At the beginning of the month myself and Jesse went away for a 3 day mini holiday to Rome, Italy. It was our first holiday away from Clem. We actually booked it last Christmas as Jesse gave me a voucher from Buyagift. The voucher was originally for a 2 night stay in the UK. But we couldn’t see anywhere we wanted to go. However for an extra £30 I could exchange it to Europe so we decided to do that. However then we had the problem of too much choice!
After taking to Instagram and asking several friends we ended up deciding on Rome. Neither of us had been to Italy before, and I can safely say that we would go back. We are both big fans of pasta, pizza and ice cream which is why it’s surprising that we haven’t been before! The voucher covered the hotel, so all we needed to do was book flights. We managed to get them cheap enough with EasyJet as we booked so far in advance. We picked a hotel that was close to the main train station and about a 15 minute walk to the Colosseum.
The weather both in the UK and Rome meant that we lost almost half a day due to delays. But we still managed to walk almost 30 miles during our trip. So trust me when I say comfy shoes are a must if you are planning to visit Rome. In between the heavy showers we managed to get out and about and discovered that Rome is a bit like London. In that the main areas are all pretty close, which is why we didn’t really use public transport.
Apart from the historical aspect, one of the main reasons we picked Rome was for the food, specifically pasta and gelato. We also managed to fit in some pizza too. Rome is also known for supplì, a fried rice ball with tomato sauce, mincemeat, and mozzarella. It’s very similar to arrancini and tastes amazing. They only cost about 2 euros and the ones we had were really tasty and filling.
One thing that I hadn’t realised at the time of booking is that on the first Sunday of the month, state-owned heritage places are free. This includes museums, galleries, archaeological sites, monumental parks and gardens. As we were there on the first weekend we decided to risk it and not book ahead. Obviously if they are free to enter it means they will probably be a lot busier than normal. But we were ready for this so we got up early and managed to be in the queue for the Forum just 30 minutes after it opened.
If you are planning to visit Rome then you have to make sure you see the ruins in the dark. The spotlights make them look so dramatic. One of the things I really couldn’t get over is the sheer scale of everything. All of the archeological sites are so big, and tall. The Romans really liked to make things high. We spent almost 2 hours wandering around the Roman forum and Palatine Hill. My only regret is that we didn’t do a tour because I feel that we definitely missed out on some information. Due to the rain we didn’t actually get to go into the Colosseum but I feel that we didn’t miss out on too much.
On Saturday evening after the rain stopped and we had filled up on pizza and gelato we wandered around from the Colosseum to see the Trevi Fountain and then back to our hotel. On Monday before we headed back we took the metro for the first time to the Vatican. I have a strange fascination with churches, I am not religious but I love looking around them. Luckily Rome is absolutely full of them, so we headed to St Peter’s Basilica.
I have never seen a church like it. The 2,000-year-old basilica is home to most of the Catholic Church’s crucial ceremonies and is a classic symbol of the Vatican City. The Pope presides at a number of liturgies throughout the year, drawing audiences of 15,000 to over 80,000 people, either within the Basilica or the adjoining St. Peter’s Square. As a work of architecture, it is regarded as the greatest building of its age. Contrary to popular misconception, it is not a cathedral because it is not the seat of a bishop.
As we were walking around we noticed people going down some steps behind one of the many statues so we decided to follow. The steps lead down beneath the Basilica, to the Tomb of the Dead. There were different tombs of previous Popes, including John Paul II. Again we didn’t do a guided tour but I don’t feel that we missed out on anything. The Basilica is free to enter but try to get there early. The queue was around the square when we arrived. Although it did move quickly, and by the time we left the queue had disappeared so I would suggest visiting in the afternoon and not morning.
Overall I really liked Rome and would definitely go back as we missed out on a few things due to the weather and time. The buildings and churches are beautiful, and almost every where you turn in the older part of the city you can find ruins. I would love to know if you’ve been to Rome, or if you are planning on going.