This is part 2 of my trip to Paris, Rome, and Venice. (Spoiler: I loved Rome the best)
Click here to read part 1 on Paris.
Tuesday June 12
8.9 miles | 21,317 steps
Arrived in Rome around noon. We went to the Hotel Regio where we would stay for the rest of the trip. First, some comments about the hotel. Someone wrote a review saying the beds felt like sleeping on “Roman marble slabs.” I must say this is absolutely correct. During the night, I rolled over on my arm, and I think I still have a bruise. The control panel for the air conditioner was also broken, so we woke up in the middle of the night freezing. But their breakfast was pretty epic.
We ate lunch at Pinsere, a cute little pizza shop. The owners were super friendly (i.e. explaining to me in English what all the toppings on the pizzas were) and service was fast. Definitely would recommend going there.
We then took it easy and walked around the city to see some basilicas and the ruins outside of the Roman Forum complex. My favorite basilica was the Basilica S. Maria degli Angeli e Dei Martiri because it looks really run-down from the outside but quite beautiful on the inside. It was also built over a Roman bathhouse. And there are some interesting modernistic sculptures.
My favorite part of the whole trip was probably sitting outside Trajan’s Forum as the sun was setting and drinking an iced cappuccino with lots (and lots) of sugar. Very American I know.
Wednesday June 13
10.2 miles | 24,047 steps
More walking around. More basilicas. Accidentally wore shorts this day because it was quite hot but forgot that some basilicas won’t let you enter without “appropriate attire.” Whoops. Visited the Pantheon, where the only thing I remember is a recording repeating the phrase “Silence!” in different languages. Visited the Triton fountain, the Piazza Navona, and Piazza del Poplo. Visited the Spanish Steps, or rather, casually walked down some crowded stairs and then realized it was crowded because the stairs were a tourist destination. It’s really easy to stumble onto cool places/historical landmarks in Rome. And that’s awesome.
vomiting water in front of Spanish Steps
We ended the day going to the Trevi fountain. I heard you are supposed to throw a coin into the fountain from your right hand over your left shoulder. It started raining so my sister panicked and just chunked a coin into the fountain, never mind the tradition.
Thursday June 14
7.8 miles | 18,431 steps
Don’t pay $56 to “skip the line” into the Vatican Museum. There is a street corner where someone sells these tickets for outrageous prices and someone on the other side of the intersection selling the same thing for $26. I honestly just waited in line for about 30 minutes and paid $17 at the door.
The inside of the Vatican museum was packed, both with visitors and artifacts. There is literally a hallway lined with shelves full of ancient Roman statue pieces. Like heads and torsos of historical figures. The museum has too many objects fighting for display space (a good problem to have I suppose). The ceiling of the Sistine Chapel was pretty cool but The Creation of Adam by Michelangelo was much smaller than I expected. Kind of underwhelming.
We also went inside St. Peter’s Basilica. Some famous stuff, like Michelangelo’s Pietà and a canopy by Bernini. And obviously a lot of history. But you have to experience it for yourself.
Friday June 15
13.7 miles | 33,837 steps
I read online that Palatine Hill is the best place to buy tickets that give you access to both the Colosseum and the Palatine Hill/Roman Forum complex because the lines are shorter. Well the lines were definitely shorter because it was such a struggle to find the entrance for some reason 😅. We went the wrong way and hiked up the hill only to find a church at the top. And it was a dead end. Other tourists kept asking me for directions to the entrance, so I guess I finally blended in with the locals???
Anyways, the Roman Forum was epic. But, again, I am definitely biased because I am a huge Roman history fan. I was literally running around the forum fangirling over the Arch of Titus, spewing random facts about Roman emperors, and caressing the ground while chanting, “this is the ground Julius Caesar has walked on!!!” As a bonus, walking amongst the ruins made me feel like I was inside a video game (recent games I played being Breath of the Wild and Shadow of the Colossus).
Roman Forum, as seen from Palatine Hill
The Colosseum was also pretty cool but not as cool as I wanted it to be (?) I’ve always been fascinated by gladiators, and Gladiator (2000) has always been my favorite movie, but actually standing inside the Colosseum just felt vaguely unsatisfying. It’s hard to imagine all the people and animals who lost their lives in a place that is now falling apart and covered in tourists taking selfies.
Finally, thanks to Roman Holiday, we stopped by the Mouth of Truth to take the obligatory photo of our hands inside the mouth. Unlike Audrey Hepburn, I had to wait 40 minutes in line.
Saturday June 16
12 miles | 28,326 steps
For our last day in Rome, we strolled around the city visiting well-known gelato and tiramisu places such as Pompi and Gelateria Fassi, which has been open since 1880! We also chilled along the banks of the Tiber river and saw the statues along the Ponte Sant’Angelo. Overall, a good conclusion to our Rome journey.
View of the Vatican from along the Tiber