Rome was the first stop on our Italy adventure and we loved it! We spent three days exploring the city and getting our bearings in a new culture. It was the first time in Italy for the both of so when we finally got to our apartment at midnight, we went right out and go some gelato!
The first day we saw the Piazza Navona, The Trevi Fountain, The Pantheon, Campo di Fiori and explored Trastevere, a beautiful neighborhood in Rome, and watched the sunset Piazza de Popolo . We definitely went a little crazy the first day! The second day we walked to the Spanish steps (but they were under construction and un-photographable), St. Peters Basilica, and the Vatican Museums. Our third and final day, we went to the Colosseum and the Roman Forum.
We walked everywhere, were able to avoid the crowds and heat for the most part and had a nice siesta everyday! We throughly enjoyed our time, had some amazing highlights, few disappointments, and lots of unforgettable food.
Everything we saw is totally worth seeing! There wasn't one place I was like "meh this is alright". But there were a couple things that were extraordinary to us.
- Opening the Pantheon doors | On our very first day, we were one of the first people in the very small line right when the Pantheon was opened. There were three workers and as they tried to push open the massive bronze doors they began to have a bit of trouble. One of the elderly male workers pointed to my husband and waved him towards them. Kyle got to help push open the doors of the Pantheon . . . Whaaaa? We were off to a great start!
- St. Peters Basilica | When we first walked in we were hit with a wave of peace and awe. Every inch of it is covered in amazing craftsmanship and artistry. The vast and otherworldly nature of the building reminds us that we are not the center of the universe and sweeps you up in its glory. After we left the main hall, we made the long trek to the top of the building, getting to see down into the basilica from the dome as well as the breathtaking views of the city in the morning light. All over this experience was incredible!
- The Colosseum and Roman Forum | Honestly, I wasn't expecting to enjoy seeing either of these places as much as I did. When walking around both you can really get a sense of what life was like back then and I was amazed. It was walking around the Roman Forum, the downtown of ancient Rome, that I realize how much their culture valued art. It must have been the golden age for artists and craftsmen because every house, garden and building, was decorated with detailed with amazing artistry.
- Architecture | All of it. Everywhere. We would be walking down the street and BOOM all of a sudden there was this massively incredible building to our right and then a half a block later there would be another one on the left. I felt like a child in a candy store! Even the "normal regular shops and apartments were adorable. We loved where our apartment was, just above some shops on a cute little street barely off the beaten path.
These were for sure few and far between. And they by no means ruined our time. But I am a strong believer that we can learn from others mistakes! I hope you can learn from us, set correct expectations, and have an even better travel experience than us someday!
- Walking shoes | Like most people on a trip like this, we did a ton of walking. The day we went to St. Peters Basilica and the Vatican Museums we walked 10 miles and 51 flights of stairs. I realized, as I was hobbling back to our apartment, that my "walking shoes" were in fact not walking shoes. Later that day we went to the Nike Store and got me some actual walking shoes and I was peachy keen after that! So the moral of this story is when you go on a trip like this worry less about being cute, and bring the right shoes.
- The Vatican Museum | There is so much incredible art within this building and I was SO excited to see it. We bought our tickets in advance, got to skip the gigantic line, and were there right after the doors opened. But as I stumbled into the Sistine Chapel in a massive crowd of people I was saddened. There was no reverence for this amazing art work as people chatted, attendants shushed and yelled "no photos", and I stood cramped in a sea of people. This is not how art should be viewed and I wasn't able to receive all the wonder this work and many others had to offer. I am still glad that I was able to see it. But I was a little disappointed by the circumstances.
As expected, we had some incredible meals in Rome. Two of which stand out to me the most. They are places you MUST go if you are there.
- Trattoria da Alfredo e Ada | THE LASAGNA. I am convinced this is the best meal I have had in my entire life. This cozy trattoria had the most amazing food even besides the melt in your mouth lasagna but it was my favorite. We had to go back the next night so I could have it again.
- Fres & Co | A Panini shop right on the street we stayed. It is a cute shop with lovely aesthetics and the most amazing bread you will ever eat. We were unsure what to get and just asked (in Italian) for the waiter's favorite. Even now when I think of that bread my mouth still starts to water.
If you are interested in how we managed to avoid the crowds and the heat, I am sharing our secrets on the Journal this Friday! Be on the look out!
P.S. Did you have any similar experiences when you were in Rome? If you've never been, I'd love to hear what your favorite image was!