I feel like I say this a lot about many things, but considering life is a bucket list I’ll say it again – it has always been a dream of mine to visit Rome. I’m half Italian and visiting once as a tot doesn’t exactly count as an experience in my books. I had come close on a few past occasions but I guess reality, and let’s be honest here – dodgy relationships – have always got in the way. I had made myself a promise though this year that I would do more of what makes me happy and experience more adventure, so Roma, we finally meet!
I don’t even know where to start on this blog post; do I start from the beginning or highlight the best bits? Truth is, there’s so much wandering to do in the city of romance that you fall in love at every turn. The city itself looks like it’s been lost in time. The architecture stands tall with practically every building featuring base and batten shutters, Juliet balconies (of course) and then the most key buildings with hand carved stone statues of angels and semi nude Romans. Only in Italy.
We spent our first day at the Colosseum – the ancient battle ground of the gladiators, where men against their will would fight wild beasts. Others however, did so voluntarily in a bid for fame and fortune. Pretty morbid if you ask me. We booked our tickets for an early entry, knowing that by midday it’d be nearing on a scorching 40 degrees. Although I did find this temperature pretty blissful.
After a morning of history, discovery and let’s be real, many selfies, we headed for a stroll around the city where we stopped for our first real meal in Italy, that definitely lived up to the hype. The set up of Rome reminds me a bit of home in London, where you can wander in any direction and find something just as beautiful as the last, whether it’d be another iconic landmark or even a cute street with ambience and quirky cafés. On this instance, we ended up bumping into the Pantheon.
We concluded day one of our trip with dining out at a restaurant just round the corner from our hotel. The waiters in Italy are extremely friendly – perhaps even a little too friendly, so bare that in mind if visiting with the gals. I’m not sure if it’s culture, but after this dinner we were embraced with a hug and a kiss on the cheek… when in Roma…
The second day of our trip hit us on Sunday. Like in many European cities, not much is open on a Sunday so instead we spent the morning at Porta Portese market, Rome’s largest and busiest flea market, selling everything from clothes and jewellery to suitcases and furniture. The market is located by the River Tiber and is super easy to get to by metro. Not to mention a metro pass is only €1.50 for a 100-minute tab! We bought a couple of tourists tees, magnets and the usual you’d expect that morning, then we headed back into the city.
Back in the centre, we were once again just taking a stroll in the sunshine and ended up stumbling upon the great Spanish Steps, so of course up I went… My friend decided to sit this one out, but in all honestly, the 135 steps really just felt like a few. I swear it’s more painful taking them at Covent Garden (Londoners, this will make sense). The view is amazing and you can step inside the church located at the top (as long as your shoulders and knees are covered)… so straight down I went…
Remembering it was the day of rest, we next headed towards the Trevi Fountain. This was the place I was most looking forward to seeing and it did not disappoint. I expected a pretty monument with a few tourists and locals passing by, but what we found was beyond my imagination. The Trevi Fountain stands at a staggering 26.3 metres high, with larger than life sized statues and an incredible ambience. You truly believe your wish will come true when you stand gazing upon the art.
We fell so in love with the Trevi Fountain that we decided we just had to go back that evening with a better outfit to of course get some Instagram worthy shots. I know, I could and probably should lie here, but hey ho! We also discovered that night that when catching a taxi in Rome, they literally drive you right outside the destination. We’re talking, on the pavements and through the pedestrians, that you could practically throw your coin out the window and straight into the fountain. Right hand, left shoulder, close your eyes tight and make a wish! Also, fun fact – if you wait long enough into the night, the crowd clears up and you can get a picture with no distractions.
I’m becoming aware of how long this post is becoming and I’m getting carried away in the memories. I’ll keep things more straight forward though from here, promise. Monday treated us to a morning well spent at the Vatican Museums, where inside lies the Sistine Chapel.
We later moved onto St. Peter’s Basilica, then out of the Vatican City and back towards the River Tiber where the Bocca della Verità (mouth of truth) is found. Rumour has it that if you put your hand in the lion’s mouth and tell a lie, it would be chopped off. Which doesn’t explain why my dad told me to do exactly that before getting on the plane…
I had an amazing four days in Rome with my friend. Full of laughter, song, food, wine and so many pictures – our record I think was around 60 outside one landmark. I mean that’s kinda impressive really. For our last night we headed back to the Colosseum which was walking distance from our hotel. We sat down for dinner on a terrace overlooking the landmark then just found a place to sit just outside it. It was around 10.30pm on this final night; it was 27 degrees, no breeze, little tourists and one acoustic guitar strumming beautiful Mediterranean tunes as we sat beneath the Colosseum reflecting on the mini-break of a lifetime. Roma, I love you.