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Rome, Italy!

Next Italy stop was in Rome!  We stopped in Mykonos for a few days after Venice to meet up with a bunch of friends (let me know if you guys want a Mykonos travel guide too!) and had a blast. 

Our flight was MAJORLY delayed from Mykonos to Rome.  Like I’m talking a 6-hour delay.  The worst part - they didn’t update the airlines website, so we didn’t know about the delay until we got to the airport.  Actually that’s not the worst part - the worst part was that they didn’t know how delayed the flight would be so they wouldn’t let you leave the airport, and if you did and the flight came earlier than you thought then you would have to take the risk of missing your flight without being put on another one/being credited.  Soooo we basically got to the airport at 2 pm.  Flight was supposed to be at 4 pm.  But we boarded at 9 pm and finally took off at 9:30.  We landed in Rome at 10:30 pm (the flight is 2 hours long from Mykonos but clock went back an hour).  Grabbed our luggage and headed to the hotel.  Side note - do no European countries have customs?  It’s so weird to just get off an international flight and exit the airport. Probably a really American thought and comment by me but definitely weird getting accustomed to that. 

Anyways… To say that Jamie and I were starving by the time we checked into our hotel is an understatement.  We weren’t sure if anything would be open at time (it was about 1 am at this point) but our hotel front desk stated that La Base was open until 5 am every day, so without hesitation we headed straight there.  Jamie got a cheese pizza with mushrooms and I got Arrabbiata pasta and we finally were eating “dinner” at 1:30 am.  The pasta was simple but just what I needed at 1:30 am.  But Jamie’s pizza was bomb dot com.  I really like how pizzas in Italy have thin, crispy crusts without even asking for it!  Ohh and this was also probably our cheapest meal of the entire Italy trip!

I think trips can be broken down into 2 types - travel or vacation - depending on the city you're visiting.  I consider "traveling" in a city when there is lots of walking, sight-seeing, etc.  On the flip side, I consider "vacations" when you're just relaxing, laying by the beach, sunbathing, sippin’ on rosé...you get the drift.

Well, let me tell you, Rome is definitely a travel city.  We walked a lot.  Ate.  Did touristy things like sight-seeing.  Drank.  And ate some more.  Jamie and I love to travel, take in the history and learn about the city and its culture, but we aren’t the type that care to see every landmark, every street corner, walk through every museum.  Yet Rome was definitely the exception to that rule for us.  There’s just so much history and beauty in that one city that we both really wanted to do and see as much as possible.  Especially Jamie – he loves his history! 

Because we lost basically one of our travel days in Rome, we jam packed our 48 remaining hours with every main thing we wanted to do.  So throw on your sneakers and get ready to see all of Rome (okay, okay, like 95% of it – LOL) in 48 hours!  But on a serious note – make sure you throw on sneakers – I made the mistake of wearing sandals (in my defense it was hot and humid AF so I needed as little on my body as possible but I paid for that later) and my feet felt like they were on fire by the time we got to the hotel 12 hours later.  Literally on fire.

We stayed at Rome Life Hotel.  I highly recommend it – it was the most modern and clean of all the hotels we stayed in in Italy (actually this hotel and the one in Florence were both very clean and updated).  The hotel room was definitely on the smaller side but that’s what’s expected from all hotels in Europe – especially Italy.  The size didn’t really bother me because there was enough room to put our suitcases, unpack just what we needed for those 2 days, and it was clean, updated, and the customer service was great.  The hotel was also very central and allowed us to walk to everything we wanted to (but Jamie and I love walking, especially in new cities, so make sure that distances aren’t an issue for you if you stay here)!

On our second day, but really our first day, we slept in a bit…but its okay considering we had a game plan and the fact we didn’t get back to our hotel from the restaurant until 3 am.  By the time we got up and got ready it was lunch time.  A friend of ours recommended we have lunch at Trattoria Sertimii all’Arancio.  I don’t remember what we ordered but I do remember we got white wine and a prosciutto plate that was delicious.

After lunch we headed towards the Vatican.  On our walk there we saw some smaller landmarks – like Rome’s version of our United States Supreme Court as well as the local farmer's market that was along the river.  It was beautiful!  But yet again, what isn’t in Italy?!

We typically don’t take tours of landmarks or museums either while traveling but for some reason we chose to for the Vatican and I’m glad we did!  I don’t recall which tour service we used because it was one of those random ones you get sold while walking in the vicinity of landmarks and museums.  So either book one ahead of time or just YOLO it like we did and find one on your way there. This is the only tour guided thing we did in Rome – actually in all of Italy, but I’m glad we did!

Also – remember how I said it was hot and humid and I was wearing as little clothing that was appropriate?!  Well I didn’t think this part out when getting dressed because when visiting the Vatican and going to the Sistine Chapel (which is was included in the tour we got), your shoulders must be covered and your bottoms, whether a skirt or shorts, must hit your knees.  So I basically had to buy 2 scarves before going on the tour into Vatican City, one to wrap around my shulders and arms and another to wrap around my waist, over my shorts, like a sorang.  So if you’re going in the hotter months wear a t-shirt dress, or a maxi dress and bring something to throw over your shoulders because the only time ou need to be covered is in the Chapel!

So just in case you’re unfamiliar with the Vatican let me give you a cliff notes history/info lesson.

I keep referring to it as ‘the Vatican’ but it’s really Vatican City.  It’s this area slap in the middle of Rome that’s actually its own state.  It’s the headquarters of the Roman Catholic Church and the home of the Pope!  We weren’t in Rome of a Sunday but I heard its craziness there on Sunday’s because the Pope comes out for a minute and waives to everyone – how cool!  But as cool as that it, I’m glad we weren’t there on a Sunday because if it was that busy and hectic on a no-Pope day, I can’t imagine what it would be like on a Sunday waiting to catch a glimpse of the man himself.

Back to the info session… so Vatican City is its own free-standing city-state.  They have their own postal service, grocery stores, taxes, police, etc.  It’s also where the Vatican Museum is located (duh), as well as the Sistine Chapel, Saint Peter’s Square and a bunch of things I’m probably forgetting. Basically, you can’t go to Rome, without going here.

So our tour was a few hours long and it started in the Vatican Museum.  We saw famous paintings and sculptures and walked through the permitted areas of the Vatican City while viewing and learning about other landmarks within this city-state.  Unfortunately, no sighting of the Pope.  The tour then ended in the Sistine Chapel – which I incorrectly always thought was called the 16th Chapel until this tour.  LOL.  I’m pretty sure they said no pictures or videos were allowed but of course, in true Neghin fashion, I needed to take a video, so I’ll include it in the vlog.  The Chapel was breathtaking.  Among the many things its known for, one of them is Michelangelo’s ceiling. (This is not the ceiling depicted in the picture from above - those 2 pictures were taken inside and outside of the Vatican Museum).  One side depicted the Old Covenant of the Children of Israel through Moses, the Creation of Adam and the stories of Noah, while the other side depicted the New Covenant through Christ.  If the Jewish and Catholic stories depicted isn’t enough to put you in complete aww…take a moment and realize that for the 4 plus years Michelangelo worked on these paintings he was basically do it with his neck cocked backwards – I’m sure he needed a chiropractor once he was done! 🙃

Once we were done with this tour Jamie and I were ready for a drink.  We started randomly walking in a direction looking for a place to unwind and relax before moving on to the next landmark.  Unbeknownst to us – the place we ended up at was at the top of the Spanish Steps!  Two birds, one stone – YAY!  I remember walking up the steps to get to this restaurant/lounge/bar place (clearly I don’t remember the name of it) and saying wow I need a picture of this view. While Jamie went to get us a table, I snapped the pic and realized my phone location tagged it as ‘Piazza di Spagna.’ I ran to Jamie – more like walked because let’s get real, I was exhausted after walking up all those steps, and told Jamie, “Holy sh*t, these are the Spanish Steps.”  Which was exciting because it was one of the landmarks we wanted to see!

Anyways, back to drinking…I don’t remember the name of the place we went to, but if you’re coming up the steps it’ll be on your left-hand side.  There’s an open space on the roof with the most incredible view of the Spanish Steps and Piazza di Spagna (which is basically the bottom of the Spanish Steps but one of the most famous squares/areas in Rome).  I got the only rosé they had which I remember wasn’t anything special and Jamie got a beer.  We didn’t eat here so I can’t say anything about their food but it was a very lucky and cool spot to end up at.  Also, we happened to get there about 30 minutes before sunset, so not only did we have this incredible view, but the sun started going down over the city while we were having our siesta.  Definitely a moment I’ll always remember.  Piece of advice though, if you decide to do this try and go before sunset and stay through sunset.  Because I remember as we were leaving there was a line of people waiting for a table on the rood area (they had indoor seating too but what’s the point of that when you can have a view like this  ⬇️ (picture is of the Spanish Steps, pre-sunset).

After our little drink siesta we headed to the Trevi Fountain. Made a wish, took our selfie, and headed to dinner.

We had dinner at Ristorante la Cabana.  This is all I write about the restaurant: “Such great service. The truffle pasta had me liking the plate clean.”  Concise and straight forward.  And apparently, I recommend the truffle pasta – LOL!

You’re probably reading this and thinking that was just one day?!  Yes, yes, that all took place in a matter of 10 hours.  But everything is so beautiful and there’s something to see on every corner – esp if you’re walking through the city which I highly highly recommend you do – that your day just flies by!

Because we front loaded our Italy stay with sight-seeing, our second day was a lot less hectic.  We grabbed croissants upon leaving our hotel and snacked on that while we walked to the Colosseum.  We viewed the Colosseum from the outside, took in the moment, snapped some pics and headed on our merry way.  We honestly couldn’t be bothered with taking a tour of the place considering we’ve seen enough pictures of the inside and the lines to enter, with or without a tour, just didn’t make it worth it.  From there we headed to the Pantheon.

Entry to the Pantheon is free and there seems to always be a line to go inside.  Luckily at the time we went the line wasn’t terrible and it took us maybe 10 mins to get in.  Once we were in we decided to rent one of those cassette things that have you walk from point to point within the Pantheon so you can learn the history, meaning and reasoning behind not just the building, but how it was constructed and what everything in there meant.  I’m glad we got it was although the structure itself and art and sculptures within it are beautiful to look at, it’s kind of meaningless without knowing what you’re looking at. 

We were starving at this point and wanted to eat somewhere nearby.  Jamie found this hidden gem – Il Piccolo.  It’s a hole in the wall restaurant with maybe ten tables total and it seemed like only one woman owned and worked there.  I honestly don’t remember what I ordered for lunch and I made no note of it.  And the reason is probably because I devoured Jamie’s lunch.  He ordered the lasagna and WOW.  One of the locals eating while we were there said at least one of us should order the lasagna and all I have to say is that I wish we both did!

After lunch we realized we saw all the landmarks and museums we wanted to see in Rome. Because it was surreal to see the Jewish quarters in Venice we decided to see if Rome had one too, which it did! So after lunch we headed to the “Jewish Ghetto” and went to the museum and synagogue.  The synagogue was built in 1901 and completed in 1904.  “It’s like nothing I’ve ever seen.  So beautiful and grand.  Speechless.” – These are the notes I wrote about it upon leaving the synagogue.  And looking back at the pictures and videos that I took in the synagogue a year later, im still speechless.  

After we left the Jewish Ghetto we walked around some more and decided to grab espresso and then gelato at these 2 places our friend recommended in Rome.  We had espresso at Sant’ Eustachio but in all honesty, it was underwhelming.  After espresso we headed to Giolitti for gelato.  Apparently this gelato place is famous and I understand why!  DEFINITELY make sure you get a gelato here.  And FYI – the small size option will be wayyyyy more than enough! 

After I annoyed Jamie for a gelato picture, we decided to go shopping.  Jamie surprised me with a stop at Cartier for my anniversary present!  Still crying on the inside when I think about it!

After some walking and shopping we headed to dinner at Ai Tre Scalini.  This place was beautiful on the outside with its vines going up the building and even across the street a bit!  Inside was a packed pub and restaurant which looked vastly different than the outside with its rustic vibes.  We ordered a cheese and meat platter to start and decided we needed to get lasagna again because the one at lunch was so good! 

And that wraps up everything we did, saw and ate in Roma!!  This was Jamie’s favorite city in Italy (Rome and Venice are tied as favorites for me!).  I know this was a long post but I kept really amazing notes on everything and as I started writing, it brought back so many amazing moments and memories and stories that I really wanted you to feel like you were there with me!  Plus, if you’re heading there or want to visit, I wanted you to know that you really can do and see it all in just 48 hours!

I know I’ve said this a few times throughout this post, but I can’t stress it enough, walk around as much as possible.  This isn’t just true of Rome, or Italy, but really Europe in general.  There’s a lot to see, learn and take in.  Everything is so beautiful and filled with so much history. There’s a lot of lesser known landmarks that we got to see and sights that no one recommends because it’s just one of those places or sights you don’t know but your glad you randomly came to!

Rome vlog will be up on my YouTube channel (just search Neghin Adina) tomorrow!  See you there!

xx, Neghin


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