In case you missed Part 1: London, Naples, and Positano- catch up here!
Leaving the coast was an adventure- a bus ride, train ride, another train ride, and then a bus ride where the bus actually broke down and we ended up hailing a cab- we made it to Rome pretty late. Our Air BnB host was AMAZING! He had a map ready for us and after telling him our reservation he basically mapped out the next two days for us so we could maximize our time. We grabbed a quick bite at a pizza place nearby (nothing compared to the pizza in Naples but 4 cheese pizza with gorgonzola is pretty much the best topping ever) and turned in to prepare for 2 super full days! Side note: the great thing about staying in the AirBnB is that I could use some of the extra space to get in some morning workouts (see my favorite go to here).
Since our time in Rome was brief we got our day started early by heading over to the Palantine Garden before our tour at the Colosseum. We grabbed a croissant for breakfast and then split one of the snack bars I packed. The garden was absolutely massive but stunning.
Pat had booked us a guided tour of the Colosseum so we could get a more behind the scenes look including a tour of the basement and attic. It was really interesting to hear about the various purposes it served over the past million years. The equipment they used so long ago and everything they were able to construct without modern technology and etc is so impressive. Like most of Italy (and Rome especially) the pictures fail to do the structure justice. Side note: lunch this day sucked- it was honestly the only bad meal I had in Italy and it wasn’t terrible it was just pretty disappointing in comparison to everything else we had.
After spending a couple hours at the Colosseum we moved to our directed route from our Air BnB host- next stop was the parliament building. Everything was pretty walkable from our room which nice and the mapped out route broke everything into smaller walks in between sites.
Next stop was something I was really excited for: Trevi Fountain! It was completely mobbed with tourist- as expected in the middle of the afternoon but we were still able to get close and toss in a coin that symbolizes the hope of returning to Rome.
A short walk (uphill) to the Spanish steps left us a little disappointed since they were under construction. Womp. We ended the day in Piazza del Popolo which had a huge stage set up for some kind of concert. As cool as it looked we were exhausted after being on our feet for several hours and walking all over Rome we hopped on the Subway back to our room. PS I need to give Pat serious props for all the navigating he did in every city- we had our data turned off on our smart phones so he was basically a map whiz.
This night was one of my favorites- best meal overall and fun times. For dinner we went to Roma Sparita which was walking distance from our room and recommended by our host. I ordered the cacio e pepper (cheese and pepper)- the Italians version of adult mac and cheese. This dish is served all over the country but at Roma Sparita it is served in a homemade cheese bowl- yes you read that right. It was a thing of my dreams. Simply amazing. Words cannot describe. Won’t even try. I really want to try to recreate this soon- if I do I will definitely share but it is far from a healthy dish. Funny thing here- I ordered the zucchini blossoms as an appetizer and pat ordered a salad for us to share and the waiter was like “you’re in Rome, don’t get a salad” so he ordered fried olives. That waiters thoughts must’ve stuck with me because I was having a daily salad at the shore and after that I had little interest in them. #wheninrome
After our amazing meal we went to an Italian craft beer bar. If you’ve ever read this blog before you know my husband and I are huge craft beer enthusiasts and we always look for breweries or bars to visit when we are in a new city. Obviously Italy isn’t known for their beer but we were pleasantly surprised and had a really fun time watching the Italy vs. Ireland Euro Cup game with the locals. Even though Italy ended up losing at the very end of the game we still had a great night.
The next morning we woke up early to see the Vatican! We were smart enough to reserve a spot early in the morning to avoid crowds and waiting in long lines. Our plan was successful and we set off to explore the inside.
Words cannot even begin to describe the amazing art the Vatican is home to… it definitely needs to be seen and experienced in person. It’s so moving, especially the Sistine Chapel (which cannot be photographed).
Of course I get there and realized I left my camera on all night and the battery is dying, awesome. So most of these photos are iphone pics- I was obsessed with the ceilings in every room, so remarkable.
We had an audio guide which was definitely much needed especially for the Sistine Chapel. Hearing about the events the frescos depicted was really fascinating and the views cannot be beat.
Coolest part of the whole tour was that since it is a special year in the Catholic Church there are Holy Doors to walk through to be forgiven of sins. These doors are usually only opened every 25 years so it was amazing timing for us to be able to experience an extra area, plus it’s always good to be forgiven of sin since none of us are perfect 😉 And yes I am Catholic so this did mean something to me.
After the Vatican we followed our route mapped out again by our air BnB host. We arrived outside Castel S’ant Angelo. We had opted to mostly see the sites during our days in Rome instead of trying to walk in and experience every one of them since we were limited on time.
At this point we were really hungry so luckily our next stop was Piazza Navona which we were told has good food options. We found a place with wifi and a/c and ordered. I had a squid ink risotto and Pat had a 4 cheese gnocchi- omg that sauce was unforgettable- the four cheese sauces I’ve had in my life basically sucked in comparison. I also ordered a side of garlic spinach because vegetables.
Happily fed we checked out the next monument on our itinerary the Pantheon. We took our pictures and went to a nearby café that was recommended by my good friend that studied abroad in Rome. Pat enjoyed his Jamaican Blue Mountain Espresso very much and even bought some beans to bring back.
We headed back earlier than the previous day to shower because we wanted to check out one more monument before dinner. Showering was a mistake because it was a much larger climb than we anticipated to Piazzale Garibaldi- one of the best lookout points of Rome. It wasn’t crowded at all which was nice so we snapped our pics and headed back down. We saw a bride and groom being photographed and a TV show being filmed on our way which was cool.
Dinner that night was at the famed Da Enzo Al 29, we only managed to get in because of someone’s canceled reservations. The restaurant was tiny and crowded, only about 22 seats but they were always filled and the line out front never ended. We started with the house wine and the creamiest burrata I could ever imagine. Pat had tried the classic Bolognese and spaghetti the night before and he wanted to compare entrees so he ordered it again tonight while I tried the carbonara. Best carbonara ever, hands down… just typing this and thinking about it is making me salivate. I was so full I couldn’t finish it but I had in the next day for breakfast, yum. Pat wanted to try their tiramisu so I had a few bites of that- again best tiramisu ever, probably because it was made with Nutella but this meal was epically good and definitely one of my favorites of our trip.
We headed back after dinner since it we had a busy next day ahead of us traveling to Florence! Part 3 recap to come soon!