Remember a while ago I promised that I would write about our recent trip to Rome? Well, the time has finally come! Since our return from Rome, I have posted some photos on the Blog’s Instagram page, so if you are following my account (@elapetite), you have already seen some of my favourite photos from the trip 🙂 If you haven’t seen them yet, not to worry! Keep reading and scrolling down! You will get the full story + the pictures 😉 Oh, and of course you can also check the Instagram page for more photos:)
“Rome is the city of echoes, the city of illusions, and the city of yearning.”
– Giotto di Bondone
Although our trip was quite short, we made the best of the time we had and explored the city as much as we could. We arrived in Rome, in the morning on a Sunday and took a cab from the airport to our place of stay. For our accommodations, we chose “airbnb,” (for the first time!) and we were so glad we did! Our host, Martina and her family, were incredibly gracious, hospitable, and welcoming (Martina, if you ever read this, thank you for everything xox). The cab dropped us off on the main street, because the alleyway was too narrow and he had other passengers in the car! We made our way with our bags to the alleyway adjacent to the main street and managed to find the address while communicating in French and English and getting responses in Italian 😀 To our surprise, our airbnb host, Martina, was waiting for us outside of the apartment. She welcomed us to Rome and the apartment, graciously showed us all the tourist attractions and historic sites on a map, and left her number and information in case we needed anything!
Standing in our apartment, with a map in our hand, it suddenly hit us! We had a feeling we were not in Kansas anymore! 😉 We are now in Rome! Without any hesitation, we said “forget it” to resting and sleeping, and left the apartment to explore the area. As you may have already guessed, we were quite hungry, so what’s our first choice for food? You guessed it! Pizza was the obvious choice! We each got our own pizza (mine was vegan, of course 😉 ). Pizza in Rome is nothing like what we are used to here at home. The variety is endless and the taste is to die for! I LOVED every single pizza that I had during our stay. Not that it is hard to avoid, but if you ever go to Rome, try every kind of pizza you can get. They are all different, but equally delicious 😀
We quickly realized that the Trastevere neighbourhood in which we would be staying for the next few days, was one of the most historic and popular neighbourhoods in Rome. PLUS, it was only a walking distance away from most of the places we wanted to visit.
The farthest we had to walk was to the Coliseum and the Roman ruins which only took about an hour – we were walking quite leisurely and stopping and taking photos!
Our first full day in Rome began with a visit to the Vatican City. I have to admit that this was a humbling and incredibly beautiful experience. We spent a whole day at the Vatican – this is accounting for standing in two different lines to get inside, going up to the top of the St. Peter’s Basilica, and waiting in line to get out! All in all, it was definitely worth the time and the experience. Regardless of your religious beliefs, I highly recommend visiting this site…the history, the art, along with the excitement of the visitors will leave you speechless….just dress light and expect to stand in line 😉 oh and also, don’t feel the need to “skip the line” (as they call it) and follow those who promise a shorter wait time 🙂
After our Vatican visit, we made our way to the Castel Sant’Angelo, which was initially used by popes as a fortress and castle, but is now a museum. The castle gives you a beautiful view of the Vatican, the Tiber river, and the surrounding area. Since our Vatican visit took long, by the time we arrived at the castle, it was near the closing time but we still got to go in. When we entered the kiosk to purchase tickets, the gentleman working the cash register asked us where we were from and once he found out we were Canadians, he told us about his love for Canada, Canadians, and Canadian music and treated us to two complimentary tickets to the castle 🙂 So, if you ever read this post Sir, thank you 🙂 We hope to see you in Canada for a Sheepdogs’ concert;)
With day one of our trip coming to an end, we left the castle, and made our way back to Trastevere for some food and drinks 🙂
The nightlife in Trastevere gives you an extra boost of energy. Although we were quite tired and did not stay out long; we did, however, love the energy, livelihood, and the experience. It is impossible to walk the streets of Trastevere around meal time and not be approached by waiters/waitresses wanting you to see the menu and go inside their restaurant. Most restaurants have a display of their menu outside and have their staff chat with you while you read the menu (and take pictures, if you are like me;) ). Pizza and pasta are the signature dishes along with so many other options. For someone who loves pizza, I had to make sure that I gave other dishes a chance too, so I ordered a tomato basil pasta one night and it was the most delicious pasta I have ever had (and I am not even a big fan of pasta to begin with!!).
Day two began with an incredibly beautiful morning and the birds singing outside of the window of our apartment. The weather was crisp, yet sunny. We walked to a cafe nearby and got ourselves the most delicious cappuccinos and made our way to the Coliseum and the Roman ruins.
We spent the whole day visiting the ruins, the Coliseum, and the neighbouring areas. The beautiful music from the local/street musicians, people just breaking into dance, and visitors and tourists using every opportunity to take photos is an incredible experience that you can’t put into words – especially when you are surrounded by so much history and excitement. It’s one of those things that you just have to experience for yourself!
After the Coliseum, we made our way to the more “modern” section of Rome (and the shopping centre filled with brand-name clothing stores) in search of the Trevi Fountain. On our way, we stopped for some iced-coffee and appetizers. It is interesting that artichokes seem to be a signature item on every menu! And I am not complaining! Although they are rather time consuming to clean/make, they are absolutely delicious. Thanks Rome for making me a big fan of artichokes 😀
After our little coffee break, we walked through the alleyways and we could tell we were getting close to the fountain because the crowd started getting bigger and louder. Whether it was the reflection from the fountain and its all-white sculptures, the time of day, or both, we found the lighting and the brightness of the fountain quite captivating. Standing in the shade, carefully observing the old man roasting walnuts and chestnuts in the corner close but away from the crowd, and watching everyone make a wish and throw a coin in the fountain was quite an experience. We made our way through the crowd, stood by the fountain for a few minutes, snapped some photos, and you guessed it….we each made a wish and flipped our coins from over our heads into the fountain 🙂
With 6pm approaching, we continued our adventure through the narrow cobbled streets and found ourselves in front of the Pantheon. Having stood in line for the past two days, we decided to skip this line and just visit the Pantheon from the outside. While taking photos and scanning the area, we saw a bride and a groom and, what seemed to be, their bridal party, walking to the Pantheon square, demanding the crowd’s attention, and taking selfies. While appreciating the history, and witnessing the present, we slowly walked back to our neighbourhood.
Since it was late in the day, the farmer’s market that we had hoped to visit had already wrapped up for the day. So we crossed over – what was a market full of happy shoppers a few hours ago and now was filled with left over produce and vendors loading up their trucks – and stopped by the Piazza Novona. We snapped a few photos, watched a dad and his son play a little soccer in a corner away from the crowd, and walked back to Trastevere.
By the time we got to the neighbourhood, it was around 8pm. We decided to stop for another delicious Roman dinner and another pizza (for me anyway) before we headed back home.
Our time in Rome was unforgettable and full of adventures. We visited places we had only dreamt of/seen on TV or in movies, had the most delicious food, and bought some touristy souvenirs (some of which included cat related things! haha…). Most importantly, I am grateful that I got to share all of this with my partner and my best friend ❤ 🙂
The day to leave Rome for Canada was finally here. As we were waiting at the airport to board our plane, a young lady walked up to a piano – which just seemed to be available for anyone to play – and played the most beautiful song! We enjoyed the music, drank our lattes (not just one but two – because we had to try both the almond and the pistachio flavours) and walked to our gate. Four amazing days and about 50,000 steps later, we were ready to go home!
Rome, you are stunning! Thank you for welcoming us ❤ We will be back soon 🙂
Much love… xox
“Rome will exist as long as the Coliseum does; when the Coliseum falls, so will Rome; when Rome falls, so will the world.”
– Venerable Bede, Saint