Vacanze Romane (Part 1)
For fall break I traveled to the lovely country of Italia, where I walked everywhere, ate all the time, and took many naps. I was lucky enough to travel to four amazing cities: Rome, Venice, San Marino, and Bologna. In this post I’ll be telling you all about Roma! Yay!
Rome is majestic. It’s like being in a fairytale, but not in the Gothic, Brothers Grimm sense. The architecture is ancient and absolutely stunning. The streets are cobblestone. The cars are vicious. The dogs are scrappy and cute. As I traveled nearly 2 miles to visit a Basilica on my first day, I realized that Rome is filled with endless possibilities.
Basilica San Paolo Fuori le Mura was my first tourist attraction! Simply put, this Basilica was amazing. The inside was so spacious and beautiful. The ceiling was unlike any other I had seen before. There was even an outside cloister with a rose garden and religious artifacts on the wall. It was a long journey to get there, but it was well worth it.
On my second day I walked 45 mins to arrive to the famous Spanish Steps for a free walking tour. On the tour we stopped at the Pantheon (a Roman temple), Piazza Navona, which had the famous Fountain of Four Rivers, and Vatican City, home of St. Paul’s Basilica and the Sistine Chapel.
The evening I learned even more about Rome on another walking tour, because I had slept for almost 2 hours after my first one and consumed a whole pizza by myself, so I had enough fuel to do it all again. This nighttime tour was all about Rome’s hidden mysteries and ghost stories. I can’t give too much away because I had to say and oath and sign in my blood (okay…maybe that did’t happen) but I will tell you that two main highlights of the tour included visiting Campo de’Fiori and Castel Sant’Angelo, which looked like it belonged on the book cover for Dan Brown’s Angels and Demons.
A new day in Rome means another walking tour. This time it was themed around my favorite topic: FOOD!
The food tour took us through an area of Rome called Testaccio. We started out at pastry shop and sampled some Tiramisu in a chocolate cup. Next, we headed to a store called Volpetti which had the best selection of cheese and prosciutto I’ve ever had. At the Testaccio Market we had some delicious bruschetta (correctly pronounced BRU-SKET-A) and buffalo mozzarella. I then made it to pasta heaven and got to try 3 different types of pasta at a restaurant. Just when I thought I couldn’t eat anymore we were treated to suppli’ (fried risotto ball) and gelato. AND during the tour we even got to see the tomb of John Keats at a beautiful non-Catholic cemetery.
For my final day in Rome I chose to visit the Torre Argentina Cat Sanctuary. Did you know I love cats? (If you read some of my earlier entries, you know what I’m talkin’ about). This place was pretty magically. Basically, in the middle of a fairly busy area, there are what remains of a few Roman temples. Supposedly, this is the spot where Julius Caesar was killed. The temples are surrounded by a wall of glass, and they are home to Rome’s stray cat population. Some like to chill out among the ruins, others are friendly and look for the affection of humans. I was lucky enough to meet one which sat in my lap and gladly accepted a massage for 20 mins! After the sanctuary, I made my way over to Old Bridge Gelateria, one of the best gelato places in all of Italy. It was a wonderful way to end my time in Roma!
Stay tuned for Part Due of my adventures in Italy, which includes stories about flooding, fog, and vampires!