It’s amazing how you can board an airplane in Europe, take a one hour flight, and land in a completely different world.
We left the orderly, conservative and absurdly expensive city of Geneva and landed in the chaotic, loud and spectacular city of Rome, Italy. Oh how I love this city! My parents arrived earlier in the day from Atlanta and we met up at our apartment (we found it here on AirBnB), which was RIGHT next to the Colosseum. We could even see it from our roof-top terrace!
Monti, one of the “hipper” Rome neighborhoods, was only right around the corner so we decided to venture that direction for a late night dinner. Most everyone seemed to be congregating in the main piazza (Piazza della Madonna dei Monti). The square was packed with people sitting around the main fountain. Just sitting, drinking and having a good time. Had we not been so hungry we may have just gotten a bottle of wine and joined them!
Since it was Saturday night and we had no reservations, we were lucky to get a spot at La Taverna dei Fori Imperiali. The rosé wine we had at that meal became the standard for the rest of the trip and no one came close! 2 bottles and the best pesto pasta of my life later, it had officially been a great start to our trip!
The next morning, mom and dad left bright and early for their tour of the Colosseum. Kelley and I grabbed breakfast (his ciambella was apparently delectable) and we began our mission to find a street market in Testaccio that I had my heart set on.
Well we walked and walked further outside of the city centre and found no market. But the upside of getting outside of the touristy centre is that you truly get to see how these people live. It was a Sunday morning and people were walking their dogs, heading to church and taking their kids to the playground.
Once we aborted the mission for finding the market, we began walking towards Trastavere, which was by far my favorite neighborhood of Rome the last time we visited. (The ol’ Trevi Fountain trick worked!) And what do you know… we ran smack into the biggest street market I had ever seen. You name it, they had it. Hats, shoes, purses, techy gadgets, food, antiques, furniture, flowers and I’m sure someone was selling live chickens somewhere. The booths easily stretched a couple miles. After several blocks of walking, the hoards of people became overwhelming so we took the next exit out! (The Porta Portese Flea Market is the only market open on Sundays in Rome and is open from 07:00-13:00.)
This was some impressive street art… YOU figure it out!
Why, yes. I ate that entire calzone.
The Vittorio Emanuel Monument, built in honor of Victor Emmanuel, the first king of a unified Italy, located in Rome, Italy.
The incredible Pantheon!
That afternoon, we were supposed to do a virtual tour at Le Domus Romane di Palazzo Valentini. Considering it’s ranked the #3 thing to do in Rome, I figured it should be on our to-do list. NOTE TO SELF: You must book tickets in advance and make sure you choose the right language! I’m sure this experience would have been much more enjoyable had we understood it. This ‘show’ unearths the former household of a very wealthy ancient Roman family. We walked on thick Plexiglas floors over the ruins and the guided tour uses an amazing mix of light and sound to recreate the home as it once was.
We finished the day with dinner at a restaurant near the Colosseum and Bellinis on the rooftop of our apartment. We had walked 16.2 miles and it was only day 1!
Mom and dad left bright and early for a tour of the Vatican City. Kelley and I had no exact plans and we eventually ended up at the Vatican as well.
Some people may hate on Tripadvisor and claim that it leads you to the touristy, “less-authentic” places. It may occasionally, but our find for lunch on this day was PERFECT! Oh Panino DiVino… Can you please open up a location in Switzerland?! Their gourmet paninis were delicious and only 5€ for the combo meal!
On top of the Vittorio Emanuel Monument. Professional photo bomber.
The ultimate Wolfpack. Love them!
We ate dinner in Trastevere at Trattoria da Teo and our waiter Gianluca was an absolute treat! He was incredibly entertaining and even brought us an entire bottle of limoncello following our meal and desert.
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