When in Rome

I recently travelled to Rome with my sister.  3 whole days with no children, unbroken sleep, no work and plenty of gelato!  To say we enjoyed it would be an understatement – it was fantastic.  We laughed so much, talked a LOT and caught up on all the things we never get time to any more (catching up with 3 under 5’s in tow is never straightforward!) and took in all sorts of cultural wonderfulness.

When we arrived at the hotel we were both so pleased with it’s location.  It was on a tiny cobbled street, with tall buildings on either side and balconies overlooking eachother. Typically Italian, exactly what we wanted.  It was also only a 5 minute walk to the Spanish Steps, otherwise know as Scalinata di Trinità dei Monti as we found out.  In fact, nearly all of the big landmarks were within a decent walking distance.  Our feet lived to tell the tale for a while once we arrived home!
We arrived mid-afternoon and after quickly unpacking and a little scout of the hotel, we headed straight to the Spanish Steps.  It was crazily busy, so we just had a look and moved right on past – to the nearest bar.  For March it was unseasonably warm.  We had expected slightly warmer weather to the UK, but it was hot!  We sat outside and enjoyed an Aperol Spritz (or two), then wandered back through the streets to meet our tour guide for the evening.  He turned out to be a sweet little older guy, with SO much knowledge about Rome.  Neither my sister nor I were very interested in the history of Rome and the Vatican, or so we thought.  About 15 minutes into the tour we were chatting at the back of the group, taking a few snapshots here and there, when we blindly followed the guide up a few steps and into a nondescript old building.  And wow, we were both speechless.  He had taken us into a beautiful church, hidden among shops and tourist points right in the centre of Rome.  The decor was amazing, the ceilings and art phenomenal.  From that moment on we paid closer attention to what the guide was telling us.
That first evening we dined al fresco and enjoyed an impromptu opera performance by some buskers.  Slightly different to the kind of buskers we’re used to on the London Underground!  To finish off the night we indulged in a scoop of Snickers gelato, and got lost on the way back to our hotel.  Yes, it was very central, but the wine was strong!  We eventually found a cab rank, although actually finding a cab driver available to take us what turned out to be approximately 3 minutes down the road was a feat in itself.  Finally back to the hotel, we passed out with exhaustion, dreaming of the Italian coffee and pastries awaitin us the next morning.
The next day we headed straight to the Vatican.  We took in the museums and the monumental artwork collections, were in awe of the ceilings in literally every single room, and laughed immaturely at some of the statues (when in Rome, right?!) Then we walked round to St Peter’s Square and took in the huge queues for entry.  We quickly decided there was too much to see and too little time to spend 4 hours waiting to go in.  Outside was enough for us!  The weather was still glorious, so we took our first Metro journey back to our hotel and wandered the streets some more.  We ended up back at the Trevi Fountain.  We had found it when we were lost the previous night, and subsequently passed it 3 times on our way back to our hotel.  It is quite magnificent at nighttime, but with the sun shining on the aqua water it was just beautiful.  The perfect place to take a moment and just enjoy that moment.
 
Al fresco was the dining choice again that night.  It may be an obvious statement, but you really cannot beat pasta in Italy.  They really do it well.  Paired with some more lovely wine, and then a few cocktails later on in the evening, it’s safe to say we did Rome proud on our last night!
The next day we rose early to head to the Colosseum.  We joined our guide and headed inside.  This was the history I was really interested in.  The great gladiator battles and Roman Emperors; the so-called ‘entertainment’ of watching two men fight to the death, or a man being mauled to death by a crazed animal.  Fascinating.  We were guided over the Palatine Hill and through the Roman Forum.  More stories, this time about Romulus and Remus and the early Roman settlement.  More fascination.
Too soon it was time to head back to our hotel, grab our bags and jump in the cab headed for the airport.  Not before one more quick stop at our ‘favourite’ restaurant for one more drink in the sunshine (yes, we managed to find a favourite in less than 3 days!)  Little did we know at that point the 5 hours of delays awaiting us at the airport…  But despite the delays, I wouldn’t change a thing.  It was the perfect trip, with the perfect travelling buddy.

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