Family, Travel Journal

Travel Journal: Italy – Self-Guided Walk Day 6

In September, I traveled to Italy for two weeks with some of my family, which included an 85-mile, 6 day self-guided walking tour through the Italian countryside. We also spent time in Rome, Venice, Florence, Pompeii and Naples. 

Catch up on my other posts about this trip here:

Walking Rieti to Rome – Summary
Doors of Italy
Exploring Rieti
Self-Guided Walk Day 1
Self-Guided Walk Day 2
Self-Guided Walk Day 3
Castello Orsini Hotel
Self-Guided Walk Days 4 and 5
Self-Guided Walk Day 6
The Colosseum and Exploring Rome
St. Peter’s Basilica and the Vatican Museum
Pompeii and Naples
Venice
Florence

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The sixth and final day of our self-guided walk started in the Monte Sacro district in Rome and took us to the Vatican. It covered about 10 miles and even though we were walking through the city, our path still took us on the scenic route, along a bike path, around the second largest park in Rome and down along the river.

I realized pretty quickly that it was a good thing I had taken the day before off, because after the first 2 miles or so I was back to hobbling along. But there was so much to see on this day and it was interesting to see the city transition from just pretty normal, modern city surroundings, to the more historical “old” (and touristy) parts.

This is the Mosque of Rome, and is the largest mosque outside the Islamic world, Russia and India, making it the Western world’s biggest mosque. After some opposition, Pope John Paul II gave his blessing to the building project. It’s minaret approximately 1 meter shorter than the dome of St. Peter’s.

Just about the time that we all admitted that we needed a longer break we found this weekend market where we tried some fun, different drinks and enjoyed looking around. There were also some meat and fish stands.

This is the Milvian Bridge (Ponte Milvio), which has quite a bit of historical significance, including the Battle of the Milvian Bridge in AD 312 led by Constantine. That victory led Constantine to total control over Rome and the Western Roman Empire, and the issuing of the Edict of Milan, which officially recognized Christianity in the Roman Empire.

In 2000, the bridge began attracting couples who were inspired by Federico Moccia’s book and movie “I Want You,” and attached padlocks to the lamp posts of the bridge as a token of their love and threw the key behind them into the Tiber River. In 2007, one of the lamp posts collapsed under the weight of the the padlocks, so in 2012 they were all removed and the practice was banned. But it had already spread as a common ritual elsewhere in the world and we still saw a few padlocks here and there.

After the Milvian Bridge, we turned and walked down along the river for the remainder of the way. The guidebook told us that we would pass under six bridges and the seventh bridge would be the Ponte Sant’Angelo with five arches each topped with a statue of an angel. I was so excited to finally see this bridge!

We walked up the stairs onto the bridge and quickly saw our end mark, St. Peter’s Basilica just down the street to the left.

This was our “finish line” photo! It was quite the adventure walking some 85 miles through the Italian countryside and truly a one-of-a-kind experience (even without the sprained ankle). If you are interested in really seeing a country at its heart, aside from the tourist attractions, I highly recommend considering doing a guided walk of some sort. It was beautiful and humbling in so many ways and I am so thankful that I got to share this experience with my dear family. Though I don’t know who else really would have put up with my crankiness 🙂

This was the end of our walk, but we still had another week of our vacation in which we explored more of Rome and visited Pompeii, Naples, Venice and Florence. So I still have a couple more blog posts coming at you soon!

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And just for fun here are some of my other past Travel Journal posts:

Nashville, Tennessee – Girls Weekend
London, England
Estes Park, Colorado
Thailand and the Philippines
Tumon Bay, Guam
New York City – Girls Weekend
Lake Tahoe, Nevada
Antigua, Guatemala

15 thoughts on “Travel Journal: Italy – Self-Guided Walk Day 6”

  1. Hi Amanda. Thank you so much for writing your travel journal on the Rieti to Rome trip. I enjoyed it very much and it was very informative. Actually, before I found your blog, I was about to book the exact same trip with Hidden Italy for October 2019. Just haven’t quite pressed the button yet. So, I am thinking that you would say go for it??? I would love to ask you questions about what you carried, what was best on your feet, etc.

    Many thanks again.
    Kathie

    1. Hi Kathie, thanks for your comment! I would 100% recommend it, truly a one of a kind experience! I won’t lie though, we all thought it was more difficult than what the company describes. I would say we were all in average shape, but it definitely tested us. My number one suggestion is to make sure you take the time to review the guide book thoroughly before the trip and then again before each day’s walk. Probably 80% of it very clear, but there were a few spots that were really tricky for us or that we thought were a bit misleading. Definitely work together and be patient 🙂 As for our feet we all wore athletic/running shoes and my grandma did wear walking sandals a few of the days. Some in our group would recommend that you bring two pairs and switch back and forth so that your sore spots aren’t being rubbed in the same places everyday. I only took one pair and that worked for me. I will say that you will no doubt get blisters and be swollen so bring a lot of bandaids, moleskin, tape, ointment and whatever else you prefer. As for what we carried… from my pictures you can see that we all carried a backpack of some sort that varied in size and shape. I’d say daily you need plenty of water (some days had spots to fill up and some didn’t), snacks for energy, basic medical stuff like listed above, bug spray, sunscreen, a compass, extra socks and maybe a pocket knife. I carried my DSLR camera and a mini video camera and honestly don’t think it was too much of an extra burden since we took turns carrying it. We also bought a portable WiFi hotspot at the airport that was usable for a certain length of time which we thought was helpful at times, but we regret not getting a temporary phone. This response is a bit long, but I would be happy to answer any more questions that you have. You can email me at ajae.spoo(at)gmail.com.

      Good Luck!
      Amanda

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