Friday, May 22, 2015

Rome Wasn't Seen in a Day

Rome wasn't built in a day, but it wasn't seen in a day, either. At least I didn't see it in a day.

A while ago, my friend Nikki suggested that I join her on her 11-day trip through Italy. How could I say no?! Rome was the first stop on our list, and I'm so glad we started there. While the temperature was in the sweltering 80s the entire time, we dodged this past week's highs into the 90s. I'm the biggest wimp when it comes to heat--just looking at the numbers leaves me in a sweat!

Obviously, it took more than a day to explore Rome. (And if you know anyone who did it all in less than 24 hours, call me, and I'll give them a medal.) Between Vatican City, the Roman Forum, the Colosseum, the Pantheon, the beautiful churches and basilicas, and the food, I just had to divide up Rome. Let's dive into our first day!

We stayed at the most charming Airbnb, and it was by far the best one in which I've ever stayed. Nikki found this apartment in the Trastevere neighborhood, which is central to literally everything but somehow nearly devoid of tourists. Locals also flock to this area for its restaurants, and I can affirm that they have very good reason. If you're interested in staying here, it's only 70€ a night for the apartment but can accommodate up to six people (though I'd recommend a maximum of four, as there are two giant beds), and it comes with a fully equipped kitchen and even air conditioning! (Air conditioning was our godsend throughout our entire Italy trip.) The best perk is that they welcome you with pizza and a bottle of wine of your choice. Feel free to book through my Airbnb link to save 22€ off of your booking!

Our host also told us a fun money-saving trick--those faucets that you see running all over the city? That's all drinkable water! Just keep refilling your water bottle and bring that to dinner, rather than paying 2-3€ for table water.

Once we were settled in our cozy apartment, we ventured into the city. Piazza Navona is not only a must see, but it's also super hard to miss. Bernini's architecture has held up since the 17th century, and I'm sure it looks just as beautiful today as it did 400 years ago.

To get some good views of the city, we went to Castel Sant'Angelo, a mausoleum nearly 1000 years old. There was a ton of climbing involved, but the views were magnificent--you could even see the Vatican. Getting lost in the complex was actually pretty fun!

You really can't go to Rome and not see the Pantheon, one of the best preserved pieces of ancient Roman architecture. This present-day church, which houses Raphael's tomb, used to be a pagan house of worship, paying hommage to the Roman gods.

We also checked off the Spanish Steps and Trevi Fountain off of our list. The steps were overflowing with tourists and were difficult to appreciate, and Trevi is still under significant scaffolding. At least we got to see the architecture, but there's no water--definitely not how I pictured it!

We had such a great first day in Rome, but the ones that followed were even better--stay tuned! Ciao bella!

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