What Actually Happened in Rome

Since Rome was on the tail end of our Europtrip, it’s no surprise we didn’t exactly stay on schedule. Ideally our Roman Holiday would have gone like this. Instead we had a few late starts and it went a little more like the following.

It all started well enough. Our airb&b host picked us up from the airport and dropped us off out our home for the next three days. The neighborhood in Trastevere was lovely, the 5 story climb to our apartment with all our luggage was not. Everyone took their time settling in and getting ready to go out for the day.


To make the most of our day we decided to skip lunch and head straight over to Palatine Hill. We had google maps help direct us there. The tram seemed to be the easiest way there. We hopped on and were quickly dumbfounded about how to pay. Naturally we watched everyone else, hop on, hop off without any sign of payment. For a couple brief stops our naive tourists self thought, maybe the tram is free? Maybe it’s just for the summer? Soon after we realized that there was ticket office and an app that manages rides, hard to find and harder to navigate. So we played it fast and loose and may or may not have had free tram rides…And they were great. I fell asleep and woke up to the Colosseum standing almost unbelievably, right in front of me.


The boys had no interest in listening to the fact that the ticket line would be much shorter if we started at the Forum. Honestly, the Colosseum line wasn’t that bad either, since there are far less tourists in dead heat of August (which means there would have been no wait at the Forum).


We slowly walked through the Colosseum taking time to read all the details and headed over to the Roman Forum. The view from Palatine Hill was awesome and it was fun imagining what it would have been like to be an ancient Roman or an archeologist. I took on both roles in my head. It’s amazing how many of the ruins, aren’t really all that ruined.

After we were all finished it quickly became obvious that were starving. And as everyone hangrily and passive aggressively tried to make a decision on where to eat, we passed many touristy restaurants with pictures on the menu. The final choice was made to go back to our airb&b’s neighborhood, and it was a good one because the restaurant we found was delicious. We actually ate at the restaurant directly below our where we were staying, Gino in Trastevere, probably my favorite pasta and a really nice place to eat outside and people watch. We also had an evening gelato (obviously).


The next morning we had to wake up bright and early to get to Vatican City. We did not. Kevin punished us by not letting us get breakfast. We got to Vatican city around 0900 and we staked out our spots front and center to hear the Papal Mass. Unfortunately, because rain was forecasted (I think I felt one drop in total), the pope delivered his address from inside and we were able to watch it on a large screen. Still a pretty special experience.


By the end of the mass everyone was just about ready to topple over with hunger, so we stopped right outside of Vatican City to grab some coffee and some sandwiches. While we were over there, we took a look at Castel Sant’Angelo before returning to Vatican City.


Then we spent the rest of the afternoon taking in the masterpieces St. Peter’s Basilica and the Vatican Museum had to offer. Oh and finding out you can get to the top of St. Peter’s Basilica and seriously regretting not doing it.


Not sure how this got on my phone…

We returned to our airb&b and had a much needed nap. Once we woke up we decided to eat at another restaurant we had passed by in Trastevere, Carlo Menta. The house wine can stand up to any expensive wine bottle I’ve ever had. We ate a few other delicious seafood and pasta dishes, and had a few too many liters of house wine.


From there we made our way over to my favorite part of Rome, the Trevi Fountain. I made fun of Kevin when he told me he heard it’s “magical,” at night. But, honestly, it really is. It’s spectacular during the day as well, but there’s just something special about it at night.

We had another late start the next morning and decided to roll with it and check out Giselda Forno for breakfast, a recommendation made by our host. It was not a letdown. It’s a very (understandably) busy bakery. They have the most delicious pastries I’ve had to date. They also have sandwiches, tomato pies, and any variation of caffeine you can imagine.

From there we checked all the remaining sites, starting with the Pantheon, which somehow I forgot to take a picture of from the outside. We then walked to Piazza Navona which is really close by. We walked the via leading up to the Spanish Steps and window shopped at all the expensive stores. We had to look at the Spanish Steps from a distance since they were under renovation. From there we checked out Bocca della Verita, and the lovely church its attached to that is often forgotten.


Lessons I Learned

  1. Take a Picture with the “pretty” side of the Colosseum (not all sides are equal)
  2. Check the weather, get pope tickets for inside
  3. Go to the top of St. Peter’s Basilica
  4. Always go with the house wine in Rome
  5. Don’t forget to photograph important sites

Find a video version of our trip here.

6 responses to “What Actually Happened in Rome

  1. Pingback: Rome in 3 Days – Future Expat·

  2. Yeah we love Rome too and spent 3 days there doing pretty much what you did. And we were there in July, so the heat too was quite overbearing! Like you we thought the trams and buses were free too until we saw the validating stamp machines on the buses…that was back when there were no apps available.


  3. Lol it’s funny you mentioned you were confused about how the tram works. When we first got here 8 months ago, we were confused about the same thing, but yeah you just stamp your ticket at the machine once you walk on, although most people don’t do it. Glad you enjoyed Rome! and climbing to the top of St. Peter’s Basilica is definitely one of my favorite things to do in Rome.


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