As I write this, Megan and I are speeding along the coast via trenitalia on our way from the beautiful city of Rome towards the Cinque Terre. Rome was absolutely amazing! A few words cannot do it justice. We were so in awe of the grandeur and extravagance of the ancient city of Rome. Oh yea, and the out of this world food- fresh pasta, divine pizza, gelato, tiramisu…I could go on and on and on! We adored every single second we spent in the eternal city! I knew we would enjoy our time there but was unsure how much. Well, we were pleasantly surprised at how much we loved Rome.
The beginnings of the Eternal City began somewhere around 800 BC, almost 3000 years ago! They have recently excavated a few houses along the banks of the Tiber river near where the Roman Forum is that date back pretty close to that time, not very many cities can claim such a long and rich heritage.
We really blitzed the city only having been there for three days. It is amazing how much can be seen there in such a short time. We decided on the Omnia pass, which we will write about in more detail in the future. Stay tuned for a detailed post on the specifics of this great pass to see the city.
While in Rome we visited the Colosseum, The Roman Forum and Palatine Hill, the Pantheon, Piazza Venizia, Altare Della Patria, Trevi Fountain, the Spanish Steps, Compo De’ Fiori (Roman outdoor market), and Vatican City including St. Peter’s Basilica and the Vatican Museums. Phew, let’s just say it was a busy three days!
We took public transportation everywhere in the city. Rome’s public transit system is incredible. There are trains, metro trains, trams, and buses that stop at almost every corner in the entire city. The problem is figuring out which ones to take where. The signs are confusing and the buses are not labeled well. But if you can figure out the system it is a very inexpensive way to traverse the city. If you buy the Roma pass which is included in the Omnia pass, all local public transportation is included. Bus tickets cannot be bought directly on the bus, only in tobacco stores and newspaper stores. But more on Rome’s transport in a future post.
The first stop we made was in Piazzi Venizia. What a gorgeous place to start a day in Rome! The grand monument, relatively new compared to the cities other sites, Altare Della Patria, also known as the monument to the unknown soldiers of WWI, towers in the square and consumes all of the attention of Piazza Venizia’s visitors. The Colosseum can be seen in the distance from the square.
From there we headed to the Colisseum, which unfortunately was half covered in scaffold due to restoration efforts – that did not make it any less magnificent though. Wandering through the Colisseum was absolutely incredible! It is hard to fathom what went in to making this magnificent structure without the use of modern machines. The architecture was stunning. With the wooden floor of the arena long since rotted, one can see into the old caves and walls of the cages where animals were once stored and gladiators trained! There were over 80 trap doors in the arena floor where trees and animals could be raised out of the ground at a moments notice. We kept thinking, this was like real life Hunger Games! It is said the Colosseum could also be filled with water to reenact sea battles.
The Roman Forum and Palatine Hill are said to be where Western Civilization began. The forum was the center of life in Rome and dates back as far as 800 BC! This is where emperors lived and where the celebrations of battles won would take place. Modern democratic government had its roots on Palatine Hill. We enjoyed wandering through the ruins. Rome even had running water that flowed by this hill.
The Trevi Fountain is breathtaking! Both for its architectural beauty and the ridiculous amount of tourists there! We were so enamored by it’s beauty we went to the fountain three separate times! It was a magical place indeed. We went early in the morning one day around 7:30 and we were almost there alone. I would highly recommend going early and catching morning light for pictures and space to throw in your coin.
Compo De’ Fiori is Rome’s outdoor market. The little square is full of fresh fruit stands, fresh baked bread stands, olive oil stands, and flower stands. It is a great place to grab lunch. There are some delicious restaurants surrounding the market including the Obika Mozzarella Bar, which had the best pizza and lasagne we have ever eaten, their mozzarella is the real deal. It is made of water buffalo milk from the very region the cheese has its roots. HIGHLY RECOMMEND THIS RESTAURANT.
The next day we headed to Vatican City. Saint Peter’s Basilica is like nowhere else I have been. The beauty of the design and work that went in to making such an amazing place is hard to fathom! The detailed art, sculptures, and design was so stunning, and it was EVERYWHERE you looked!!
The Vatican Museum was very packed. It was hard to breathe there were so many people there. To be honest it almost ruins the experience. We pretty much rushed to the Sistine Chapel, through a maze of the most gorgeous halls I have ever seen, to get out of the sea of people. The art was definitely overwhelming, it is gorgeous every place you look. I hope to come back to Rome during a slower season so that I can take time to enjoy the grandeur of Vatican City. I will never forget the magnificent art on the ceilings and the walls of the museum!
Lastly we went to the Pantheon, which has free entrance, yippee! The used-to-be pagan temple was turned into a church a long time ago. The most amazing part of the Pantheon is the light that shines down through the hole in the middle of the dome!
I cannot wait to travel back to the Eternal City with more time to soak in its rich history, wonderful food and beautiful people!
Look forward to these future blogs on Rome coming soon:
-Omnia Pass Details
-Vatican City, St. Peter’s Basilica and Vatican Museums Details
-Public Transportation in Rome
-Best way to blitz Rome in 2-3 days
-Colosseum, Roman Forum, & the Pantheon
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