Tuesday, September 17, 2013

ET 3.01 - Rome, Italy

Actual date of this event: 4-8 September

Luke and I arrived at FCO (main airport) around 12:30pm on Wednesday. I had done quite a bit of research on the best way to get from the airport to our apartment, and decided that taking the regional train and then switching to the metro was best. It was probably about the same amount of time as taking the express train to Termini (central train station), but it was not as expensive. The bus is the cheapest option but not the quickest, and I have read that this specific bus is the biggest place for pick pockets and scams. No thank you.

Our apartment that we booked through AirBnB was not in the grandest of locations but it was located in between two metro lines which was just fine. It was also located in a quieter area of town, and only about half a mile from the Colosseum. It was fun to start each day exploring with a view of the Colosseum. Anyway, after we dropped off our bags and made a grocery store run, we were ready to take on Rome!

We started off passing by the ruins, which we will visit the next day (on Thursday).

Il Vittoriano - this building is massive and so impressive!!! It is a monument built for the first king of Italy, and it is located in Piazza Venezia. It is possible to go to the roof of the building which we did not do, but I am sure the view of Rome is spectacular!

We made our way to Trastevere, which is one of the BEST areas of Rome. If you ever visit Rome, this is a must do! It is not very touristy because it is not next to anything "important" in Rome. It has a great vibe, some great restaurant options, lots of gelato and lots of places to get a drink. We ended up here almost every day/night even though it was about 2 miles away from our apartment.

We stopped for a drink in Piazza di Santa Maria before wandering in Trastevere some more.

We ate dinner at Pizzeria Nerone which was the best calzone I have ever had! Luke was jealous.
After dinner, we meandered back toward our apartment walking through Piazza Navona which is a really long square that is usually pretty lively. It has a few different fountains and is lined with restaurants and cafes.

Along the way home, we passed by Il Vittoriano again, still impressed by its size and beauty.

A play was going on in the ruins... how cool is that backdrop!?!?

And of course, we ended our night walking passed the Colosseum. Great first day!
Our second day in Rome was mostly dedicated to exploring the Colosseum, the Roman Forum and Palentine Hill which was all included in one ticket. I will go into detail of that in another post because I have way too many pictures (Im trying to make this post as short as possible!). But I will leave you with just a few in the meantime.

After wandering in the ruins for about 4 hours, we walked our way to Aventine Hill where I read about a secret peephole. Located near Piazza Cavalieri di Malta, a door has a grungy looking hole, but it is actually a terrific view of the dome of St. Peter's Basilica (aka the Vatican dome). Bushes line the way of your view making it a perfectly designed peephole. To see a few nice pictures, click here. Also, "enjoy" my not-so-great picture below.

Afterward, we hung around on the hill taking some pictures of the city from above.

(Look at this Smart Car. Look how it's parked. Look how it's just a tad longer than the red car is wide. Look how silly. How can you not laugh?)

Once back down the hill, we decided we should cross the river and head into Trastevere. By this point, my feet were a bit sore from walking in the ruins for 4 hours (and also extremely filthy). But I kept going... this is a once in a lifetime experience, and I was not going to let the Romans stop me!

After dinner (which, by the way, Italy has some amazing tomatoes!)... and gelato...

...we started making our way back to the apartment... just two more miles to walk. We crossed the river, and instead of walking by Il Vittoriano again, we went around the back side which went up into a square and gave us a nice little view.

On Friday, we scheduled to visit Vatican City... which, for those of you who don't know, is a completely different country. I will go into that in another post... enjoy a few pictures though.

We left Vatican City after about 4 hours, crossing the river, and then walking through those narrow streets of Rome.

We ran into Piazza Navona again, and we decided it was definitely time to stop for a drink and do some people watching. The piazza is full of local artists trying to sell their art.

Next we arrived at the Pantheon.

Moving on, we kept wandering through the streets. We knew we were getting close to Trevi Fountain when we could hear the sound of water gushing. Trevi Fountain is a huge fountain located in a fairly small little area. It is packed with people and one of the locations in Rome to be on high alert for pick pockets.

We decided to wander back toward the apartment to get dinner around there. But of course, we couldnt do that without seeing something along the way. Located on Esquiline Hill, the Basilican of Santa Maria Maggiore is the largest church in Rome dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary.
On our last day of Rome, we had just a few more things to see and do. We started off going to the train station to buy our tickets to Florence. Then we headed to Santa Maria della Concezione dei Cappuccini. I had heard about this church for a former student's mom a couple years back. The exterior of the church is nothing special, but its crypt contains the remains of 4,000 friars, and the bones decorate five chapels. Pictures were not allowed inside, but click here for a general idea. If you plan a visit, make sure you are dressed appropriately (no bare knees or shoulders).
We headed to the Spanish Steps, which Luke remembered from his first visit to Rome as being pretty awesome. When we arrived, her was not as he remembered, not sure why but I, for one, was bothered by the fact that the steps were not aligned with the church and the monument at the top and then the road leading off of the piazza as well. Serious OCD issues. Anyway, all throughout the area, we got bothered by those annoying folks trying to give me a rose. This is another high pick pocket area of Rome.

Lastly, we headed up Quirinal Hill which gave us the BEST view of Rome. This hill is full of locals enjoying a fun day in the park. We took a walk around, enjoyed the shade, and relaxed.

We ended our evening in Rome wandering through the streets before and after dinner. What a great city Rome is. Such a unique place!!

Stay tuned for our visit to the Roman Ruins and also Vatican City.

Other posts on Rome: Tips & Tricks, Roman Ruins, Vatican City

Rome has seven hills. From what I can remember, we went up all but one... but they all kind of blend together, so we may have also been on the seventh at some point without knowing.

In case you want or need to get back to the top of this post, click here... since it is so long. Sorry!


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