New Years in Italy (Part 1)
Over a month later, I’m finally sitting down to write about our amazing Italy trip! Since coming back I started a new job which has kept me pretty busy, but finally I have a day off and what better way to spend it than reminiscing on our travels?
We found this cute apartment on airbnb just 30 minutes outside of Bologna to use as our home base during our trip. We had several places we wanted to see, so we planned day trips to the main cities on our list and returned back to our room each night. Our first stop on the list was beautiful R O M A.
Now, I have dreamed of visiting the Colosseum since I was a kid so this was a huge check off my bucket list! Tyler was pretty thrilled to be here as well. We had originally planned an entire itinerary for the day so we could see as many sights as possible, but let me tell you that is easier said than done. As soon as we reached the Colosseum, we were bombarded by tour guides asking if we needed a tour and selling us the best tour we could possibly buy. There were so many different ethnicities working around the Colosseum, too, which was amazing. All these different cultures coming together to relish in such a beautiful part of history.
One American guy saw us and immediately began walking beside Tyler asking if we needed tickets for a tour. Part of our itinerary was not touring the Colosseum so that we might be able to see a bunch of other neat stuff. But we were sucked in. He explained that for just 25 euro each we could skip the line, tour the inside of the Colosseum, and as an added FREE bonus we could also tour the Roman Forum. It was one of Tyler’s dreams to see the inside of the Colosseum so of course we said yes.
Let me give you a quick bit of advice: when the temperature shows mid 50s, but the sun is out DO NOT GO WITHOUT A WARM JACKET. I assumed that we would be warm from all the walking and having the sun beat down on us that a thin hoodie would be just fine. I was wrong! The first twenty minutes of our tour was outside of the Colosseum in the shade where we were freezing our butts off!
I tried my best to ignore how cold I was and listen to our guide talk about the Colosseum. He explained the different levels of the Colosseum and that the wealthy and royal families always got front row seating. He even showed us engraved Roman Numerals over each archway, just like stadiums have today for seating. The little ledges around the top of the wall used to hold wooden poles. They would extend up through a hole in the stone above and suspend a large tent like sheet over the entire arena.
Once we finally made it inside, it was amazing! It was hard to believe I was actually standing inside the Colosseum. Our guide told us more about the fights and that the center of the Colosseum used to be covered, and between all the pillars and rocks was where they used to keep animals for the shows. Unfortunately, we had to cut our tour short because next on our itinerary was the Vatican.
We had an hour walk ahead of us and about an hour till our ticket time. So, we definitely booked it across Rome. Now, we didn’t get to tour the actual church but we had purchased tickets to tour the Vatican Museum and that included the Sistine Chapel!
We made it to the Vatican just a few minutes after the time on our tickets, and when we asked where the museum was we were directed to follow the entire Vatican wall down and around until we saw the entrance. All I could think was, MORE walking?! Now, I know what you’re thinking: why didn’t you just take a cab, Holly? Because cabs are expensive and we wanted all of our money to go towards experiencing Italy, not transportation.
About fifteen minutes later, we finally were inside the museum! The museum comprised of several different chapels all with amazing artifacts and history. We saw sculptures, paintings, tapestries, and so many other amazing things from tons of different cultures! I took pictures of almost everything, of course, but here are a few of the ones that I absolutely loved!
We wove our way through all the chapels and artwork until we finally made it to the Sistine Chapel. Unfortunately, they do not allow any pictures while inside the chapel so I wasn’t able to document that part of our trip. But believe me when I tell you it was the most magnificent mural I have ever seen. Everyone inside was quiet and we all just felt so moved by this incredible piece of history.
The Sistine Chapel was the last stop in the museum, so we exited the building and walked back the way we came. We stopped at a small restaurant for lunch, and I’m kicking myself for not getting the name! I believe it was in the Piazza del Risorgamente, right along side the Vatican church. We grabbed two bowls of Spaghetti Carbonara and two pints of beer to refuel for the rest of the day. It was reasonably priced and a good place to grab a quick bite!
I took a few more pictures of Vatican City and then we headed back into Rome to at least see one more place I had on my list. I’m telling you, we had good intentions with that itinerary but Rome had other ideas. Our last stop for the day was to see the Trevi Fountain and make a wish!
The fountain was so beautiful and we saw it at the perfect time: just as the sun was setting! The warm glow of the sun really made the fountain shine. It was crowded around the fountain, but off to the left side we found a few small steps that led us down to the actual water so we could toss our coins in. Most people were very nice and let us get by so we could have our turn and our picture taken in front of the fountain. Forgive me for sounding a bit corny here, but as I tossed my coin into the water I realized I already have everything I could ever wish for!
After our fun at the fountain, we made our way back to the train station. We found a cute little restaurant called La Scuderia and requested a table outside down a small alleyway. The wall behind the table was covered in ivy so it added a romantic touch to our dinner. I ordered the Caesar Salad and it was delicious! I ordered a moscato with dinner, and was a little disappointed. I expected a sweet wine, but instead got a dry wine. That might have been my naive vino experience because all moscatos I’ve ever had have been sweet, so I assumed. But it was a nice dinner and was the perfect way to end our evening!
Honestly, the whole day in Rome I felt like I was Lizzie McGuire traipsing around the city! Only, no international pop sensation or concert in the Colosseum. (; We enjoyed every minute of this day and rode the train back to our apartment feeling completely exhausted. Florence was on the list for day 2 and you can read about it here!
Have you ever been to Rome? If so, what was your favorite thing to see? And if you haven’t, what’s your number one place to see?
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