Today is the first of some guest posts from my Dad, sharing some observations on his recent visit to Italy.
There are a few places that he has never visited before, but also some ‘familiar’ ones.
A couple of hours at Roma Termini
We had landed at Rome’s Fiumicino Airport, after our 13 hour flight from Hong Kong. Twenty minutes later, we were on the Airport Express to Roma Termini, the main terminus railway station in the centre of the city.
We had reserved seats on an Intercity train to Orvieto two hours later, so, tired as we were after the long flight, we sought a quiet corner to pass the time.
We found a bar/café on the first floor which has tables and chairs on a ‘balcony’ overlooking the main concourse. With our first excellent Italian coffees, and a pastry, we settled down to watch the passing parade.
Even though it was Saturday morning, the station was a hive of activity. Hundreds of people, locals and tourists alike, were coming and going continuously. Clusters of people were watching the Arrivals and Departures boards, waiting to see the platform at which their train was to arrive or depart. We noticed that quite frequently, the platform number was not displayed until the train was literally arriving. There was then a ‘mass surge’ of people towards the platform concerned.
We noticed that ours is not the only train that is coming from Naples and proceeding to Milan. Ours was an Intercity train with limited stops (including Orvieto) before Florence, while a Eurostar would be non-stop to Florence. There was also a “Regionale” train that was to stop at many stations on the way from Rome to Florence. Every train has a number, and it is this number that we watched for details about our own train’s arrival and departure.
(A sample of the departures board appears below.)
We were absorbed by the movements of a man waving a New Zealand flag above his head and searching the crowds. We watched him and his partner perform several circuits of the concourse, before he was finally rewarded with the rendezvous he has obviously arranged.
We also heeded the advice of a friend concerning the public toilets. The advice was “Do not wait to ‘go’ on the train, the toilets at Termini are spotless and well supervised”.
At a cost of one euro per visit, we could agree wholeheartedly.