If you like the Colosseum photo above, you can purchase a digital print from my travel photos Etsy shop.
One of my favorite movies is Roman Holiday with Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck. It’s an old classic film set in Rome. Essentially, it’s about a romance that forms between the two as they explore The Eternal City. The film also romanticizes the city as it highlights the Spanish Steps, the Mouth of Truth, the Colosseum, and more!
So, I was quite excited to finally visit Rome. It felt like a nice change of pace coming from our much-needed R+R efforts on the Amalfi Coast. Mostly, I was looking forward to exploring the historic sites that I’ve only seen in history books and movies.
But I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. I friend had told me that she hadn’t liked Rome. That it was a “dirty city”. And so my expectations were kind of low. Which might have been the best thing, because Rome ended up taking me by surprise. I loved it! It’s a vibrant and romantic city, and I could have easily spent a few more days there.
One of my favorite things about Rome is that it’s a walkable city. We had stayed in a central location (near the Pantheon). So we could easily walk to so many places in just 15-2o minutes. And trust me, you’re going to want to walk the city. There are so many cobblestone alleyways to explore. The cobblestone streets – That was another one of my favorite things!
Since our Airbnb was so close to the Pantheon, that was our first stop. It’s surreal seeing something that you’ve seen in history books in real life. It’s just hanging out right in the middle of the Piazza della Rotonda. Accompanied by its partnered Fontana del Pantheon.
And that’s the thing about Rome. Everything is so unassuming. Things sneak up on you. You’ll turn a corner and then, boom, there’s the gorgeous Trevi Fountain.
By the way, the Trevi Fountain is 85 feet tall and almost 65 feet wide. Guess how long it took to complete? 30 years! Isn’t that crazy.
Don’t forget to toss a coin into the fountain. Because there’s a legend behind it! If you toss a coin from your right hand over your left shoulder, it ensures you’ll come back to Rome in the future. Oh, and just for fun, don’t forget to make a wish as you do so!
The rest of the day was spent exploring a few other parts of the city. This included crossing the Tiber to check out the neighborhood of Trastevere. It’s a charming neighborhood full of restaurants, bars, cobblestone alleyways, and town squares galore.
One thing to add to your Rome to-do list: If you have nice weather as we did, make sure to enjoy the gelato. I had two scoops: Chocolate on the bottom and Pistachio on top. It’s so good! I’m still dreaming of that gelato. We bought it near the impressive Piazza Navona. Buy a scoop or two and then stroll through the square. It featured three gigantic fountains, including the famous Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi.
And then finally, that night, we went back over to Piazza della Rotonda and had dinner in front of the Pantheon. I still feel pretty cool being able to say that! 🙂
On our second day in Rome, we visited (and toured) the Colosseum, the Roman Forum, and Vatican City.
If you want to do the tours, I’d recommend paying a bit extra and reserving your tickets online. This will get you a ‘fast pass’ entry. And trust me, it’s worth it. Otherwise, we would have spent hours just sitting in line. Another tip: The earlier you get there (especially for the Colosseum), the better.
The light isn’t bad in the morning, too. 🙂
From the Colosseum, we went over to the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill. The Arch of Titus was quite impressive.
And then we made our way over to Vatican City.
One thing that I hadn’t expected about the Vatican was that it felt more like a grand museum. You walk through various rooms that are filled with historic statues, artifacts, and artwork.
And the other thing that surprised me? I hate saying this, but I wasn’t that impressed with The Sistine Chapel. My favorite room was actually the Gallery of Maps.
It was absolutely gorgeous. It’s a room almost 400 feet long of fresco paintings on every inch of the wall and ceiling. It’s masterpiece after masterpiece. I can’t even imagine how long it would have taken to complete.
And if Rome couldn’t get any better, we got a lovely surprise on our last day. We were up early and had explored all afternoon. But finally, we hit a wall. My sister and I were both really tired. So, we decided to go back to our Airbnb to take a nap.
Thankfully, we got up just before sundown. And so, in a last-minute attempt to see the gardens of Villa Borghese (it was on our list), we decided to rush over before it got dark. And our timing was perfect because just as we got to the upper terrace, we had the most beautiful sunset.
Ah, Rome. If the Trevi Fountain legend is true, I’ll definitely come back to see you again one day. <3
And that’s the end of my travel series from my most recent trip to Europe. So what’s next? I’d love to share some of my favorite spots a little closer to home. Expect to see a few upcoming posts about California. You must come to visit!
Let’s go places,
What did I miss in Rome? Share with us in the comment section below.
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