We had to check out of our apartment by 12, and unfortunately we couldn’t leave our bags there. We were catching a night train to Venice and it wasn’t departing Rome until 10.30pm. Termini station has a bag deposit area in the underground bit and you’re looking at €6 for the first 5 hours, then €0,90 per hour. We left our suitcases for 9 hours, and it cost about €9,50 each. If you leave more than one bag, you pay the same fee per bag. My friend left her suitcase and backpack and had to pay €21.
We finally went to visit Altare della Patria – the large white building next to Trajan’s Column. Inside is a museum (€5) and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. You can also take the lift to the very top for €7 where there are incredible views
of all of Rome. It is a really nice photo spot if you want to see the Colosseum, Roman Forum and St Peter’s Basilica all at once.
Since we still had a long time until we had to catch our train, we decided to visit the catacombs of St Callixtus. We went to the tourist info centre next to the Colosseum metro and we were told to catch either the metro to San Giovanni and take the 218 bus, or get the 85 or 87 bus then the 218. We stood at the bus stop on the other side of the Colosseum for over half an hour and no bus came, so we took the metro to San Giovanni and waited at the bus stop for the 218 bus for another half an hour, which did turn up. By the time we got to the catacombs, it was 6pm and they close at 5, so it was a failed mission.
There are many catacombs in that area and they all have the hours 9-12 and 2-5, so if you want to see them all, you’ll probably need to allow a whole day. We discovered that you can catch the 118 bus, which stops by the Colosseum, across the street from the metro, and goes all the way to the catacombs and back, which would’ve saved tons of time. Something to do next time I’m in Rome.
We had dinner near the Colosseum, at a place recommended by one of my friends, which was decently priced. Then we just went back to Termini and retrieved our suitcases and waited for the train.
We bought tickets for a sleeper couchette or “super economy” for €39 each. The small cabin sleeps 4, on two sets of bunks. If you have less than 4 people, you may end up sharing with random people. We were glad we had 4!
Basically, you wait until the train arrives and just get on and find your room. Someone comes to check your tickets and photo ID after the train has been moving for 30 min. I took sleeping pills and sealegs since I get motion sickness easily and slept pretty well.
We got woken up 15 minutes before arriving in Venice, which wasn’t really enough time for all of us to get dressed and use the toilet. It was 5.20am when we arrived and there and no toilets open in or around the train station, so be prepared.
Next posts will be about Venice. (Spoiler alert: it’s amazing!)