When In Rome

For the second half of our trip to Europe, we stayed in Rome! Rome is also often known as the Eternal City, which we found is quite the fitting name. After visiting this magical place, I certainly wouldn't mind staying for eternity.

Four days wasn't nearly enough time here, but we did manage to pack in a lot in our short visit. So much, in fact, that it took me just about six months to both get this post going and to finally get over my achilles tendinitis - which originated from walking over seven miles a day. Note to self: Steve Madden boots are not at all good walking shoes.

Day 1: October 22, 2013
Navona, Corso, Spagna

Day 2: October 23, 2013
Colosseum, Roman Forum, Campidoglio, Ghetto, Trastevere, Campo

Day 3: October 24, 2013
Aimlessly Wandering

Day 4: October 25, 2013
Vatican, St. Peter's, Castel Sant'Angelo

Piazza Navona

Our hotel was two blocks from this adorable city square, and it was one of the first places we saw. Fondly known as Rome's most "celebrated square," this large open area features ornate fountains, baroque buildings, colorful street artists, and lots and lots of tourists (who will gladly take your photo). We bought a painting of the piazza from a really talented watercolor artist, who put up with our hour-long deliberating on which painting to purchase. They were all so great, it was hard to choose! Piazza Navona is a great place to sit and watch the world go by.

Campo dei Fiori

I could have spent hours in this open air market just south of Piazza Navona. It was the cutest! Fun souvenirs of all kinds are available here, like dried pastas, spices, ceramics, olive oils, fruits, vegetables, clothing, flowers, and more. It's definitely worth a leisurely stroll through. We picked up a lot of things here (like truffle olive oil) that ended up being squeezed in our suitcase carry-on (and examined by Italian poliziotti at the airport) for the trip home.

Colosseum/Roman Forum 

This was one activity in Rome we wanted to make sure we did right, so we purchased a tour. We woke up bright and early for our half a day adventure, and it was worth it! We got to walk along Palentine Hill, see the forum ruins, and trapes around the Colosseum with the help of the nicest guide. We were looking forward to going down to the bottom, underground area where the animals and gladiators were held, but a large rock recently had caved in and so we weren't allowed down there. Darn, I guess we'll just have to come back...


We spent many hours wandering the windy, cobblestone streets of Trastevere, an area of Rome separated by the Tiber river. One minute you'll be wandering through a tiny alley and then come across a magnificent church. Small restaurants, warm colors, and hanging plants make the character of this neighborhood unparalleled to any other part of Rome we experienced. It just felt local and we loved it!

We hiked it to the top of the Gianicolo Hill for beautiful views of the city from the other side of the river.

Trevi Fountain/Fontana di Trevi

The Trevi Fountain was a madhouse at literally all hours of the day, sort of like Times Square in NYC. We passed by it on several occasions and each time, we managed to ignore the throng of tourists and take it all in. It's huge, amazing, historic, and romantically lit at night.

We walked by the Pantheon several times a day and could not stop staring each visit. It's magnificent.

Vatican City/St. Peter's Basilica/Scavi Tour

Our time in Vatican City was some of my favorite time spent the entire trip.

The Sistine Chapel was incredible to see in person and the paintings appeared (at least to me) to be in 3D! I felt like they kept coming closer and closer, away from the ceiling and towards me. St. Peter's Basilica is majestic, impressive, and so elaborate. After touring the enormous interior of the Basilica, we half rode on an elevator, half climbed a bagillion stairs (or 320) to the top of the great dome, often described as Michelangelo's greatest architectural achievement. Getting up there was an adventure in and of itself, but the views were totally worth it.

The Scavi tour was one of the coolest things we've done and I highly recommend it if you can get tickets. Because of just how darn old and historic this place is, only around 250 visitors per day are permitted to enter. The Vatican Grottoes is the level below the floor of St. Peter's where several popes and a few royals are buried. But below the Grottoes is the ancient Necropolis, aka the Roman "city of the dead" and excavations of St. Peter's tomb. After squeezing through a narrow, triangular walkway, which was opened via an extremely modern sliding door, we walked along narrow paths right next to one of the walls of the original Basilica. There were rows and rows of creepy old tombs. Everything down there is thousands of years old; it was dark, small, and enclosed, so we couldn't bring in backpacks or cameras. We were accompanied by a young guide from the States so we felt right at home as he told turned the tour into a story of the search for the tomb of the Apostle Peter.

So those were the highlights of our trip to Rome! We spent lots of time wandering the streets and soaking up the atmosphere and art featured in other piazzas and churches. You can walk into almost any church and find a masterpiece by Raphael, Michelangelo, or countless other famous artists. We took tons of pictures of these too, but there's just no room! Miscellaneous pictures from our wanderings are below:

Castel Sant'Angelo at dawn

You can drink right out of the ancient fountains found on nearly every street corner

Bocca della Verità, or "The Mouth of Truth." Starting from the Middle Ages, it was believed that if one told a lie with one's hand in the mouth of the sculpture, it would be bitten off. We got bit.

The Gardens of Villa Borghese, looking down on Piazza del Popolo

The Spanish Steps

Caught in the rain - Piazza del Popolo

Coming up next - Roma food!


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