Rome was our starting point and we then travelled to Milan. Before booking, we did lots of research and I found a tour for the deaf with an interpreter for the Vatican museums, so I emailed the company to ask if I can join. A few weeks later I received a reply – I was not sure if it is was a scam email as I was suspicious of the attachment. I translated it into English by using Google and I was surprised to see that they issued me a free voucher with my name on it!
My friend and I landed then went straight to Vatican museum, so we were bit jet legged but as that tour only took place on Wednesday, we met an interpreter and even managed to pick up some Italian sign language! I couldn’t believe that the Vatican Museums are some of Rome’s most famous historical. It seems it is harder for people to get reservations depending on how busy the crowd is.
The dress code is to be proper, with legs and arms covered in all churches. Men can’t wear vests or go topless as well. If you are not covered, they will lend you a cover (similar to a shawl) but expect to pay 10 euros (£8.25). It was a long walk around but worth it! We were very lucky to have a guide who was so helpful since we did not miss anything important despite the fact that the museum is a huge building worth a day of looking around, but for us half a day was enough. It was a unique experience!
We noticed that most Italian people we saw picked up on how to communicate with us so much easier than what I see in England – what I mean is that they use lots of gestures within sales and tourism. See Hear even filmed about the deaf culture and the gestures used by Italian people while in Italy. The episode is not currently available but you can see a short 2 minute clip here –http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p01vr42p
We trekked without using public transport as we wanted to see the streets of Rome as it is a very small city. We got to the Colosseum, apparently able to hold up to 55,000 people. It was built by Emperor Vespasian in AD 80 and was the scene of many deadly gladiatorial and wild animal fights.
Seeing the Colosseum was amazing, it is a shame for us that people are able to listen to the audio tour which helps you understand how the Colosseum was built and used. Italy has a high awareness of the deaf disability; we got in for free at each of the museums because of the safety issues regarding the fire alarm. When visiting these ancient, historical landmarks, we felt as if we were in their old days.
We then set off to see the Roman Forum ruins -ancient Rome’s showpiece centre, a grandiose district of marble-clad temples, proud basilicas and vibrant public spaces. Today, impressive but badly labelled ruins give some hint of this but you’ll still have to use your imagination to picture it as it once was.
Next was the Trevi Fountain – it is the largest fountain in the city and one of the most famous fountains in the world. After came the Pantheon – one of the best-preserved of all Ancient Roman buildings. It has been in continuous use throughout its history, and since the 7th century. Pantheon’s dome is still the world’s largest unreinforced concrete dome.
Finally we reached the Spanish Steps – I don’t know why this is such a famous and popular spot. This link will explain more about it – http://romeonsegway.com/7-facts-about-the-spanish-steps all in a day!
We missed the Castel Sant’Angelo from what my colleague told me -where the Pope ‘hides’ from invaders – a short walk away from the Vatican. Castel Sant’Angelo is one of the town’s most famous landmarks. It was originally built in the second century as a tomb for Emperor Hadrian and then used as a fortress in the Middle Ages. The Papal state also used Sant’Angelo as a prison; opera lovers will remember Tosca leaping to her death from this Castle. A secret corridor also connects the Castle with the Vatican. Today it is home to the National Museum of Castel Sant’Angelo.
That’s the end for now; I hope you have enjoyed my blogs so far. Last but not least will be a blog on Milan.