On Wednesday, March 22nd, we took a train from Venice to Rome. The train ride was very scenic and it went by fast (about a 3.5 hour ride). Once we arrived in Rome, we picked up our Romapass, which is a pretty good deal if you are planning to see several major sights in Rome. Then we took the metro to our airbnb. (Get $40 in travel credit when signing up here for Airbnb!)
Our host was there to greet us and give us a map of the neighborhood, which included her recommendations. Our flat was actually amidst some ruins and only a short walk to the Colosseum. As Giotto di Bondone said, “Rome is the city of echoes.”
There was an amazing cafe near our airbnb that served delicious coffee and donuts, so we were able to start the next day off right.
Then we walked to the Colosseum for a tour. It was crowded (of course), but such an amazing sight.
Next, we headed to the Roman Forum. I was not expecting the Roman Forum to encompass such a huge area. We actually spent several hours here. Pretty incredible place!
We also got to see a cool view of the Colosseum.
Next, we walked up to Palatine Hill. It was beautiful.
That night, we went by the Trevi Fountain and then met up with my parents (who were doing a Rick Steve’s Italy Tour) for dinner. It was really nice to see them and discuss our travels thus far.
On Friday, we went to the Vatican. I got to cross #88 off my adventure list – see Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel in the Vatican City. However, this was not my favorite part of the trip. It was very crowded, especially in the Sistine Chapel. We were also tired from all the walking we did the previous day at the Roman Forum.
We had planned to go inside St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican City, but the line to get in was incredibly long so we didn’t even try. We enjoyed the view from the outside, and then headed back to Rome.
Next, we headed to the Pantheon. It was crowded, but still very cool to see.
We spent the rest of the day exploring Rome on our own.
We went inside some beautiful churches that we stumbled upon during our wandering.
We had dinner with my parents again that night. Delicious food, amazing wine, and wonderful company.
K and I took a daytrip to Pompeii on Saturday. We took an early morning bus which dropped us off right at Pompeii. We decided not to buy a return ticket yet since we didn’t know how long we wanted to spend at Pompeii. We figured that once we got there, we could find a bus station and buy a return ticket. Unfortunately, we walked and walked and could not find a bus station anywhere.
Luckily, I had printed off alternate directions to the train station, so we decided we would just sort that out when the time came. So we walked back and headed into Pompeii.
It was incredible. I had not expected that Pompeii would be so spread out. You can walk through the entire city – it was pretty amazing. Since the area is so big, even if there are a lot of people there, it doesn’t feel crowded. There were parts of Pompeii that we explored that made us feel like we were the only people there.
We followed this little walkway and we weren’t sure where we were going to end up…
After spending most of the day here, we were exhausted. We followed my directions to the train station and took a train to Naples. From there, we were able to get a train back to Rome. We were pretty relieved once we were on the last train – my directions panned out!
Sunday was our last day in Rome. We met up with my dad for coffee, and then wandered around the city, ending back up at the Trevi Fountain. My mom joined us for lunch before we parted ways for a few hours.
K and I went to Circus Maximus that afternoon, which was the ancient Roman chariot racing stadium. It was the perfect place to relax with a cold drink on a sunny afternoon. We also went by the Colosseum one last time.
We met up with my parents for our final dinner in Italy, where we reminisced our adventures, savored our pasta, and sipped some amazing Italian wine, but not for the last time. We will be back.
On Monday, K and I planned to grab coffee and breakfast from our favorite cafe near our flat. Alas, it was not open yet. So we headed to the airport for our first flight, which was to Amsterdam. We had a short layover and I bought some delicious waffle candy. So good!
Then we boarded our flight back to the United States. Goodbye, Europe. We will meet again someday! Until then, I will be dreaming of la dolce vita we lived while here.