Monday, October 6, 2014

rome 2014.

Jamie and I finally arrived at our last stop - Rome! We were both really excited about this one, believing that we'd saved the best for last.
We started our first full day in Rome with a Colosseum + Roman Forum tour. On the way to our meeting spot, I was so focused on the Roman Forum ruins that I didn't notice the Colosseum looming ahead of me. It was quite the reveal when I finally looked up and saw it. Roman architecture is absolutely incredible, y'all. I was blown away this entire day, only stopping to pick up my jaw when it was time to eat. We toured the Colosseum, then made our way to the ruins of the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill with our guide. I don't have enough words to describe how amazing it was to be standing on marbled floors dating back almost 3000 (!!!) years. From here, we marveled at the Arch of Titus, Capitoline Hill, Circus Maximus, and the Arch of Constantine. We had a lunch of lasagne and panna cotta with a view of the Colosseum while we ate, then wandered over to Campidoglio Square. This square was largely designed by Michelangelo and hosts a statue of Marcus Aurelius riding his horse in the center. There is nothing in Rome that didn't impress.
The next day, we started with another tour -- this time of Vatican City, the Sistine Chapel, and St Peter's Basilica. We learned all about good popes and bad popes, the Borgias, saw 15th century tapestries, wandered through rooms covered with wall-to-wall Rafael masterpieces, and finally stood face to face with Adam's famous finger stretching to reach God's. It was breathtaking. And we weren't allowed to take photos, haha. The entire chapel is overwhelming so I just sat down and stared upward, taking it all in. We then made our way to St Peter's Basilica which remains the largest church in the world to this day. The baroque-style of carvings and intricacies inside was awe-inspiring. I've been in many, many churches on this trip, but this one was by far the most detailed. Absolutely incredible. After our tour and a lunch of pesto fettuccine, we headed to a famous gelateria that is known for having 150 flavors. It was quite the walk, but we were rewarded nicely! The gelato is out-of-this-world delicious. On our way there, we passed through the Navona Square and got a few photos, but we were on a mission! Finally, we rounded out the day with a dinner including a charcuterie plate, gnocchi, and tiramisu at a restaurant in Trastavere.
For our last full day in Rome (and last full day of travel! Wahhhh.) I began the day alone with a quick walk to the nearest bakery that inspired this post. Then Jamie and I headed out together to get coffee from Sant'Eustachio Il Caffe, famous for it's many espresso drinks. We took our frappes and wandered over to the Pantheon, which was closed for morning mass. We sat in the shade, sipping our drinks, and listening to the hymns. Once we got going again, we headed to the Capuchin Crypt where the bones of thousands of Capuchin monks have been artistically arranged to decorate several small chapels. It was both interesting and creepy -- and again we weren't allowed to take photos. From here, we walked to the Spanish steps and the Spanish square. Sooo many people here! The fountain here was closed and under construction which was even more of a bummer than usual because we avoided the Trevi Fountain completely for that same reason. Apparently it's been under construction for about 6 months without water flow so we figured it wouldn't really be worth our time. Guess we'll just have to see it on our next trip to Italy! We spent more time in Navona Square after this, grabbing a quick lunch before heading back to the Pantheon to actually catch a glimpse of the inside. I was so glad we doubled back to do this because it was absolutely incredible. The Romans were amazing architects, y'all. It's so hard to even explain or fathom. Finally, we finished our trip with a peek inside a Prada store (!!) and some more tiramisu after dinner.

Ultimately, Rome was both of our favorites and Jamie and I were both happy to have ended the trip on such a high note. The whirlwind of 20 days was sad to say goodbye to, but I learned so much about myself and about different cultures. I would 100% do another trip like this. Any takers for my next adventure?

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