Sunday, February 10, 2013

Sotto il cielo di Roma

This weekend I made my first overnight trip to Rome, Hostel and everything! I was a little worried about it at first but it ended up being fantastic. For this trip I was the one calling the shots which is difficult for me because I'm never the one to make decisions. But I was the "girl with the map." Once you figure out how the subway (metro) system works, Rome is a synch to figure out. But getting to that point proved to be quite difficult.

We left comfortable Arezzo around 10 a.m. on Saturday and arrived at the Roma Termini station a little before 1. First obstacle, finding our hostel.  I intentionally booked a hostel that was very near the train station, which ended up being a great idea. It wasn't in the most populated area but that made it much cheaper. After asking for directions, the first of many times, we were walking up to our tiny little hostel that could pass for a normal apartment building.  We checked in, got our keys, found our rooms, and then we were off to explore the city!

The two things I wanted to see were the Colosseum and Trevi Fountain.  The colosseum was either a half an hour walk or a 5 minute subway ride, we chose the shorter route. But by the time we actually found the right station and line, it had been a lot longer then 30 minutes. We finally found the correct line that would take us to the "Colosseo" station. During the ride I had mentioned that as soon as I stepped out of the station I wanted to see the Colosseum, and I did. You literally walk up from under the ground and BAM there's the Colosseum. It took my breath away.  Seeing well-known objects in person is one of the most surreal moments, I cannot describe the feeling. We opted out of actually going inside to avoid waiting in a 3 hour line so we just walked around it, marveled, took lots of pictures, and marveled more.

Around the Colosseum is pretty spectacular also. Right next to it is the Arc of Constantine, Arc of Titus, Palatino, Cico Massimo, and so on. So many historic sights are in that area, I just wish I knew a lot more about them. After spending some time in BC Rome we walked up the street to see the Monumento Nazionale a Vittorio Emanuele II building, also known as the "Wedding Cake" building.  This was the largest building I've ever seen in my life. And I've seen big buildings, the Empire State Building has nothing on this thing. I might have strained my neck from looking up so much, it was just so beautiful. But it was time to see my next stop, the Trevi Fountain. We got turned around a few times but ended up seeing the Teatro Marcello, which looks like a miniature Colosseum. Realizing we were going in the exact opposite direction, we turned around and got to see all of the beautiful buildings again!

I'm pretty sure I squealed whenever I saw the fountain, it was spectacular and I never wanted to leave. The piazza around the fountain was swarming with people, but we pushed our way through to be right up next to the water.  I grabbed my penny and what happened? I didn't know what to wish for! I had been so excited to see it that I hadn't even thought about what my wish was going to be! I finally thought of one and threw in my penny. Hopefully it'll come true! After we all made our wishes we were off to see the Pantheon, Piazza Novana, and Spanish Steps. Dinner proved to be very difficult to find because we are cheap college students. We were going to settle for just an apertivo, but the place we found had the worst selection of appetizers but we had already ordered our drinks so it was to late to leave.  Liz and I were still starving so we found a cute little restaurant near our hostel that didn't have a coperto (cover charge) and they were playing the local soccer match also!

The next day we packed up, checked out, and were off to see the Pope! Finding the Vatican was very easy because you just follow the crowd.  We made it in the Piazza around 11 so we spent time looking around, taking pictures, and people watching.  Seriously some of the best people watching ever. Then finally at noon, the windows open, curtains are drawn, the crowd goes crazy, and then the Pope steps into the window for everyone to see him! He was very very tiny because his window is really high up, but we still saw him and got to hear his weekly address. It was such an amazing experience. 15 minutes later we were attempting to leave the Vatican to go back to Rome. Picture thousands of people trying to leave the same place at the same time through the tiniest entryways. It was poor planning. But we made our way through the crowd, back into Rome, on the subway, ran to our train, and barely made it on the train before it pulled out of the station!

This trip was definitely a growing experience for me. From picking the hostel, train times, what to see, and where to eat. It was all in my hands, which is a lot of pressure! I think I'll let someone else take charge of the next trip.

Lessons learned:
-Always have a plan and a back-up plan
-Don't eat at places next to important monuments or Piazzas (you will get charged 5 Euro for a cappuccino)
-Always have a decisive person with you
-Plan out the train schedules into your schedule
-Don't wear cute shoes that are "sort of comfortable"
-Be a tourist first, then a knowledgeable traveler
-Always ask if there's a cover charge

Things I ate and drank:
-Margarita pizza (I always have a pizza everywhere I go to see who has the best)
-Weird appetizers
-House wine from the best penne pasta place
-5 Euro cappuccino with an incredible view of the Colosseum
-3 Euro cappuccino and my first muffin since I've been here!

Rome pizza. I ate it all. No regrets. 

First sites of the Colosseum. Truly remarkable 

Arc of Constantine 

Best view you can get!

"Cake" Building. Pretty incredible 

I seriously almost cried whenever I saw this. 


Throw what you know 

We went to another Country! 

The Pope! He's up there don't worry :) 


  1. Love it, love it, love it! Love you! Mom

  2. Love you too! Can't wait for you guys to see it!