Or Rome if you are English speaking like me. Rome was the city in Italy that I knew the most about before taking our vacation. I think it would be safe to say that Rome is a staple for travelers touring the country. Everywhere you walk, you are surrounded by insane amounts of history and incredible architecture. Not to mention the most amazing food I have ever eaten. Rome did not disappoint and I am excited to share with you a brief summary of the sites we explored and things we filled our time with.

From Venice, we took a 45-minute flight to Rome and were kindly chauffeured from the airport to our bed & breakfast by Jordan’s friend who lives in Rome. We stayed in Rome the longest of any other city during our trip, 4 days to be exact. I thought about doing a separate post for each day, but decided to just condense it all into one because, to be honest, if you researched places to visit in Rome, it would be very similar to my list. I will say though, that some of my favorite memories of Rome did not necessarily include visiting the museums. They were absolutely stunning, but they were also insanely crowded with tourists. There wasn’t a whole lot of space to move around freely or feel relaxed. I’d have to say, the things I loved most about Rome involved the less-touristy spots. The places that took a bit longer to walk or drive to, and the places that seemed more authentic because there were less Americans flocking there. I will share those too.

1. Colosseum – Seeing it in person really puts what you see in the movie Gladiator to shame. Aside from the scaffolding on half of the amphitheater, this was one of the most impressive works of Roman architecture that I saw. And then to stand inside the Colosseum while trying to understand the brutality that took place inside the walls, was pretty intense. A little disturbing also. Instead of paying for a tour {my husband doesn’t pay for things unless he absolutely has to}, we podcasted Rick Steves while we walked through which worked perfectly. We didn’t have to worry about waiting for a slow tour guide, or following in line with the group. One more tip about getting tickets for the Colosseum: DO NOT WAIT IN THE LONG LINE!! Take a quick walk down to Palatine Hill and get your ticket there because it is good for both places. You will want to see both anyway.20140606_035109 20140606_040541 20140606_041710 20140606_044123

2. Palatine Hill & Roman Forum – I read that this area was considered to be the most celebrated meeting place in the world. The Forum held elections, public speeches, trials, etc. Palatine Hill to me was a lot of ruins and a lot of walking. The view of Rome that it provides however is worth the walk. 20140606_043709 20140606_053030 20140606_063648

3. Vatican City – The only word I can use to describe the Vatican is breathtaking. If you just pick one place to spend your afternoon in Rome, I would suggest going there. I learned that the Vatican is actually the smallest internationally recognized independent city-state by both population (840) and area (110 acres). I knew that the Pope ruled the Vatican, but I had no idea how incredible it really was. Visiting St. Peter’s Basilica and Sistine Chapel are a must. The artwork is mind-blowing and you could truly spend an entire day there just trying to see everything. Again, we podcasted Mr. Steves and although he can be a bit of a cornball, he does an excellent job of explaining everything in a way that flows well and makes complete sense. I suggest bringing some snacks, so that you don’t get hungry and irritable like I did. 20140605_031109 20140605_031513 20140605_044220 20140605_045909 20140605_123120 20140605_123449

4. Trevi Fountain – The first time we visit the Trevi fountain, it was completely open and we were able to walk down by the water. The next time, they had begun blocking it off and we were unsure why. Turns out, Trevi got a facelift right after we were there. It is quite massive and super impressive so I would recommend visiting the fountain. 20140604_082553 20140604_082629 20140604_083055

5. Pantheon, Spanish Steps, and Piazza Novona – Those are not a grouping or really relate to each other at all besides being in Rome. They are just a few other locations/structures I would suggest visiting. Many of these things are hard to miss, especially if you visit the typical tourist areas. And truly, you cannot go wrong with any of them. Might as well make the most of your time in Rome! 20140605_063120

Now onto the places that you may or may not find while researching things to see in Rome…

1. Trastevere – Okay so this one you will probably read about, but it was my favorite area in all of Rome. It is located on the west bank of the Tiber and a little south of the Vatican City. The character in this neighborhood is adorable. From the cobbled streets, to medieval houses, to little outdoor patios everywhere. It seemed a little less touristy to me and I was thankful that we stayed in that area. It also served as the spot we would get aperitivo {appetizers} every evening. We buy 2 glasses of wine, and they bring us snacks. Done and done. We also did our cooking class in Trastevere which was a blast! 20140604_102513 20140607_003405 20140607_005056 20140607_005133

2. Ariccia – This one involves commute via car if possible because it is a city located about 45 minutes outside of the Roman city center. The main attraction bringing people there is the porchetta, which is a traditional pork unique to Central Italy. I for some reason took a video of the food, but no pictures, so you will have to look that one up. Anyway, it is a cute little city filled with people eating a lot of porchetta. It was fun to explore outside of Rome a little bit and try something different than pasta or pizza.

3. Piazza of Knights of Malta Key Hole – Basically a peek-a-boo view of St. Peter’s dome through a tiny keyhole. You will actually be looking at 3 different countries through that keyhole {Italy, Vatican, and Knights of Malta. It is beautiful because the you see a garden path which perfectly frames the dome in the distance. I remember it being a little bit of a walk up to the door containing the keyhole, but it was well worth it. Definitely something you don’t see everyday. You will also need a really great camera to capture the full picture through that tiny hole. As you will see, mine didn’t quite get it. 20140606_142519 20140606_143238 20140606_144644

4.  Giolitti – The most delicious gelato you will ever eat, I promise. I recommend getting it daily if possible. I mean not only are there a couple dozen flavors, but they top it off with whipping cream if you choose to indulge further. Obviously, I did and had no regrets! Trust me, you will walk it off. 20140605_155131 20140605_063920

Well there you have it, a semi-brief recap of our time in Rome. I will be back soon to chat about the stunning Amalfi coast.

I hope you are having a great week and an even better Fourth of July weekend!

Abby Dawn


2 thoughts on “Roma

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