As we are discussing our fall trip I can’t help but think about our Rome trip we took this summer, it was just so amazing. Don’t hate me for admitting this, but I think I loved it more than Paris. I admit it because I loved loved loved Paris and France in general, Nice and Normandy were just so beautiful and the art I loved all the art. I am a big art and architecture lover so to see all the Impressionist paintings so close and the Matisse museum in Nice was a dream come true. I never thought I would go see where all my heroes and idols thought of stories and painted such beautiful masterpieces. France will always hold a special place in my heart since it was also where we went on our honeymoon, but Italy oh Italy just stole my heart and ran away with it. I think I loved it more because my husband was allergic to France, he sneezed everywhere and had to take Benadryl and fell asleep in the Musee d’Orsay! Who does that?! I hated seeing my husband miserable with terrible allergies and nothing we could do, but buy medicine at the pharmacy. Anyway long winded story, but he LOVED Italy and wasn’t allergic to it, so it made it way more fun to see him happy and enjoying himself and be awake for everything.
I will just post pictures of some of my favorite things, but it is only a handful compared to the thousands I took, I just don’t want to bore you.
On this trip I made it a point to book a bunch of different tours and also had days planned to visit certain areas for the day like Trastevere and Vatican City. We also took day trips to Florence and Pompeii.
The first picture was taken at one of my favorite fountains, Fontana del Tritone (love Bernini), it was the beacon point to let me know that we were almost back at the hotel so I loved seeing it after a long day of long walking, eating, and lots of heat.
Our whole trip weather was a scorcher and I didn’t mind one bit! I came prepared with lots of dresses, this hat and an umbrella (great for shade.) A lot of the famous sites were being cleaned/restored which was a disappointment, but that just means we have to visit again to get the full effect. The Trevi fountain 😦 still beautiful and I still threw a coin over my shoulder, but under restoration until 2015.
The Pantheon, such a beautiful building and one the best preserved of the ancient buildings. All of these churches and basilicas were just an artists’/architects’ dream. One thing I absolutely loved about Rome was that all the Churches were free to go into, it was amazing! No fee, no nothing, you could light a candle and donate, but if you didn’t want to you didn’t have to, I will say I was slightly annoyed with the people who would stand in front of the doors asking for money almost making it seem like you had to pay to get in. I could see if they were homeless or clearly needed the money, but a lot of them were young and just standing there with a hat in hand.
A thing I would recommend while visiting a new city is a food tour. I booked ours for our second night in Rome and it was perfect. The tour guide was great and we got to taste food we never would have known about had we not gone. The tour guide walked us around various neighborhoods and gave us lots of history of where we were and what we were eating. My husband was very happy with this tour and now makes it a must of tours we do for every city. I loved that we got a list of the places we went to as well as new places we could try if we wanted to in every neighborhood in Rome. Needless to say we tried almost every single restaurant on that list and each one had amazing food and we were never disappointed. Seriously one of the best tours I have ever gone on and that says a lot because I take tours all the time, it’s the best way to get to know a city.
Vatican City was beautiful! It was so hot that day and we booked a private tour which was just great and ideal to avoid the long line and get our own guide. I am one of those annoying people that asks a lot of questions if something really interests me so having our own guide was perfect for the Vatican. I don’t like to talk about religion (since let’s get real we all have our doubts at times and I especially can feel so lost and in conflict since I love science and love learning about other religions and cultures,) but I am Catholic and this was just something I always wanted to go to and another thing off my bucket list. It felt very surreal being there and seeing the Sistine Chapel with my own eyes and not in some book. I took a couple of pictures with this fake Pieta since the real one was behind glass and far away (no worries I took pictures of that too.) We also went to the very top of the St Peter’s Basilica, which was a brutal long winding staircase that nearly made me pass out from heat and exhaustion, but so worth it. At first it reminded me of the Arc de Triomphe’s long winding stairs, but no this was by far worse. The view though, was so worth it! You could see the whole city and the breeze felt so good after feeling like I was never going to make it to the top.
Villa Borghese and Galleria Borghese are another must if you are in Rome. I am so happy I bought tickets beforehand to go to the Galleria because it was packed the day we went. We took a fun electric bike ride and had a picnic in the park, all again very surreal. I loved all the bridges we crossed and we walked so much. We hardly took cabs and this being the farthest from our hotel was only about 45/50 minutes away. I love public transportation, but Dan does not, and I hate spending money on cabs in general so walking was great to take lots of pictures and eat along the way.
Ahhh the Colosseum, what a site to see to say the least. I did not buy tickets to this in advance thinking we would get the Roma pass, I thought it would be like the Paris City Pass, but it wasn’t and not worth it, so our bicycle tour guide gave us a great tip. We bought our tickets at the Forum, there was no line and we got our tickets to go into the Forum and the Colosseum. The top pictures were taken in the Forum, I couldn’t believe I was sitting on an ancient ruin so I took this quick picture in fear I might break the already broken column more (another reason to love Rome, so many things you can touch and appreciate, but I still felt guilty touching any of it.) I didn’t really appreciate this tip until we got to the Colosseum and saw the huge line to buy tickets. We whizzed by and got in within minutes, it was great 🙂
Loved this cold coffee right by the Pantheon- Grannita (I think) from Tazza D’Oro so good and we went back many many times during our stay in Rome. So good and refreshing, we even bought a big bag of coffee beans to bring home and to remind us of this great trip.
Located right next to the Spanish Steps is the Keats-Shelley Memorial, as a person who loves poetry I had to stop by the memorial.
Loved being in Rome during the World Cup. They were eliminated on this day we went out, but being in Campo de’ Fiori with all the energy of the excited people was so much fun. We stayed out very late that night, but since the night doesn’t really begin until at least 8pm it was perfect and we felt safe walking around at 2 in the morning.
My favorite desserts while in Rome, Laduree macarons and of course gelato. So good, we ate at so many different gelatos places and not one left me disappointed, each one was so good.
Another thing I love about Rome is all the abundant fountains you can drink out of to quench your thirst on a hot day or in general. Free, delicious, and tested daily water! It’s hard to tell from the picture but on all the fountains like this there are two holes. You put you finger on the hole where the water is pouring out of and the little hole squirts out like an actual fountain so you aren’t lapping up the water as someone told me “like a dog.”
I loved Rome and would recommend the city to everyone. I had done a lot of research beforehand, but nothing can prepare for the beauty of the city, the food, the people, and the culture. I met a lot of great people there and wish I could live there. I got to know the city so well that whenever anyone asked me where something was I could give them the streets and directions easily and if they asked for a place to eat I would take out my list from my food tour. I miss it so much and to say the least it was just magical. I hope to post my Florence and Pompeii adventures soon on the blog too.
I leave for Chicago tomorrow to stay for a week so I am super excited to see my family, my friends, and my dogs. Jo and I are bridesmaids in our best friend’s wedding so we can finally post a picture of us together 🙂