Thursday, January 22, 2015

#TBT: When in Rome

I’ve already alluded to my trip to Italy last summer a few times, so I figured that it was about time that I stop being cute and blog about it already.  I hope you don’t mind the trip down memory lane!

My Italy trip was only for 10 days at the end of August, but I managed to cover a lot of territory while there and see everything (well, almost everything) that I wanted to see. The first leg of my trip was spent in Rome and, unfortunately, Trevi Fountain was being restored at the time (so it was hidden behind by scaffolds) and I somehow missed out on seeing La Pietà while I was wandering around Saint Peter’s Basilica.  That’s just another reason to go back though, right?


Some of the best views of Rome are from the top of the dome at St. Peter’s but, be warned, you have to climb up 500 steps to get there—and then climb all the way back down. The view is worth the workout but it’s an ascent that shouldn’t be taken lightly. If you’re claustrophobic, you might have issues with the trek too. If you are going to make the climb, go there first thing in the morning to avoid never-ending queues.

Carry a shawl, carry a shawl, carry a shawl. I found the Romans to be strict when it came to enforcing the dress code in churches.  If your shoulders, knees, and back aren’t covered, you may not be permitted entry (or you may be given the dreaded paper shawl).

When you’re in Rome, you’ll probably notice Romans drinking from little fountains (or spouts) that dot the streets, especially in the summer heat. The water from these fountains is perfectly clean and absolutely refreshing. You can save yourself some of money if you just refill your water bottle whenever you pass one!  When in Rome, right?

One thing to be wary of are the street vendors selling knock-off designer handbags. If you’re caught purchasing one, you—not the seller—will be fined upwards of €300.

Rome is a city of cobblestoned streets, ancient history on every corner, and the gastronomic wonder that is gelato. But if I’m going to be honest with you, Rome was probably the least favorite of my Italian destinations. It was wretchedly hot, the cobblestones killed my feet, and I felt that the city was dirty, especially in comparison to Florence and Venice later on.  There were many wonderful things to see and do in Rome, but I couldn’t get over seeing graffiti defacing old buildings as well as all over the windows and doors of shops outside of the touristy areas. I was also surprised by the blighted neighborhoods I passed through on the way into Rome from the airport and when I hopped a bus from Via Appia Antica.  To be fair, we have that sort of thing in New York too, but I guess I'm accustomed to seeing it here.  I had totally different expectations for Rome though (from movies, books, tv, etc.), so I was more than a bit shocked to see it in that light.  But it just made me remember that Rome is not a museum set behind glass but a living, breathing metropolis that has survived for centuries.  It's lived in and there's something beautiful about that too. 


But when Rome shines, she really does shine. There are really few things in the world that can compare to the grandeur of Saint Peter’s Basilica, the Colosseum, or Piazza Navona (especially at night when everything is lit up).

I lived on Margherita Pizza and gelato while I was there, partly because they were amazing and partly because I may have forgotten to set aside time to have a real sit-down meal. Oops! For classic movie fans like me, you definitely need to get gelato from Giolitti, the gelateria from Audrey Hepburn’s Roman Holiday. For foodies though, you really can’t miss gelato from Gelateria de Teatro, a quaint little gelateria across the river from Castel Sant’Angelo. I had a sage and raspberry scoop that I still dream about today.


  1. Ahhh Rome. thanks for tips. I'm saving this for when I finally get to visit this wonderfully ancient Roman empire. I also hope to meet the Pope!