Remember that time I went to Italy? It does seem like such a long time ago! But finally I am getting back to writing about the last leg of our trip, Rome. If you need to catch up, we first went to Venice which was quite wet and cold and then to Florence where I saw my statue boyfriend and fell off a cliff.
When we started looking for hotels in Rome, our first couple of choices were booked and we had to expand our search. We ended up at Albergo del Senato, which is literally right outside the Pantheon. As in, you step outside and there it is! Now that is location! We took a taxi from the train station to our hotel. I never know which drivers are more crazy - Roman or Parisian. We survived and checked into the hotel. And then stepped outside and there was the the Pantheon! We were starving by this time so we consulted Rick and found a little restaurant around the corner (Osteria da Mario). After lunch we went back and explored the Pantheon, and unfortunately the front half of the building was covered in scaffolding. But the inside was not under construction and it takes my breath away every time I step inside. With all that marvelling at the Pantheon, we were hungry. What better afternoon snack than gelato! It was probably the most expensive gelato we ate, as we ate it at a cafe facing the Pantheon. It was freezing! But there was a heated lamp to help warm us up. Gelato flavors: white chocolate, tiramisu
The Pantheon is really an ideal location. After we finished up our gelato we strolled over to the Trevi Fountain to throw our coins in the fountain, which according to legend will ensure our return to Rome. I think I've thrown a coin in the Trevi every time I've been to Rome and I've continued to come back so of course I was throwing another coin in! There was a ton of people at the fountain so we had to scooch our way into a spot up front to throw our coin in. We continued our stroll over to the Spanish Steps. If half of Rome was at the Trevi Fountain, the other half was at the Spanish Steps. Another set of stairs to climb? You know it. I didn't write down how many steps, but I think it was around 130 some odd steps. We retraced our steps back to the Pantheon and had dinner at another Rick recommendation, Le Coppelle Taverna. I had Pizza Fungi. Gasp! Once again I pass up Pizza Margherita? I really grew on this trip! We were eyeing their tiramisu all night but when we asked for it we were told they had no more. Oh well. They did have really good cappuccino though. And it had a flower in it. And no tiramisu just meant we had to get gelato! Gelato flavors: pistachio, strawberry, Bailey's (the Bailey's was extremely strong)
Today was ancient Rome day. Breakfast was at the hotel. They had stewed apples. I can't tell you the last time I had stewed apples but they were good! We started off towards the Colosseum, but the closer we got to the Victor Emmanuel monument we realized something was going on as there were tons of police around. It was some sort of demonstration. For the most part people were sitting in the streets, it didn't seem too organized. I am thinking this is why Victor Emmanuel was closed. But it did mean the street leading up to the Colosseum was basically closed to traffic so we were able to walk down the middle of the street! We got in line and 40 minutes later we were inside the Colosseum, imagining gladiators and the like fighting on the stage below. From there we walked over to the Forum, which has changed from the last time I was there. The entrance moved, the exit moved. But the ruins were the same. Inside the Senate House was an exhibit of Terracotta warriors. I've now seen Terracotta warriors in Epcot, in a mall in Krakow and now in the Forum in Rome.
After our fill of ancient Rome, we took the metro back over to the Trevi Fountain to see it in the daytime. It was still super crowded. We were starving by this time so grabbed a quick bite in a pizza place not far from the Trevi Fountain before retracing our steps from the night before and walking over to the Spanish Steps. We missed daylight, but caught the Steps as the daylight was fading. We did some glove shopping before heading back to the hotel. We had decided to have a "fancy" night out and tonight was it. We dressed up and walked to the restaurant near our hotel. I had gnocchi, which was okay. After dinner we strolled over to what had become our favorite gelato place for dessert. Gelato flavors: hazelnut, pistachio, walnut I was obviously feeling a bit nutty! :)
Our last day! It was free day at the Vatican Museums, so we walked over. I tell you, while I normally stay near the Colosseum, and I love that location, you can't beat the Pantheon location. It is basically in the middle of everything. We got in line for the Vatican Museum and I had never seen it that long! It was almost to St. Peter's! We waited for awhile but when the line didn't appear to be moving, we jumped out of line and joined a tour to make sure we got in. I wasn't sure about the tour guide at first, but on the tour she was fine. We walked through the museums and ended in the Sistine Chapel. Which was amazing!! But the secret exit to St. Peter's was closed. So we walked back through the museum and back towards St. Peters. We stopped at a little cafe for a late lunch. On the tour we had met Tessie from Colorado. She was on her own and so she joined our group for the afternoon.
It was another horrific line to get into St. Peter's. It was raining by now and so waiting in line was a bit miserable. Finally we got into St. Peter's and went to get in line to climb up to the top of the dome. We took the elevator up to the base of the dome before continuing to climb the 323 steps to the top. I never think the climb up to the top of St. Peter's is bad. Maybe it's because it is usually crowded so no one can go very fast? Who knows? We made it to the top where it was rainy and windy. We made our way back down and into St. Peter's where Mass was just starting. It was nice standing and listening to the first little bit. After that we walked over to Castel Sant'Angelo. And then it was time to say goodbye to Tessie as we parted ways. We walked back through Campo di Fiori and Piazza Navona, which had a mini carnival. It was pouring so we ended up at Le Coppelle Taverna again. And this time I had the pizza margherita! And they had a piece of tiramisu left so we split it. And since it was our last night, we had to stop by our favorite gelato place as well. Gelato flavors: walnut, hazelnut
We waded through the puddles back to the hotel and began the packing process. Ugh. So little space, and so much stuff.
One last breakfast, one last cappuccino with a heart on it. And then it was time to leave. We took a taxi over to the train station and said goodbye. Jessica & I left to go to the airport and Nilufer took a train to Naples to continue her vacation.
And that's that! Arrivederchi!!