Spurred by the realization that my time here is nearing the end I spent the long weekend (whenever I wasn't on the duty phone that is) in two very cool Roman sights.
Sunday I biked the Appian Way, of Spartacus fame. It takes a bit of effort to get all the way out there but I was inspired by some of my visitors last year who flew in for meetings and decided to check this out after being denied early check in. Hey, if someone just off an international flight, with no Italian and a whole day of meetings coming up can swing it, I have no excuse! So I figured out the bus/metro situation and found a little shop that rents bikes by the hour (4 euros per hour) and hit the road. As with most 2300+ year old roads it was somewhat bumpy. Luckily I wasn't the first to discover this and there are now dirt paths alongside for biciclists.
I absolutely loved the chance to get out in nature and do something more active than strolling around for a change. I even had a picnic while breaking the news to some lovely callers that we couldn't make them replacement passports til Tuesday. Bet that's the first duty call handled from the Via Appia! The road was car free and pleasantly full of Italians walking their dogs, biking with their kids or just going for a stroll. It was hot so I might suggest a trip earlier in the spring or once it cools down in the fall.
On Monday I hit the town again to check the Castel St. Angelo off my list. Someone had told me it was more of a museum, but I'd say it was much more like touring a castle, there's very little on display which was ok by me. I somehow lucked into the perfect day - arriving when there was NO line outside (have literally never seen this place with no line). It was hot outside but the cool tunnels and breezy upper rooms made the day seem just perfect. I can't believe I waited this long to see it. (And the views were, of course, amazing, with its location along the Tevere (Tiber) and steps from Vatican City.
As you can see, the tour takes you inside the walls, up on the ramparts, through the tunnels, into several levels of courtyard and papal apartments, and finally through the terraces to the roof. Naturally, there's an adorable cafe at the top (with stunning views if you get one of the tables set into the wall). I might have to bring my next set of guests (whoever they are) up here.
I would highly recommend a visit to both of these sights, especially if you have kids and need a break from art museums.