Travel :: Rome. Part 1.

Monday, March 31, 2014

I hope you all had a great weekend! I know Mondays can be a total drag, so I thought it would be a good day to start our Europe recaps. Just pretend you're not at work or that its much warmer outside when you look at these!

I'm doing these recaps for my memory's sake, but no judgement if you just aren't interested in pretty pictures or our trip in general. I'm hoping to share some insights that might help others planning a similar trip. Also, I plan to break up the posts so you get some normal, non-travel posts here and there throughout the next few weeks!


Our flights transferred in Atlanta's brand new international wing before heading to Rome's Fiumicino airport. We upgraded to Delta's "Economy Comfort" seats in order to get more legroom. The seats were by far the most uncomfortable seat I've ever sat in. Did I mention we were right next to the bathroom? For 9 hours we had people lining up (in our extra leg room) for the bathroom. It didn't smell but it did mean zero sleep for either of us before touching down with a full day ahead in Rome.

Once we landed, we took a cab to Hotel Nazionale. It's a beautiful four-star hotel in short walking distance to most sites. It was also directly across from the Italian Parliament building which meant it was a limited traffic zone and a hundred times more quiet (and safe) there than anywhere else in Rome.


The hotel had the old charm on the outside and lobby, but the rooms were all updated, which was a really nice combination. Look for their specials during the off-season, we got one free night! We were allowed to check in several hours early, so we did the most logical thing you would do when you've been up for most of the day. Yep, we took a nap.

Our afternoon on the first day included a walk to the Pantheon and Trevi Fountain, both of which were way bigger than I expected. (I've got some iPhone photos thrown in here. We opted to give our phone to someone to take our photo rather than risk someone stealing my Canon)


Of course we threw some coins in with a few wishes, safely ensuring we would make it back to Rome someday.



We also walked to the Spanish Steps, which was underwhelming in my opinion. Especially because everywhere you walked street vendors were getting in your face trying to sell you the weirdest items, like squishy things that squeaked when you threw them on the ground. Apparently those are hot with tourists or something...


The start of the many too-close-for-comfort selfies from our trip.
We stopped by Giolitti for gelato, which was my favorite gelato place from our trip. It was conveniently located next door to our hotel so we made a few trips. It was always packed and you knew it was good because Italians flocked to in the early evening every single day. FYI, you have to pay for your gelato first then take your receipt over to the counter to pick out your flavors. The fragola (strawberry) was the.best.ever.


Some iPhone photos thrown in here...

For dinner, we headed to Piazza Navona and found an outdoor table about a block away at Ciccia Bomba. I got their Margherita Pizza and Steve got the Rigatoni with Bacon. Both were really delicious, probably one of our better meals in Rome. Of course the ambiance at the outdoor table made it even more charming.

I recommend walking off the beaten path for a restaurant. Anything on the main walkways leading to sites or in front of the sites themselves had just 'okay' food. Stick to just their house wine if you really want to enjoy the view, that is what we did by the Pantheon.


We also found a Steeler bar in Rome... talk about random! La Botticella is a block off of Piazza Navona so we had to stop in. They had Steeler and Pittsburgh garb all over this tiny little bar, and we chatted with the owner before snapping a photo of Jesus with a Steelers helmet and moving on.


The next morning we caught a cab to the Vatican. We arranged an English tour of the Vatican, Sistine Chapel, Museums, the Raphael Rooms and St. Peter's Bascilica directly through the Vatican (here) for 37 Euros a person. Other private tours were as much as 80 euros per person, and we were really happy with ours!

The carbs were already making their way to my face!
Inside St. Peter's Bascilica
Again, the size of everything was just over the top. And the level of detail was just amazing!

Michelangelo's Pieta, which was blocked by glass

Awkward purse placement = Habit of making sure we didn't get pick-pocketed!
We mailed postcards from the Vatican Post Office. They haven't been delivered yet but I think it will be a nice surprise for our parents when they do come!


We walked back from the Vatican, stopping at the Castel Sant'Angelo before having lunch at a small, very authentic restaurant in Campo De' Fiori. (Sorry, don't remember the name of it, but there are tons in that area so I don't think you can go wrong!)


The view from Castel Sant'Angelo... the wall to the right was used to help the Pope escape the Vatican if it was necessary

Campo De' Fiori

See that gorgeous bouquet for only 3 Euros? In my opinion, Italian men have no excuse not to bring home beautiful flowers for their lady.

Next up, Ancient Rome! Here is a sneak peek from our underground tour of the Colosseum!



29 comments:

  1. When you said you were worried about letting a random stranger use your camera and take your picture all I could think about was in European Vacation. When the French man steals Chevy Chases' camera because they asked him to take their picture and puts the nude pictures of Beverly Deangelo that were on the camera all over Paris! Please tell me you've seen it! Your pictures are gorgeous! Love the ranunculus they're too pretty! Can't wait for more posts!

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  2. I loved Rome! I got to relive it for a little bit this morning with your pics. Looks like you had a good time :)

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  3. Love the pics! It reminds me of our honeymoon to Italy and Croatia! Takes me back to the glorious people watching and yummy house wines! Keep em' coming!

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    1. Ah that must have been such an amazing honeymoon!! Croatia looks beautiful!!

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  4. I love vacation/travel posts! And I'm excited to read yours and remember my trips to Italy!

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  5. I can't wait for your ancient Rome post! This one was so much fun to read!

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  6. Great photos! I want to go to Rome someday. Can't wait to see more! :)

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  7. Pictures are amazing that's one of my goals; to visit Rome. And by the way your curls are to die for. I love curly hair.

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  8. I love Rome! What beautiful pictures!

    ~Ashley @ A Cute Angle
    acutelifestyle.blogspot.com
    *join the Monday Madness link up!*

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  9. Absolutely beautiful, love all the pics and can't wait to see more!

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  10. So fun! And you are on it with your vacation photo post! I'm still working on getting all of mine out and we went to Italy last April! Oops! :)

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  11. SO beautiful! your photos make me really miss Italy! xo jillian - cornflake dreams

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    1. Thank you so much!! I miss Italy just looking at them too!

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  12. Just beautiful!! Rome is one of my favorite cities in the world. I could have stayed up all night every night and just walked the streets.

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  13. it is so pretty there! it looks like you had a blast!!!
    xx

    http://kristinnleighhh.blogspot.com/

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  14. My husband totally has the same shirt Steve is wearing in the first pics ha. You're bringing me right back to Rome with these pictures. Sigh. Happy Monday :)

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  15. Oh, what a fun looking trip! It looks like such a pretty place to visit!

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  16. Fabulous photos!! What kind of camera do you have?

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  17. What a wonderful trip! You are making me miss Rome! It looks like y'all had a fantastic time, I can't wait to see your pictures from the Roman Forum!

    Caitlin C
    www.withpearlsandastethoscope.com

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  18. Your photos are gorgeous!! That gelato looks so yummy...

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  19. I love looking at your photos! Makes me feel like I'm back in Europe even though it's been years! Rome and Venice were my two favorite Italian cities!

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  20. Beautiful photos!! I studied abroad in Rome and this is bringing back so many wonderful memories!! The Spanish Steps were probably the best place to people watch - such an amazing city!!

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  21. Reminds me of all of the highlights from my trip in 2009, only the underground area of the Colosseum wasn't open, darn! Great photos! It looks like you had a lovely time.

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  22. Gorgeous pictures! Can't wait to see more!

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  23. Loving the pictures and recommendations. We are going to Rome in June and I can't wait!

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