Rome is, quite frankly, extraordinary. While I was excited to see all the history of Rome, I will admit that my expectations were a bit low for Rome. Much as I love an old, big city, many big cities feel more or less the same to me. Sure, I love London and New York, but at the end of the day, they all start to feel similar. I expected to add Rome to this list, but I was so incredibly wrong.
Our journey to get from Denver to Rome was long and sort of hilarious. Due to an oversight when we were booking flights, we ended up flying from Denver, CO to Oakland, CA, then to London (Gatwick), switching to London (Stanstead), and then flying Stanstead to Rome.
Luckily we had a 7 hour layover between Gatwick and Stanstead, so we took the tube to Buckingham Palace, snapped some quick pictures, ate some fish and chips, and hopped back on the tube to Stanstead.
We finally made it to our Airbnb in Rome around midnight and, after 40 hours of being awake, passed right out.
We stayed near Vatican City in a lovely Airbnb. Our host, Federica, stayed up until midnight to let us in and was absolutely lovely during our whole stay. Even though we were staying a bit off the beaten path, Rome is a very walkable (and relatively small) city and we had no problem walking to everything from our location.
The next morning we woke up excited to start exploring Rome!
Adam and I woke up first and started the day with one of our favorite things about Europe… espresso and pastries! We went to the little cafe across the street from our Airbnb, which I can’t find any record of online (I swear… it exists!), where we had some amazing espresso and breakfast!
Once everyone was up and moving, we set off walking toward city center. We ended up walking through an area that housed most of the embassies and saw some incredible houses and beautiful winding streets.
We wandered in to a restaurant on our way to city center, in search of some Italian pizza! We went to a place called La Bruschetta, which was incredibly tasty. This was also our first time experiencing Italian wine, which is literally cheaper than water.
With stomachs full of delicious Italian pizza, we made the final trek in to city center. We wandered around the Altare della Patria and the surrounding area. It was truly beautiful and a nice break from the crazy heat and humidity.
Perhaps the best part was the panoramic view of Rome, which was really out of this world.
We trekked down the to famous Spanish Steps, which were crowded but beautiful.
We finished our sightseeing for the day by heading over to the Coliseum. Unfortunately, they closed the Coliseum floor right as our tour was about to go inside, so we opted to come back later (which didn’t happen… more on that later) instead of seeing the abbreviated version of the tour.
Regardless, the Coliseum was incredible. It is even bigger and more grand than I would have ever expected. Of course, it is a Rome must see.
We also saw the Roman Forum which was just unbelievable. If we didn’t know better, I would think that the Coliseum and the Roman Forum were made just for tourists to see what we imagine Rome to look like. It truly looks unreal and incredible.
Just as we left the Coliseum, it started to pour down rain, so we found a covered patio right around the corner with cheap beer and spent an hour or so just enjoying being in Rome.
Our last sightseeing of the day was the Trevi Fountain. Even though traditionally you are supposed to throw a coin in to the fountain to ensure that you will return to Rome someday, it was so crowded that we couldn’t even get to the actual fountain. We don’t love fighting through crowds, but rest assured that we will be returning to Rome someday, coin toss or not!
We ended our evening enjoying more pizza, wine, and beer with a couple we met from California. We were still pretty jet lagged and were so happy to finally fall in to bed after a long, hot, exciting day.