When In Rome

by Anna

Rome was as magnificent as I remembered.

Johnny and I found a little hole in the wall apartment right by the Trevi Fountain, putting us in a great location to walk everywhere. Over the course of five days we maneuvered our way through throngs of tour groups and hit up many of the main attractions such as Piazza Venezia, the Colosseum, Arco di Constanino, Palatine and Roman Forum; Piazza di Spagna and the Spanish Steps; the Trevi Fountain, Pantheon, Piazza Navona and Campo de’ Fiori; Villa Borghese; Vatican City, Piazza San Pietro and St. Peter’s Basilica.

Our apartment was literally a “hole in the wall” The streets of Rome
Piazza Navona
St. Peter’s Basilica
Piazza San Pietro The Swiss Guard
Baldacchino in St. Peter’s
En route to the Colosseum
Ancient Rome The Colosseum
Enjoying the view

Aside from visiting these major sites we had a great time wandering the backstreets around Piazza Navona and Campo de’ Fiori where we could momentarily escape the crowds and just enjoy the lively pulse of the city. We found a great bar called Bar del Fico, which felt like the Lower East Side meets Rome, where we’d check emails, research activities for the next day and eavesdrop on the passionate game of chess that seemed to be permanently ongoing, morning, noon and night, amongst a raucous group of older Italian men. We also had a good time perusing and picking up picnic supplies at the colorful outdoor market at Campo de’Fiori, getting paninis handmade at a nearby butcher shop and strolling through Villa Borghese.  Walking around the quiet yet still lively streets in the Jewish Ghetto and sampling Jewish-style fried artichokes was another welcomed relief after we had battled the crowds around the Coliseum and Roman Forum.  We also taste-tested many different gelato flavors and establishments and declared our favorite to be San Crispino, which was conveniantly situated a couple blocks from our apartment. Any place that won’t serve their gelato in a cone because it detracts from the flavors of the ice cream means serious business!

Campo de’ Fiori Fruit stalls
Paninis to order! Jewish Ghetto

Other highlights for us included our visit to the Museo e Galleria Borghese. The walk through the park to get there was just as nice as the beautiful and immaculate interior which showcased amazing frescoes, sculptures, paintings and furniture; my favorite being Bernini’s Apollo e Dafne. We also loved our visit there, because as we approached the Museum, a nice lady came up to us and asked if we needed tickets (she happened to have two extra). She was like our sight-seeing fairy godmother, and she saved us time and money and renewed our faith that not everyone is out to scam you (having been on guard since our Barcelona subway incident)! The Pantheon also remains at the top of our list for most awe-inspiring site. We made a point to walk past it every night on our way home to see its massive façade lit up and towering over the music-filled piazza.

Pantheon
Pantheon oculus Villa Borghese
Trevi Fountain Not a bad stop on the way back to our apt.

One of our favorite evenings in Rome was our night in Trastevere on the other side of the Tiber river. We wished we had ventured over earlier in our stay because we loved the colorful, narrow streets hung with laundry lines, the bustling cafes and the more “neighborhoody” feel of the area. We also happened to be in Piazza Santa Maria in Trastevere at mass, and the site of the beautiful gold interior of the Basilica di Santa Maria glowing with candles and people was magical. We decided to try a restaurant that we read about in Lonely Planet called Da Augusto. It was tucked into a tiny little quiet piazza. We got there before it opened but noticed that people had already started to sit at the few small tables out front. We decided to follow their lead, and it paid off! Within 15 minutes, every table was filled and there was a line at the door. The tiny restaurant finally opened its doors, and we were greeted by friendly servers and a bustling scene around the once quiet piazza. We had a delicious meal of Amatricione and Cacio e Pepe Rigatoni, grilled local veggies, a half liter of tasty house red and a delicious home-made pine nut cake. The entire meal came in under 30 euros, and was one of our favorites in Rome.

Crossing the Ponte Sisto bridge to Trastevere Piazza Santa Maria in Trastevere
Spanish Steps

After five days in Rome our feet, feeling similar pains to ones we felt after Paris, were happy to say ‘Ciao Roma,’ and head for the rolling hills of Tuscany!

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2 Responses to “When In Rome”

  1. Wonderful Rome experience…I can’t think of a thing you missed – and some we’ll have to add when we make it back one of these days! Keep up the journal entries. Love it!

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