Last stop of our European adventures is Rome! At this point we’re pretty tired from Paris, Bordeaux, Pamplona, Milan and Cinque Terre, but we were happy to end with Rome because it’s someplace I’ve always wanted to go, and while AJ’s been there a few times and even studied abroad there, he was anxious to get back.
Rome – Day 1
We hopped on a train down from Cinque Terre, and after a minor snafu with our room not being ready and having to switch hotels for the night, we hightailed it over to Vatican City for an underground tour of the Scavi, which is the necropolis underneath St. Peter’s Basilica. We saw remains of the Old St. Peter’s Basilica, constructed by Constantine I, the believed tomb of St. Peter, and various ancient tombs and mausolea.
We followed this up by a much needed water break and a quick walk-through of the Basilica before heading back to our new hotel where we checked in, rested for a bit and then headed out for a nighttime walk around Rome. We made our way to the Trevi Fountain (which was under construction! 😦 ) before stopping for pizza (delicious!) and some meandering through the Roman streets.
Rome – Day 2
We started our second day with breakfast in Piazza Navonna before heading over to the Colosseum and Roman Forum for a tour. I was slightly concerned about this because the tour was scheduled to last about 3 1/2 hours, which sounded sooo long. It was also about 100 degrees, so I didn’t know how this was going to go down. Fortunately we had a great guide and Roman history is pretty interesting, so I lasted for the majority of the tour before my eyes started to glaze over 😉
After the Colosseum, we headed up the Palatine Hill to the remains of the Flavian Palace and the Roman Forum.
We doubled up on tours today, but I was more than okay with our evening plans, because it was a Food Tour of Trastevere! We booked this tour through Eating Italy Food Tours and would 100% recommend this to anyone, it was definitely a trip highlight! Another cool part of this was AJ actually lived in Trastevere during his study abroad days, so it was fun going to his old ‘hood.
We tasted food (and wines!) at about 5 different stops before sitting down for a group meal, which was then followed by a gelato stop! I couldn’t believe I ate all the food that night, but I couldn’t stop myself, it was all so good.
Two of my favorite stops included a food and wine tasting in a wine cellar in a 2,000 year old building which used to be a synagogue.
And then a stop for some pizza rossa. If you would have tried to get me to eat an all-sauce pizza anywhere else but Italy, I would have thought you were crazy, but When In Rome, right? I’m so glad I tried it because it was one of the most delicious bites of the night! The pizza was perfectly saucy with a slight spice…Yum.
Rome – Day 3
This next day was a busy one as well. We walked around the city for awhile on our own, with a stop at the Pantheon, followed by another lunch – pizza for AJ, salad for me – I think my body started craving greens!
This evening we had another walking tour of the city, we did hit a bunch of spots we already saw on our own, but we learned a bit more history of the city this time around. The only disappointment besides the Trevi Fountain being under construction, was the Spanish Steps! I’ve seen beautiful pictures of the steps being draped in flowers and it’s just a really beautiful scene. I think because we were there during the summer peak, all flowers were dead, and they were just kinda meh. So I won’t even share my pictures of either of those.
I did enjoy this little car, though!
When we got back to our hotel, they treated us to a bottle of wine and some snacks on the rooftop because of the inconvenience of having to switch locations on our first night, so we gladly accepted!
We followed up with dinner at this really adorable looking restaurant around the corner. They even had his and hers menus! (His had prices listed, Hers had calories…haha!)
We were both craving Cacio e Pepe so that’s what we both got, we also shared a roasted artichoke. To be honest, the food was disappointing. We went here thinking it was some authentic Italian joint, but the few patrons that were there were also tourists, and we kind of understood why by the end. The food and experience was pretty underwhelming, but at least the ambiance was cute and we were steps from our hotel.
Rome – Day 4
This is our last full day! We were sad our trip was coming to an end, but we were also really excited to get back to New York.
We started out with a tour of the Vatican (another 3+ hour deal!). We started with the Vatican Museum, saw some amazing artwork – it was seriously like being in the Louvre again!
The Sistene Chapel was AMAZING, and we might have even sneaked in a photo or two (shhh…)
And we ended with another tour of St. Peter’s Basilica.
We AJ then decided we should walk to the top of the dome to catch one more cityscape view. I fought him on this, but of course….it was pretty cool. I was also really happy when it was over!
By the time we got lunch (more pizza!) we were pooped and officially done with touring (hallelujah!)
We finished up the night with pasta, wine, and an early night because we flew home the next day!
While we didn’t get to see Pope Francis in Vatican City, we did see him yesterday while he was in New York City! About an hour before he was expected to do a tour of Central Park, we headed to Columbus Circle to see if we would be able to catch a glimpse. We lucked out with a spot right on the street and saw him as he drove by in his little Fiat!