When we first planned our trip to Rome we planned all the normal things, trips to the Colosseum, to the Vatican but while walking the cobblestone streets I realised there is so much more to the eternal city! Here are the top 4 things about this Italian experience.
There is nothing the Romans do better than pasta. Pasta in creamy milk sauces with chicken hiding underneath layers of parmesan. Or pasta with a rich tomato sauce and little bits of crispy bacon surprising you every now and then (also covered in parmesan whoops). The choices of pasta can be overwhelming when an Italian waiter asks you if you would prefer the fettuccine, linguine or rigatoni, just take a guess the truth is they all taste better than the spaghetti that you overcooked back home. I wish I could say I tried the pizza, or the fish which seems to be quite popular, but my love affair with the pasta in the city got in the way. All I can say is that you might need to go up a jean size when you get home...When dining in Rome its always best done outside, I have never before enjoyed the experience of eating dinner outside in winter, but pick a seat outside a nice restaurant and you’ll be greeted with candles, flowers and fresh air. Of course there were also patio heaters. It is January afterall.
Keeping on the food trend, what I must admit is the pasta is not the only thing that is mouth watering in Roma. Despite the cool evenings and mornings the afternoons in Rome were sunny and that called for gelato! A walk around Piazza Navona in the sun with a carboard cup holding a heavenly desert. No one could resist. Every other shop was an ice cream shop, they were everywhere and I was grateful! The first night it actually ended up raining as we retreated back to the hotel, but I couldn’t resist. I had ice cream anyway and then every day after that. I tried mango, summer fruits, cherry, cheesecake, Oreo, Kinder. Every flavour is delicious and will leave you wanting more, and more. One shop even sold Viagra gelato, that one was not really my cup of tea though!
There is always something interesting to do/see in Rome. Tours to the Vatican and the Colosseum may be long but they are definitely interesting! The Vatican museums hold brilliant white marble sculptures, and we found out that they were actually all painted it had just worn off over time! Large tapestries that hold the stories of Moses and Jesus, and maps of Rome perfect in proportion yet made before the time of helicopters and drones. The stories behind the intricate paintings inside the Sistine chapel and the pope that had himself painted as Peter to boost his ago is enough to keep anyone entertained, and the best part is the end when you reach St Peter’s Basilica. It took 120 years to be rebuilt into what it is today. Everything is so grand and holds so much detail it is hard to not be amazed. I would advise to go during mass as well as that adds to the experience. Hearing the hyms that are being sung resonate around the whole of the basilica is peaceful and leaves you feeling truly touched. The colosseum is also a great visit, and be sure to get a pass to the underground dungeons! Learn about the shows that the emperors would put on, how the women had to sit at the very top away from the alluring gladiators and that actually the darker corners of the inside of the colosseum may well have just been called brothels. Who said history couldn’t be interesting? There’s the Castle St Angelo which has the most perfect views the higher you climb with little tables that offer you the chance to dine and look out over central Rome. Then there is the pantheon, the Spanish steps (which were unfortunately closed the whole time we were there and the Trevi Fountain all a few minutes from each other. While you are in Rome you can’t deny the chance to throw a coin into the Trevi, it ensures your return to the beautiful city. I never thought something like the Trevi Fountain could blow me away. The Sistine chapel, maybe. The pantheon, maybe. Well nothing left me lost for words like the Trevi fountain did. Don’t underestimate its size, or its beauty. Fun fact it is the end point of an ancient Roman aquaduct! The best time to visit is the early hours of the morning after one too many glasses of Rose, but don’t get your hopes up about going paddling because its closely guarded by the polizia at all times.
4. The Beauty
Visiting the sites of the city can be amazing, but once you’ve been there done that it can seem pointless to return but the beauty of the city will keep you returning. The cobblestones may start to hurt your feet after hours of walking but the little shops and restaurants decorated with fairylights (and surprisingly a lot of Christmas lights still) make it worth it. The Piazza Navona with its four beautiful fountains and multiple painters with breathtaking watercolour paintings of the flowers hanging from balconies and the light coloured stones of the buildings that compliment the carefree happy feeling in the air when you take a walk in the afternoon sun will keep you inspired. Keep you delighted. Keep you coming back.