P's next adventure - Rome, The Eternal City

by Veronica

Climbing my husband's favourite peak in May to tick off his to do list was nothing compared to his wish to visit Rome one more time.

My husband has Parkinson's and in May he said he said he wanted to climb his favourite peak whilst he still can. What an adventure!


Then he said he wanted to visit our favourite city Rome, which while it is possibly one of the most beautiful in the world, isn't exactly the safest in my opinion. Why so?
The traffic in Rome is treacherous, unpredictable and terrifying! It doesn't always stop at the lights; they will drive up on the pavements (sidewalks) they carry on driving as you cross the road and weave around you as you cross. The lights change very quickly and turn whilst people are still crossing over. Plus, it happens sometimes that motor cyclists drive along and steal your bag if it is roadside. And this …. Is where my beloved wanted to go, to the most beautiful city on earth in our opinion.

The motor cyclists and bags... I could cope with, but the thought of weaving my husband P across Roman traffic filled me with dread and would need me to be constantly alert when we flew in to Rome on Saturday just gone for a long weekend.
Obviously we are home now, so we managed it. Here's a photo post of our trip which became a wedding anniversary trip.

All photos were taken by me.

Forward Planning

As ever forward planning and organisation are key.


I stocked up on his medication; he takes about 60 tablets a week and timing is strict. This itself would be an issue because Rome is one hour ahead of UK. Once we had a good stock of tablets we planned the timings of them. We wanted extra tablets with us in case we were delayed leaving or in case of emergencies.

Health Insurance

I checked our EHIC was still in date. EHIC is a European Health Insurance card and as members of the EU ( not for long ) we are entitled to free health care in all member states. 

Plenty private health insurance is also advisable. 

Good walking shoes 

We were planning on walking round Rome so good walking shoes were essential. I didn't want to be going around the underground train system as we would miss so much of the city sights.  


I wanted to stay in the city so if we needed any support, it would be close at hand. We planned what we wanted to see before we went. 


We ordered taxis to and from the airport rather than make our own way so we could travel more easily and not be wandering around and crossing with luggage.


The Roman Colosseum
The Roman Colosseum

Day 1

When we arrived we went out to lunch. For nearly 40 years, my husband always walked by the road side to make sure I was safe. Now things have changed. I walked with him on the inside and I walked next to the road. This presented a challenge regarding the motor cycle thieves. People solve this by walking with a bag slung diagonally across their front. That, plus my “best teacher scowl “  were sufficient to scare off any cycle robbers. 

We had lunch at a little eating house by Santa Maria Maggiore, which is the largest church dedicated to Mary in Rome. Then we crossed the road. I held my hand on my husband's elbow and walked on the car side so I was next to the cars rather than him and then I steered him over the road safely. This was obviously my best routine as I used this throughout our stay. 

Legend states that one night a wealthy couple had a dream telling them  to build a church to Mary where they found snow and the next day despite it being August, it had snowed on one part of Rome. Hence the church Santa Maria Maggiore was built on Esquilino Hill in Rome where the snow fell in August.  (Rome reputedly has 7 hills.) 

Santa Maria Maggiore
Santa Maria Maggiore
the ceiling and pillars are stunning
the ceiling and pillars are stunning

We went for a walk to get our bearings and found some little churches. Most of them look nothing from the outside but inside they are stunning. This is Santa Maria and the Angels and Martyrs. I have included the ceiling which was very beautiful. 

We continued to the Victor Emmanuel monument, often referred to as The Wedding Cake and named after an Italian King. It is spectacular. 

Santa Maria and Angels and martyrs outside
Santa Maria and Angels and martyrs ou...
... and inside
... and inside

Victor Emmanuel 11 monument

National monument to King Victor Emmanuel 2nd
National monument to King Victor Emmanuel 2nd

Day 2

A good walk on Day 1 was useful so we would be loosened up for our big day … day 2. For this we planned to visit the Colosseum and the Roman Forum. The weather was so very hot that it was necessary to buy bottles of water to make sure that my husband was hydrated but also to make sure he could take his medication with water at the prescribed times. 

Buying a personal guide for a few hours seemed to be the best thing to do so my husband wasn't queueing up for hours. Though expensive, she was excellent. She walked us through the day and knew ways around. She could point out things we didn't know and was worth every penny. She was so patient with us and kind. 

The Colosseum
The Colosseum

The Colosseum started to be built during the reign of Vespasian approx. 72 AD and took approx. 8 years to build. It was covered in marble and the holes in the walls are where the pins held it together. When Rome was sacked in later centuries, the marble was stripped off for other ventures.

At one point in its history the base was covered in water and people would visit and watch reconstructions of naval battles. The water was then moved out to the land which now houses the famous Piazza Navona. 

The entertainments over the years included prisoners known as gladiators who would fight and kill wild animals, other gladiators and then Christians. When Rome adopted Christianity as its official religion in approx. 395 AD, the killing of people stopped. 

The underneath of the arena is now open to view and includes the animal and gladiator stalls.

underneath the floor of the Colosseum
underneath the floor of the Colosseum

To avoid queues, our guide took us into the Forum by Palatine Hill and she knew every place to make it easy for us. The Forum was one of many including The Julius Caesar Forum. The main forum was the most important one and was the absolute centre of everything, political, legal, economic everything. Our guide showed us how to see The Forum from up above. 

Over three hours of walking in Roman heat was enough though and I took my husband for a cup of tea and a cake for a bit of a sugar boost. 

The Forum from up above.
The Forum from up above.

Day 3

This last full day was really what my husband was keen to see: The basilica of San Clemente. We had a good walk beforehand though and saw the Trevi Fountain and The Pantheon. There was a rule in Rome that any ancient temple could not be turned into a Christian church. The Pantheon is the one exception to this rule.  

It is very dark inside and has a big hole in the roof for light and air. When it rains, it falls on the floor and drains through 22 holes. 

The Trevi Fountain is famous for a legend which says if you throw money in it, you will return to Rome one day. 

no roof on The Pantheon
no roof on The Pantheon
Trevi Fountain
Trevi Fountain

Basilica of San Clemente

This is a remarkable place. The Basilica was built in the medieval times ON TOP of a 4th century church which in turn was built ON TOP of a 1st century temple to Mithras. Unfortunately photographs are strictly NOT allowed. Therefore I can't share any with you. The whole place though is incredible. 

the entrance
the entrance

39 years wed

39 years
39 years

To close

If anyone is in a similar situation to ours, then it is manageable to take your beloved on an adventure and also positive mental attitude is vital to success. Why sit at home when with a bit of careful planning and common sense you can enjoy life? 

Maybe next time though,  a trip to the cinema might be good !  :) 


The Egyptian obelisk in Piazza Navonna
The Egyptian obelisk in Piazza Navonna
Updated: 04/30/2019, Veronica
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Veronica on 10/26/2018

Thank you Katie,
It is our 39th anniversary tomorrow! It was so good in Rome. My aim is to show people that although it is indeed a death sentence.... WE ARE STILL ALIVE. GET OUT THERE.
It just needs a bit more planning and care.
We're not dead yet !

katiem2 on 10/26/2018

Now what a lovely adventure and I'm certain your dear beloved husband considers more than the one item knocked off his bucket list. You two are adorable and inspiring to have set out on such a well planned venture and oh the amazing memories you will have to reflect on. Well done!

Veronica on 10/26/2018

Yes I would like to do that but I can't decide between the Cork section, the Limerick and Galway section or the Donegal section.

Imagine the photos I could get on the Wild Atlantic Way though whatever part I did.

frankbeswick on 10/26/2018

The Wild Atlantic Way is a great walk. You have always had an affinity with Galway and Limerick, whence many of our paternal forebears came. How about doing the sections of the way around those counties.

Veronica on 10/26/2018

No indeed, not one Colosseum cat in sight!

Where we go next, will depend upon the progression of the disease. It is incurable. I would like to do part of the Wild Atlantic Way on the west coast and south coast of Ireland …… watch this space next year. ;)

DerdriuMarriner on 10/25/2018

Veronica, Best wishes on your 39th anniversary and thank you for the three-day tour! Did you see any of the Colisseum cats? Where else -- beside the cinema ;-D -- will you and your husband be going?

dustytoes on 10/25/2018

Congratulations on the 39 years and marvelous idea to add your photo.

Veronica on 10/25/2018

By request I am adding our anniversary photo above.

Veronica on 10/25/2018

Thank you Dusty
I really want to show what is possible for people with health issues.
Our flight to Italy was 2 hrs 15 mins so I should have added I made sure he moved his feet about to prevent blood clots.

Thanks also about the photos. I have already been getting phone texts about these photos.

I shall add one of us at the Colisseum to conclude.

dustytoes on 10/25/2018

What a wonderful trip you had, and thank you Veronica for sharing those amazing photos! I suspect that any big tourist spot will have thieves looking for unsuspecting tourists. You were smart to prepare ahead of the trip and ward them off with your mean face! haha...I'll have to remember that one. This is a very encouraging article as well for anyone dealing with health issues that may keep them from traveling. How long was your flight?

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