I love recapping my trip to Rome. It makes me feel like I'm there all over again. (I know that sounds extremely cheesy, but it does make me relive the memories as if I am in the moment). For the second half of our trip we explored all the sites: The Colosseum, Trevi Fountain, Pantheon, Sistine Chapel, among others. Here is part two of our Rome Trip.
Day Four (Sunday)
Sunday started pretty early. We wanted to try to hit all the big sites on Sunday because Monday was a national holiday in Rome and we weren't sure what would and wouldn't be open. Our day started out by grabbing breakfast right outside the Colosseum. I had a croissant and "Iced" coffee (which was nothing more than coffee with cream that had been sitting out, no real ice to speak of) and Zach had a coffee and something else. Anyways, I pinched myself as I ate just steps away from such a historical site.
Anyways, after our quickie breakfast we headed out to conquer the Colosseum. The one big thing we noticed in Rome vs the US is that efficiency and organization are lacking. We get to the Colosseum and there are lines going each and every direction. This was the one thing we had already pre-purchased tickets to. Trying to figure out which line was for what almost made me lose my cool. There are people everywhere selling guided tours and their "skip the line tickets". They are annoying and the LAST thing you want to do is engage with them, but we had no choice. We could not for the life of us figure out what line to get in. We decided to make it known to one of the tour vendors that we already had tickets and just needed to know where to go. He kindly directed us to a line. Chaos continued to ensue from there, but eventually we made it inside the Colosseum.
It was amazing to see and learn about how architecturally advanced the Romans were so long ago. The Colosseum looked like modern day arenas. Thinking about Gladiators fighting to their death was crazy! The Colosseum was probably one of my favorite attractions. It's hard to describe the experience.
After we exited the Colosseum, we continued to wander around the grounds. We found a cute church up a very steep hill. We wanted to get all the highlights in on Sunday, so we decided to start the journey to the Pantheon. The Pantheon was about a 2 mile walk from the Colosseum. But walking in Rome, as I mentioned earlier, was one of my favorite things to do. We crossed over a bridge with the Tyber River underneath, which was cool.
We FINALLY made it to the Pantheon. It was magnificent. We sat down inside and took it all in. We were chatting here and there. We forgot that the Pantheon is technically a church and you are supposed to be quite. Some not so friendly Italian lady came over the loud speaker to tell us to basically shut up.
After the Pantheon, we tried desperately to find a place to grab a drink and eat. After two not so nice waiters and restaurants, we finally found one. We ordered some beers and grabbed a bite. This place had an awesome view of a square. After our bellies were full and we had a couple drinks to relax us, we headed out to the Spanish Steps. Thankfully, the Spanish Steps were close to the Pantheon. Not so thankfully, there were literally thousands of people going the same direction. The only comparison I can make of the crowds is if you have ever been to Rockefeller Center in NYC around Christmas. Yes, it was like that! People everywhere! We made it to the steps, started the climb. You can definitely tell the altitude changes in Rome. Literally one flight of stairs, feels like you climbed a mountain. The temperature is cooler the higher you go. We made it somewhat to the top and stopped to take in the views. Looking down at the crowds was awesome.
The next thing on the list for the day was the Trevi Fountain. Again, not such a long trek from the Spanish Steps. Again, MASSES amount of people. I was most excited about the Trevi Fountain, but found it extremely underwhelming. Partially because I was exhausted by this point, partially because I was tired of the crowd and just wanted to have some space to breathe, and partially because it was pretty warm and I was in long sleeves and long pants sweating. We got to the fountain, but you couldn't get anywhere close to the edge due to the people. We decided after that to call it day and grab an Uber back to the AirBnB.
After relaxing for a bit, we headed back out to our downtown Trastavere area. By this point, my appetite was back and I was craving a burger. (Odd, I know. We are in Rome, I should want pasta or pizza). We found a nice little fusion place basically America meets Rome. We ordered a burger with Mozzarella, pesto, and tomato. I kind of filled up on the Bruschetta ahead of time and ended up only eating a few bites. I was exhausted. We decided to call it any early night and head back.
Day Five (Monday)
Monday was a Roman Holiday, essentially their Labor Day. We were unsure of what they city would be like that day, so we didn't plan much. We were pleasantly surprised to see that most everything was open. We didn't experience any inconveniences by it being a holiday. We slept in a bit Monday and had a slow start to the day. (After all, we really had nothing to do). We grabbed an Uber downtown. We wandered into this cute little bakery/restaurant. I had a Italian Doughnut of some sort and espresso. This place was so cute. Very authentic. You could tell it was a family run business. As we finished our breakfast, they were setting up for lunch. It appeared their lunch was a grab and go type lunch. They had whole chickens and such that you could purchase.
After our late breakfast, we decided just to walk around. We stumbled upon some interesting sites. We wandered in and out of a few churches, taking in the amazing artistry and architecture of each. Honestly, I really have no clue where we went and exactly what we saw because we just wandered. It was super relaxing and enjoyable. Again, I can't think of a time where I've spent so much time just relaxing with my husband with no bickering and no real fuss. I think we both enjoyed being out of our element and just exploring. We stopped in at a random restaurant and ordered a bottle of wine to split. We enjoyed our bottle and then set off to explore more.
We meandered our way to Piazza Navona (a place we were told by friends we needed to go). We wandered the square. Took in all the fountains and architecture. It honestly reminded me so much of downtown Charleston surprisingly. It was rather quiet and quaint. We figured what better thing to do on a Monday, then day drink. We sat down at another restaurant overlooking Piazza Navona. We ordered a bottle of Rose. We weren't quite hungry yet, so we just sat there and drank our Rose. The waiter was rather rude about us just ordering drinking and not eating. We ordered some bruschetta to get him to calm down. Once we finished our wine, we dipped out. Overall, the service in Rome was not bad, but people like this waiter give it a bad name. It was just off-putting.
We continued to wander around stopping for some gelato. We stumbled upon the huge statue and very governmental looking building with, once again, TONS of steps. We went up the steps and discovered this was where they had their Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. There were two armed guards standing by it. We found out that this was the "Capitol Hill" of Rome. We found another place to climb and sit. We sat and just took in the views.
We continued our day drinking journey by going back to our favorite rooftop, Les Etoiles. We ordered another bottle of wine. The sky was starting to turn and it cooled off fast, so we high tailed it inside. We had a few more drinks before calling it a day. (I had a few too many drinks, admittedly!).
We Ubered back to the AirBnB. I fell asleep instantly. Zach wandered down to get us a couple of pizzas. The AirBnb didn't have a dining room table, so we sat on the floor and ate our pizza straight out of the box.
Day Six (Tuesday)
Tuesday was our last day in Rome. We set aside visiting the Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel for Tuesday. Again, we didn't purchase our tickets ahead of time so we knew we would have to wait in line. We knew we needed to set out for our venture super early. We got up at 7 and were out the door by 7:30. We arrived at the Vatican Museums around 7:45 and the line was wrapped around the building. We knew the lines moved fast in Rome, so we didn't think much of it. After all, we thought, the Museum didn't open until 9 am. (We were wrong, it actually opened at 10, and ticket sales opened at 9...oops!).
As we stood in line, we chatted with this lovely engaged couple from NYC. They were fun to talk to. We talked about "city life" and basically all of their Roman adventures. We noticed the line was not moving at all, even after 10 am. By this point we had been in line close to 3 hours. Luckily there were snack stands all around so I got a snack so we didn't starve. We FINALLY got into the Museum around 11 am.
Navigating the Museum was tricky. As with everything in Rome, there was a million people everywhere we turned. We finally started our journey through the Museum. There were tons of guided tours and it was difficult to get around them so we would be stuck in certain points of the museum, unable to move to the next thing until the group moved. There were also so many small doorways and walkways. If you are claustrophobic, this is not the place for you. After wandering all the way through the Museum, we finally made it to the bottom. At the bottom of the Museum is the Sistine Chapel. The Sistine Chapel was extraordinary. I respected the no photos rule, and found a bench and sat down and took it all in. Literally, art everywhere you look. It was incredible to sit at such a seat of history. A memory I will never forget.
After exiting the Sistine Chapel, we decided to find the restaurant on site. The restaurant was actually quite lovely. Surprisingly they served alcohol at the Vatican, so we ordered a beer and lunch. (Again the server had a bit of an attitude, but we got over it. Thankfully, you don't feel obligated to tip in Europe, which made us not feel like complete jerks for not leaving anything extra). We enjoyed our lunch, and decided to call it a day and head back.
We relaxed for a while, then decided to go back one last time to our Trastavarian Square area. We found a nice restaurant (Grazie y Graziella). We ordered our last pizzas and reminisced on the trip. We decided to try and find that heavenly tiramisu one last time. We were successful in tracking it down. We ordered our last drinks and enjoyed the tiramisu. We were ready to come home, but sad that our vacation was over. It was a great end to an amazing trip.
Overall, I adored Rome. I would go back in a heartbeat. The only negatives were the travel time. Traveling back was a 20 hour day (because we gained 6 hours back). I hope that others have the opportunity to experience all that we got to experience. I recently read that 2017 was the year to travel to Italy and Spain due to insanely low flight costs. I encourage you, if you get the chance, to take advantage of the low costs and go explore Rome!
Below are the rest of the photos from our trip. Ciao!
Haley Parler Moore
Charleston resident. Digital Marketer. Crazy Crossfitter. Bulldog Mom. Wife. Gamecock fan. Constantly clad in Lululemon.