way to the front of the fountain, take a brief video of our coin toss into the fountain and then move on to make room for the following people. Amazingly orderly.

We had seen each of these sights the night before during our golf cart tour, but this time it was daylight, and we spent more time leisurely wandering about.


Months ago, we reserved a private three-hour tour of the Colosseum, the Forum, and Palantine Hill with Guidaly Tours.

We chose to take a private tour over a group tour because we were concerned about being able to keep up with a large group while covering so much territory and wanted the luxury of leisure.

A private tour is more expensive than a group tour, but we were delighted with this choice. It turned out to be a rainy day, but we managed just fine with our 5-euro umbrellas purchased at the entrance to the Colosseum.

We met our spectacular tour guide, Antonella, at the Colosseum. Antonella Palma was such a joyful person, and knew everything about Rome and had many stories to tell us.


We left the Colosseum and began our walk through the Forum and toward Palantine Hill. Architectural monuments in the form of arches were erected throughout the Roman Empire to commemorate military triumphs or momentous events.

Only three of these arches are in existence today. They are the Arch of Titus (A.D. 81), the Arch of Septimius Severus (203), and the Arch of Constantine (312). Here’s an explanation of the Arch of Titus from our excellent guide, Antonella.

Antonella, our excellent guide from Guidaly Tours explains Augustus.

Public meetings, trials, processions, and speeches took place at the Forum, a rectangular plaza that was the center of ancient Rome. The architectural ruins of the Forum are visited by more than 4.5 million tourists each year. 

Just one of the many historical things we saw was the gravesite of Julius Ceasar’s cremated remains at the ruins of the Temple of Caesar.

Palatine Hill

Ancient Rome was made up of seven hills, and the Palatine Hill, closest to the Tiber River and, formerly one of the most prominent neighborhoods in Rome, is the most famous of those hills. There were so many features at Palantine Hill.

It was raining when we were there, so we rushed a bit, but I believe it would be good to spend at least two or even three days walking around the Colosseum, Palatine Hill, and the Forum.

It is exhausting to do in one day and difficult to appreciate everything you see. We took full advantage of the time available but would love more time to explore. 

Rome -- Andrà tutto bene

Antonella left us to wander at our leisure at the end of the three-hour tour. Eventually, we headed back toward our hotel, walking this time.

Although our hotel was less than a half-hour walk from the Forum and was on the same side of the Tiber River, it took us at least four hours and two crossings of the River to get back to the hotel.

Yes, we had a delicious lunch at an outdoor restaurant. We got a bit lost, but there was so much to see at every wrong turn. It seemed as if there was a magnificent church on every corner, and we went inside almost all we encountered.

They were chock full of incredible sculptures and art, and many, for a tiny donation, offered an audible tour that described their history and art.

The Vatican


We were privileged to have Antonella as our Vatican City guide. She showed us through the Vatican Museums, the Sistine Chapel, and St Peter’sBasilica. This four-hour private tour included the very important, do not leave home without, skip-the-line tickets.

The crowds never end here. Seeing the Vatican Museum, Sistine Chapel, and St. Peter’s Basilica in person, where you can see the immense detail and intricate artwork, is spectacular.

My head swiveled in all directions, trying to take in all of the features and colors in the frescos and tapestries – so overwhelming. After all of the pictures, videos, and books I’d seen and read through the years, I finally understood this fantastic city’s magnificence.

I did not know until we began the tour that we could take no-flash photos in the museums or St. Peter’s Basicila. No photography was allowed in the Sistine Chapel.

Also, we found it a bit comical that the officials in the Sistine Chapel kept insisting, “Silence Please,” over and over, in between their loud conversations. Quite a bucket list item this was.



Rome -- Andrà tutto bene

Gelato to die for! We stood in line for over half an hour twice to buy gelato from La Gelateria Frigidarium. Yes, it is that good and very much worth the wait. We tried other gelato shops throughout Italy, but this was our favorite.


There are thousands of cast-iron drinking water fountains throughout Rome called nasonis. The water is pure, fresh, and always safe to drink. If you do not have a water bottle to fill, place your finger over the spout, and water will spurt out of a hole in the top, and you can enjoy a refreshing cold drink of water.

Rome -- Andrà tutto bene

The food was always delicious!

This is the end of the stories about our Retirement Extravaganza that began in Galveston, Texas, with a 17-day transatlantic cruise to Barcelona, Spain, and continued through Florence, Naples, Pompeii, Salerno, and Rome, Italy.

What incredible memories we have! We enjoyed the transatlantic cruise so much that we booked another long cruise. Unfortunately, it was canceled due to the pandemic.

Rome -- Andrà tutto bene

Sign painting on the wall asking people to stay home because of the Coronavirus.

Rome -- Andrà tutto bene

5 thoughts on “Rome — Andrà tutto bene

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  4. Makes me wanna go again! You do it right – spending several days and planning well. Thanks much for the insights and tips. Let’s get the “go light” for travel back on.

    1. Thank you Vaun. Writing this story made ME want to go back to Rome also. I realized how much Steve and I missed and still want to see and do. Hopefully we’ll all be “back on the road” again soon.

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