Rome…. That beautiful 3,000 year old City. What a wonder it is and what a spectacle to behold. People always think of Rome on back of a Vespa, doing it the way Audry Hepburn did it, and while that is definitely do able , minus negating around that crowds, Rome truly offers more along the way of Romance than one thinks.
There is no place on earth I’ve experienced, where the ancient is still an integral part of daily life, and life, as we know it, continues to thrive even after 3 millennia of its creation and discovery. The capital of Ancient and Modern Italy , with a country located within her boarders, Rome has the quintessential ingredients to create a memorable walk down a historical past of the once upon a time , World’s greatest empire. There is so much to see , do, and explore in this city that navigating it can sometimes be tricky. However, no where on earth can you see so many Unesco World heritage sites, 51 to be exact, in a concentrated area while sipping on your modern day Coca Cola and clutching your Fendi Baguette Bag. There is so much Chic style in both the old and new that there is no denying that the city is truly Eternal. From Ancient Bazars and life of the Roman Forum, Temples to the Gods at the Pantheon and to a human slaughterhouse spectacle of the Colosseum , Rome has a plethora of places where you can walk the walk the ancients. Modern Rome, however ,offers the best in Art, and a fabulous insight into gorgeous Italian Design and Dining, with fantastic Frescoes from the Renaissance, beautiful art museums of the Italian masters, gorgeous palaces and outlandishly beautiful churches and of course the Vatican, huge Italian design houses like Valentino and Fendi, with her people sporting every new type of luxury on their way to Michelin Star restaurants and hole in the wall fabulosity , there is something for Everyone in Rome. But let’s not get too ahead of ourselves.
Rome: A quick History : c/o Wikipedia
Rome’s history spans 28 centuries. While Roman mythology dates the founding of Rome at around 753 BC, the site has been inhabited for much longer, making it one of the oldest continuously occupied sites in Europe. The city’s early population originated from a mix of Latins, Etruscans, and Sabines. Eventually, the city successively became the capital of the Roman Kingdom, the Roman Republic and the Roman Empire, and is regarded by some as the first ever metropolis. It was first called The Eternal City (Latin: Urbs Aeterna; Italian: La Città Eterna) by the Roman poet Tibullus in the 1st century BC, and the expression was also taken up by Ovid, Virgil, and Livy. Rome is also called the “Caput Mundi” (Capital of the World). After the fall of the Western Empire, which marked the beginning of the Middle Ages, Rome slowly fell under the political control of the Papacy, and in the 8th century it became the capital of the Papal States, which lasted until 1870. Beginning with the Renaissance, almost all the popes since Nicholas V (1447–1455) pursued over four hundred years a coherent architectural and urban programme aimed at making the city the artistic and cultural centre of the world. In this way, Rome became first one of the major centres of the Italian Renaissance, and then the birthplace of both the Baroque style and Neoclassicism. Famous artists, painters, sculptors and architects made Rome the centre of their activity, creating masterpieces throughout the city. In 1871, Rome became the capital of the Kingdom of Italy, which, in 1946, became the Italian Republic. c/o wikipedia.
Rome: A return ….
This is my second journey to Rome , first experienced on a Production Assistant’s salary back in 2011, Go Today Tours 2011 Review. While the first time was definitely awe inspiring, 4 days in the city didn’t do it justice, and I was not prepared for the amount of sensory overload I would experience. So when I decided to return to Italy last May of 2018 with my friend Debra, I knew that this time, I wanted to really see Rome. I wanted to be better positioned with accommodations in the city, I want to stay at least a week, and I wanted to NOT rush through anything. And that is just what I did. Who knew , that this time I would truly fall in Love with Rome.
After some extensive research trying to figure out where I wanted to be positioned, whether it be in the heart of Historical Rome, Luxury Rome, The jewish quarter,cool chic hippie Rome, or Tourist central, I found a great spot right in-between the Jewish Quarter and Historical Mid Renaissance Rome. With Campo De Fiori to my left, Piazza Navona across to my left, Vatican City North, and the Colosseum South. Everything was in walking distance for me . This has got to be the best area to stay in , in my opinion. Only Thrice did I ever take a taxi, to and from the train station, and once up to the Palazzo Borghese . There were so many different little restaurants, pubs, and shops next to my apartment, and seriously, in 5 minutes walking time, I would be at the beautiful Piazza Navona. We stayed in a secure building on the 5th floor in a large family owned apartment. It was perfect and sweet. Our host Maurizio, was the nicest guy on earth, and his love for his family home , which once belonged to his beloved grandmother was very touching. It had everything we needed, a washer, a clothing line to hang our clothes like the locals do, large marble walkways, a full kitchen, fabulous modern bathroom, and security. It was perfect. Here’s the link: Navona Bricks Apartment
We took the train from Florence: The Beautiful Tuscan Capital after doing a little back tracking from a lovely 3 day stay in Siena, Under the Bright Tuscan Sun . We decided to back track to Firenze so that we may take the Tren Italia Frecciarossa Business class train in the SILENCE compartment. We’ve been riding Tren Italo in their business class, and wanted to try the National Train Company, Tren Italia. It was lovely and very affordable . Gorgeous chocolate covered thick and soft leather seats, large pitch with leg stand, fabulous drinks, and just a real comfortable ride. Deeply discounted tickets go on sale 60- 90 days before, so it is important to be diligent and book early. Tren Italia Frecciarossa Business Class
We arrived in Rome’s Termini Station at around the 13:00 hour and it was very busy. Back in 2011 , this train station left little to be desired. There were a bunch of questionable walking around, and one needed to be at their utmost Witts while traversing the station. Now, its very modern, clean, and still one should always be at their Witts, but not so much a worry. We quickly exited, following the Taxi signs, however, like the first time I ever been to this station, I took the wrong exit, and instead, came across a tiny taxi stand on the corner. The gypsy cabs were out, trying to solicit me, but I knew better to look for an actual taxi. As the taxis were all lined up I knew to be patient and walk the line. Unfortunately the romans didn’t feel the same, and they stole 2 cars that were supposed to be for us. A quick flash of my arm and a scream ” Basta!!!!” We got into another car and were whisked away to our apartment. Oh wow, we are here, the city is alive, and so are the ancient sights. In a matter of 15 minutes, with little to no traffic, we arrived at our apartment. I called up our host and he was downstairs waiting for us . After a quick check in, freshen up, unloading of our suitcases, and laundry thrown into the washer, we headed out for our first official day.
Today we were just going to walk around and get the lay of the land. Well that lay of the land ended up being quite an adventurous one. We checked out our local neighborhood, noticed the coffee shops we would go to in the morning, walked by our restaurant will have a dinner reservation for tonight , then crossed the street and headed out towards Piazza Navona.
It took us 4 minutes to reach the tip of Piazza Navona passing winding tight little roads with restaurants and bars spilling onto the street. There was life everywhere.
Once the sight of a 1st century Circus , an open stadium where games would happen, it is now a romantic spot with 3 distinct and ornate fountains where my first experience was filled with camera clad tourists, kissing lovers, and children playing, is now taken over by Selphie indulged ignorant tourists, who don’t take even a millisecond to stop and wonder at the beauty of a famous Bernini Fountain, Fontana Dei Quattro Fiumi ( Fountain of Four Rivers) The fountain of Neptune, or even to stop and listen to the songs of the restauranteurs , like sirens, calling you into the clutches of their Al Fresco restaurants that spill onto the Piazza. We decided to sit down at the very over priced venues and just enjoy an Apparel Spritz and take it all in. The sky was gorgeous, and the facade of the adjacent buildings was very ethereal and took one back as if you were part of the time. Truly beautiful.
After a fabulous cocktail, we decided to continue on to the Pantheon. Along the way, we stopped in a Limoncello shop to “sample” the different Limoncello available. MMMM We are definitely warm. After a quick 4 minute walk past beautiful local churches, very hot tight fitted Roman Carabinieri Police, the old cobbled stone streets opened up to another large Piazza with Dark sooted commanding Corinthian Columns supporting a huge astrological Dome.
Originally built as a place of worship to the pantheon of Old Gods of Rome, this temple of the Gods was fist built in the 1st Century BC and completed by Emperor Hadrian in 129 AD until it was converted into a Catholic Church in 609 . It also houses the Tomb of King Emmanuel the II who untied all of the country into a United Italy. It is FREE to enter and visit but one most queue properly and modest dress is suggested. Upon entering the Rotunda, you can’t help but realize how grand it is. The Huge roof with its hole on the top offers a stargazers stance on the universe. It is really truly beautiful.
Since we were already here, we decided to continue on to another one of the most famous ” Modern Day ” sights in Rome, the Fontanta Di Trevi. Getting to the fountain is quite fun and filled with so many interesting sights. Tourist with they white socked sandals and loud mouthed laughs ( I wonder what American City they are from) to annoyed chicly dressed Romans traversing the sea of tourists all the while flanked by endless rows of shops selling “ancient” artifacts like Fila shoes, and cool little touristic knick knack memorabilia . It started to rain a bit, so we decided to pop into this sexy looking pub for a quick cocktail. Why is it that every bartender in Italy is so hot. Or is that just what we are attracting?
Fontana Di Trevi
This absolutely beautiful Salvi Masterpiece , still takes my breath away. Yes it is absolutely packed with everyone throwing coins in , swapping spit, and taking family portraits, it is still such a wonder to see. Rome in the Renaissance must have been a truly beautiful place. Throughout our stay in Rome, we would pass this gorgeous fountain so many times, that I was able to get so much different perspective on it. Late night before they turn the lights off must be my favorite time, as there is literally no one there, and the glow of the lights onto the beautiful sculpture is breathtaking.
Next stop on our typical Touristic route….. The Spanish Steps.
Another easy 10 minute walk from the Trevi fountain, easy because all you have to really do is follow the herd , cross a busy street, take a curve or 2 , and there you have it. The grand Madame … The Spanish Steps.
Hungry , we decided to go shopping .. Yes I said that right. Hungry, we ended up shopping instead, as the area surrounding the Spanish Steps and Piazza del Popolo , is filled with fabulous high end designer stores, cool and chic local designers, and fabulous dining. We popped into a few places , but I just had to stop off again at the Gorgeous FENDI flag ship store that I had visited 7 years prior. EVERYTHING has changed of course. The beautiful boutique had seen its own little renaissance. Everything was beautiful, and completely out of my price range. I even did a side by side photo of me in 2011 and me in 2018 there.
As it was now getting a bit late, and we had a 9pm dinner reservation , we decided to back track our way down back to our home, to change and get ready for dinner. Still starving, we knew we would be totally grinding our way through dinner. Again researching like crazy, I found this little restaurant with a quirky name, right next to our apartment. I booked a reservation online via Trip Advisor, and I have to tell you, it is one of the best decisions for dining I ever made.
Taverna Di Lucifero Via del Pellegrino 51, 00186 Rome, Italy
Tucked away on a narrow street right next to the famous Campo Dei Fiori, is the absolutely Roman decadent Taverna Di Lucifero. With its little devil logo, and packed tables, I knew this really must be an awesome place to dine. It is a bit different, as its famous dish is more German, than it is Italian. We were greeted by a full haired guy, who could’ve easily been a cousin here in Hawaii. He sat us down, and took our order. I already knew and had to convince Debra, that we absolutely must have Fondue with Fresh Truffles. It had been highly recommended by all the reviews I read. The guy agreed and that is what we ordered. But we also needed a good wine to go with it. As has been my custom thus far, we ordered wine of the region. A beautiful and bold Lazio Red.
Shortly there after, a pot filled with cheese came over a hot pot, skewers and 2 plates filled with vegetables and potatoes , and a bowl of bread and of course an absolute MOUNTAIN of freshly graded Black Truffles. I mean a MOUNTAIN! The food and the wine was absolutely delicious. OMG it was a symphony of flavors. We were so happy I almost cried. We knew that we would need to immediately make a reservation for our last night here in Rome. As there is no way I’m not going to eat here again. It is that good. And I have since recommended to at least 20 friends to eat here and they have and they have returned to it more than once. So much so, that my last group of friends who went said they were recommended this place, and the owner said… ” By whom? Erika? ” yes me honey.!!!!!! You’re that amazing!!!!
And that my dears, ended our first fabulous day in Rome.
Today was more of a chill day, yet it was still full of adventure. We started our early morning with some coffee at our neighborhood coffee shop and made our way to the bustling Campo De Fiori. The sky was dark and damp , and rain is definitely in the forecast for today. It’s ok, we were prepared.
Filled with so much history, some bloody , some even bloodier, the campo is now home to a huge morning market. Stalls selling every type of fresh fruit imaginable, a rainbow of flowers, brightly colored vegetables and a sea of beans, legumes, and grain, the market was alive with reps for restaurants buying their fresh daily produce.
From the Campo we continued on towards the Jewish Quarter. This quarter is such a famous place, and it dates back to ancient times as well. formally known as the Ghetto, an Italian word, The Jewish quarter is an excellent place to fill up with history. Once not so nice a place, the Jews of history yet again received the crap end of the stick.
The Roman Ghetto was established as a result of Papal bull Cum nimis absurdum, promulgated by Pope Paul IV on 14 July 1555. The bull also required the Jews of Rome, which had existed as a community since before Christian times and which numbered about 2,000 at the time, to live in the ghetto. The ghetto was a walled quarter with its gates locked at night. The wall was built under the direction of the architect Giovanni Sallustio Peruzzi. The cost of the wall’s construction, 300 Roman scudi, had to be paid by the Jewish community. The area of Rome chosen for the ghetto was one of the most undesirable quarters of the city, subject to constant flooding by the Tiber River, but where Jews amounted already to 80% of the population. At the time of its founding, the area was a trapezoid whose bases (parallel to the river) measured respectively 270 m (890 ft) (near the Tiber) and 180 m (590 ft), and whose sides was about 150 m (490 ft) long. The wall started from Ponte Fabricio reaching the Portico d’Ottavia; from there it run along today’s Via del Portico d’Ottavia (not including the ancient fish market (Italian: La Pescheria); at Piazza Giudea (which was cut in two) it bent again running along Vicolo Cenci (today Via del Progresso) until it reached the Tiber again. The total area amounted to three hectares. At the time of Sixtus V (late 1580s), roughly 3,500 inhabitants were living in inhuman conditions. c/o Wikipedia
However, from what we have learned, during the Nazi Campaign and Musolini’s ridiculous ethnic cleansing, the people of Rome, rallied by the Jews to protect them from harm, it was one of the times where Romans were proud of everyone of their place, including the chosen People of God. It touched my heart to read about such resilience and humanity from the roman people.
In present Day , the quarter is filled with culture. There is a school , and a lot of artisanal shops. Here though there is a strict code of Kosher. If you buy a pastry and coffee at a bakery, you can’t sit down at a restaurant next door and order something, if they sell cow products. We learned this the hard way.
We left the quarter and crossed the Tiber River into the cool district of Trastevere. I came to Trastevere one night in 2011 for a fabulous dinner with my friend Marco. It was awesome to see it during the day. Unfortunately for us, the Rain was increasing. But that didn’t stop us . Colorful , Bohemian, and funky, the area clings to its Working class past and now boasts excellent hole in the wall restaurants, and a cool hang out for the young romans. But this area also holds many treasures, like one of the first Christian churches ever built, in the basement of a Roman aristocrat . It is also a photographers paradise, with beautiful piazzas, gorgeous narrow streets, and a beautiful 12th Century basilica .
Santa Cecilia Church:
We wandered around a bit and stopped at the intriguing and ancient 3rd Century home / church dedicated to a martyr , of Santa Cecilia . Now a quiet and pretty church, its gilded Cieilings and ornate chapel isn’t the true treasure, the crypt is where you want to go. For a nominal fee, you can climb down to the original home of Santa Lucia, where she held secret mass worshiping the Christian God . You can only imagine how back then, being a christian , one would be at risk for prosecution. It seems humans only know how to persecute those who are different, whether it be the Jews or the Christians, today was a day to learn humility . The crypt is absolutely astonishing it is an absolute must.
Located on a gorgeous wide Piazza, this majestic church sits as the crown jewel of the Trastevere. The church is huge and filled with all normal Roman antiquities of Christendom . It was perfect timing for us, as it was starting to POUR!!!!
A little famished, it was time for a hot meal and some good Roman Wine. We found a little place right off the Piazza of Santa Maria and enjoyed some umbrella clad people watching. After lunch we slowly walked back to the apartment, taking in a little more of the gorgeous Trastevere. I’ll be back as I had made reservations at a restaurant I had dinner in 7 years ago and will be meeting up with my only Roman Friend, Francesca.
Located in the ver y fashionable side of Vitorria and close to the Spanish Steps, lie one of my favorite local hang outs. A very chic and upscale restaurant is the place to be. We sat, ordered a fab set of appetizers and a gorgeous upscaled Aperol Spritz. The people watching is unbelievable. Being in such a fashionable district means that the people walking around are deliberately dressed to walk the runway in front of us. I saw men sporting their Gucci fur smoking slippers, Women decked out in the latest fashion, super cool women walking their dogs, and the gentile like linen dressed older gentleman, making me with for a husband just like that.
We met a lovely couple from England, Sir Peter and Lady Carol, who happened to be living in France, and was visiting their grand kids here in the city. They were a lovely couple, and I watched them enjoy their fabulous bottle of wine. We didn’t have any plans for dinner that night, so we just stayed , and talked stories with this lovely couple as we talked and talked over wine and cigarettes and eventually ordered a full meal . We were talking about Hawaii and how it was called the Sandwich Isles back in the day, to which of course he said ” Oh I’m friends with the current Earl of Sandwich” But of course you are. We fell madly in love with this place and adored the couple.
The walk back through Rome at night was spectacular. To see the sights we just saw during the day time now lit up in all its fabulously is amazing.
Today was a big day for us, as today we would visit 3 top important sites of the Ancient Roman World, The Colosseum, The Roman Forum, and Palatine Hill. These 3 hugely important sites, can be done in one day just like we did. I pre-purchased our tickets via Coopculture and it made it super easy. Once you turn it on, you have 2 days to complete the circuit. We did it in one, but others may want to do it in 2. I decided to head out super early in the morning to 1. avoid the crowds, and 2. avoid the heat of the day. So glad we did.
We got out of bed, made our own coffee and munched down some pastries and headed out South . It would take us only 20 minutes by foot to reach the Colosseum. We left around 8 am and ventured off stopping to enjoy the gorgeous little ancient sights along the way. We stopped to admire the home of a ton of cats at Torre De Argentina. Unfortunately, there weren’t that many cats there as we were hoping to see. The city takes care of them or rather people take care of them, so they are well fed and well taken cared of.
Next we passed by the massive monument to the First King of a United Italy, Victoria Emmanuel II . It is grand and beautiful and wow really in your face. I’ve seen it before , but never like this. I do wish I took some time to go in or go up and enjoy it, but some things are left for another visit.
We soon came up close to the Ancient Roman Forum, which meant that right ahead was the Roman Colosseum.
Sitting on acre’s of land, this beautiful dedication to Roman Human and Animal Cruelty, could seat up to 80,000 people . Finished in the late 1st century AD, blood shed in this complex is undeniably gruesome, yet the facade or what’s even left of it is quite beautiful. We picked up our tickets after standing in a short line for Will Call. In 5 minutes we were in and scaling the great complex. While I didn’t go for the Gladiator’s chambers tour, I did enjoy the fake ones standing outside soliciting you for pictures, as well as of course, the grand spectacle of the Arena itself. Its amazing how much is still standing.
Directly across the Colosseum is
The Roman Forum:
Home to true Roman Life, The Roman Forum, built in the 7th Century BC, offered us a glimpse into the lives of the ancient people. It was filled with market stalls, temples, homes, and general life. There is so much to imagine in this space. You have to take your time to bring the visions to life. By this time the sun was almost at its highest and being that it is a beautiful day, shone brightly.
From the Roman Forum, we walked up a steep flight of beautiful steps until we reached the gorgeous
With a commanding view of Ancient and Modern Rome, The Palatine Hill is one of the oldest parts of the city. Here, Romes Elite lived while staring down at their masses.
Another legend occurring on the Palatine is Hercules‘ defeat of Cacus after the monster had stolen some cattle. Hercules struck Cacus with his characteristic club so hard that it formed a cleft on the southeast corner of the hill, where later a staircase bearing the name of Cacus was constructed. c/o wikipedia
From here the ancients good gaze upon the Pleb life in the Roman forum, and the Circus Maximus , and from the time of August Cesar, Imperial palaces were built here. The beautiful gardens and remaining facades are so peaceful and beautiful here.
Starving…. we defended from Imperial Rome down to common ground in search of a restaurant I had booked via THE FORK due to its very close proximity to the Colosseum. What a huge ass mistake. This place was terrible. The food touristy, the service horrendous, and to top it off they tried to play one on us. Well I obviously did not let that go. They were specifically asked to charge cc to the check in Euros. not USD. Well they did it anyway, and my friend got charged twice. 1st for Conversion fee, and 2nd for transaction fee I was so upset. I asked the guy why did he do that, he responded in a threatening over masculine way, that was of course, until I stood up and threw back my chair and got in his face. He immediately was very apologetic. P….. LEASE. But darlings there is nothing more powerful, than the power of the pen, and believe you me, I have written about them extensively 🙂 La Taverna Dei Quaranta…. STAY AWAY!!!!!
Being that we were still in the area, and following our favorite movie couple : Greggory Peck and Audry Hepburn, we stopped by the Mouth of Truth next to the Circus Maximus to see if we tell no lies. hahaha.
We slowly walked home taking on the beautiful sights of this part of Rome, but it was definitely time for a siesta. On our way home, we passed back through the Trastevere area, as we now felt as if we totally got our bearings. There is so much cool street heart in the city.
After a lovely siesta back at our apartment, it was time to head out again. This time we will definitely make it to Piazza del Poppolo. We were also meeting our friends from Hawaii to say hi, and hopefully meet up with the lovely couple from the UK we met the night before at our new favorite haunt, La Buvette, and a fabulous dinner later on .
We continued the same walk we have been doing for 2 days now, and finally ended up at the gorgeous:
Piazza del Poppolo
The large Piazza aptly named ( The peoples Plaza) is enormous and beautiful. There is a huge Obelisk from Ramses the 2nd there as well as gorgeous statues and columns surrounding it. It is definitely a people’s square, as there were people of all walks gathering inside ints square. From here you can view all the avenues that lead out from the Piazza in 3 rows, forming a trident. It’s quite spectacular. This is also the beginning of a huge shopping thoroughfare, with many western type department stores, and local boutiques. It’s a shoppers paradise.
We found our way back to La Buvette, and enjoyed a fabulous cocktail while waiting for our friends from Hawaii to pass by. We were also waiting in anticipation for our two friends we met, however, they never showed up. It was getting late, and it was time to return home to change for our fabulous dinner .
Casa Belve: Via del Teatro Valle, 48-49, 00186 Roma RM, Italy
Located very close to Piazza Navona, in an ancient Nobles home, this gastronomic restaurant is upscale and really good. Please note, resort wear is not advisable. Men should where jackets. It’a beautiful and really upscale restaurant, and the clientele were absolutely elegant. It was very nice of the chef to step out and greet us as well. I highly suggest this restaurant
Today, there is only one thing on our agenda. Vatican City!
A country within a country, the Holy See, the heart of Catholicism with its head ,The Pope, and a cathedral and museum that would rival any art museum the world over.
We woke up early to a bright deeply blue sky today. We got ourselves together, modestly , as we are about to enter a truly spiritual place and want zero disrespect. The walk over was fabulous. Bright gorgeous day, crisp morning air, crossing the bridge over Castel Sant Angelo with beautiful winged angles greeting you with thoughts of “Prepare” “Prepare the way for the Lord has come”
Slowly the Vatican and St Peter’s Cathedral came into view, as we followed the the cloistered nuns and dark black robed priests to its center core. There… In the distance, was the beautiful St Peter’s Cathedral and another huge and gorgeous Obelisk in its center. So is this what heaven should look like?
This is my second time here, and I’m so excited as the first time was great, but you really need to see a place more than once to appreciate its splendor and all it has to offer.
We passed through fierce security and marveled at the elaborately dressed Swiss Guards. The Church was busy but not as busy as it would eventually get because we were there early. I fired up my Rick Steve’s app and did a full audio tour via my phone . It was just as I remembered. Awe-inspiring. The amount of wealth here could feed 10 countries for a century or more. As the last time I was here, I snuck off to the left facing the altar and asked for a confession. Growing up catholic , its always been a sacred thing . But now that I am more of a spiritualist than a catholic, I was still eager to confess. I was so lucky, as the last time , I had a priest who was just going through the motions. This time, my priest was relatable and fantastic. He does the church a huge favor by being there.
After about an hour or so in the cathedral, we slipped off to the side to pick up some holy water for my friends and family back home. You buy the bottles and give them to a guard who takes them to a priest to fill and bless. It was great.
After we decided to hit the shops to buy a little more memorabilia from the Vatican . Fortunately for us, I recognized an accent from one of the nuns, and I asked her if she was Samoan. She said yes, but she is from New Zealand, I told her we were from Hawaii, and guess who got a huge 20% discount…. We did. 🙂
Famished it was time for Lunch , before we head off to the Vatican Museum. Again I fired up the Fork a few days before, and came across an awesome restaurant a few blocks away from the Museum called. Le Felizianerie . The food and the service was outstanding. It made for a lovely 2 hour rest.
I pre-ordered our museum skip the line pass from their official website: Vatican Museum You choose your day and time, print the voucher, follow the instructions on which line to stand in, present your coupon at a window inside the basement level, grab your ticket, and then you’re off. It’s very easy to do, and you don’t have to wait in the long long line hugging the walls. The museum is an art lovers dream, and filled with the Masters best pieces. Of course the Sistine is undeniably beautiful, but AWARE, NO PHOTOS… Well what they don’t know won’t hurt them, and I did not use flash 🙂
As per usual, the museum is absolutely amazing. This time, I fired up the Rick Steve’s app again and did another free audio tour of the museum . It was amazing, and we surprisingly only spent about 2 1/2 hours here. I thought it would be longer.
That was an awesome morning and afternoon. And of course we headed home so that I may take a proper siesta. Tonight we are meeting up with our English Couple , Peter and Carol for a fabulous dinner, back at La Buvette, and this time we truly enjoyed their company for a lovely 3 hour dinner. It was fun and they are just the best.
Today is a very light day for us the only thing really on our agenda , is The Gallery Borghese. Today we actually took a taxi there, at is was quite a walk and up hill at that. So I fired up another super easy app call My taxi. Think of it as Uber but you pay cash. Our driver arrived and we were whisked away to the beautiful palazzo . On my way there, I started to get paranoid, because I couldn’t remember if I unplugged my flat iron from the wall. I was so worried, that after we picked up our reserved tickets, ( you must do that and can do it at its official site: Galleria Borghese for a very strict timed entry. Fortunately I had some time and called another taxi and rushed back home, only to find it unplugged. Well better safe than sorry. I quickly returned by taxi back to the Galleria and rushed on in.
Galleria Borghese :
The Galleria Borghese (English: Borghese Gallery) is an art gallery in Rome, Italy, housed in the former Villa Borghese Pinciana. At the outset, the gallery building was integrated with its gardens, but nowadays the Villa Borghese gardens are considered a separate tourist attraction. The Galleria Borghese houses a substantial part of the Borghese collection of paintings, sculpture and antiquities, begun by Cardinal Scipione Borghese, the nephew of Pope Paul V (reign 1605–1621). The Villa was built by the architect Flaminio Ponzio, developing sketches by Scipione Borghese himself, who used it as a villa suburbana, a country villa at the edge of Rome.
Scipione Borghese was an early patron of Bernini and an avid collector of works by Caravaggio, who is well represented in the collection by his Boy with a Basket of Fruit, St Jerome Writing, Sick Bacchus and others. Other paintings of note include Titian‘s Sacred and Profane Love, Raphael’s Entombment of Christ and works by Peter Paul Rubens and Federico Barocci. courtesy of Wikipedia
It truly is opulent and beautiful and done is such a chic and not over done way. It’s hard to adhere to the strict time limit in here as I could spend hours in each room just enjoying the beautiful art and decor of the palace.
Besides the drop dead gorgeous Galleria , The gardens is also totally spectacular. We enjoyed are light stroll through the forested gardens making our way past large trees, beautiful flower beds, lovely sculpture gardens, until we came up towards the top of the start of the Spanish Steps.
We headed out back into the populace in search of something divine to eat. After lunch we headed home for you guessed it, SIESTA.
Tonight, dinner at Meridole in Trastevere.
I was so excited to see my friend I met in the exact same spot some 7 years back through a mutual friend of mine from Naples, A Return to the beautiful Life. , Marco. Francesca is a lovely soul. She’s full of Witt and is very intelligent. Conversations with her are always so deep and yet so light. We were meeting 4 other girls from Hawaii here for dinner. They are all flight attendants for Hawaiian Airlines and are gorgeous. What a small world it is to run into friends both new and old from your home land while traveling thousands of miles from home. Meridole , looked a bit different from the last time I was there. The last time it was practically empty, now it is a must to reserve to gain a seat. With 7 of us, I made the reservation a few months in advance to guarantee a table . When we got there, Francesca was already there with a huge smile on her face. It was so good to see her. We caught up a bit before the rest of the girls came, and she was a bit nervous as according to her, her English was not that great. Well she did absolutely fine. We all said our hellos swapped some stories of our adventures as they just got off of a nice cruise and enjoyed a most fabulous dinner.
After dinner , Trastevere was in full bloom. There were hordes of people everywhere. Many getting out of dinner, many starting their night of debaucherous bliss. It was very hard to fire up and catch a taxi, so we walked. We stumbled across the broken cobbled stoned streets passing people of all ages enjoying the night air. It was a truly packed Friday night, beyond belief. Finally we reached the Tiber river, and worked diligently to signal a taxi for the ladies. Francesca walked to her car and we put the girls into a cab and Debra and I walked home. We made plans to meet up tomorrow to watch the wedding of Prince Harry and Meaghan Markle as we are in Europe and in perfect time to catch it live.
Today is our last full day and night in the city . Debra and I had got up a bit later than normal, and took our time getting ready. We had no definite plans today but I did want to check out Bernini’s St. Theresa in Ecstasy and the Cappucine crypt of bones. We made our way like we normally do, huffing and buffing ourselves up the hill close to Termini station until we got to the Santa Maria Della Vitoria. Unfortunately the sculpture of Teresa was under construction . In fact, that was a huge bummer. But never the less I was able to peak a bit into what it actually looks like. Its a small church but so full of charm.
Just up the hill a bit was the Capuccin Church of the Friars where the crypt of bones of the friars were. We were strictly forbidden to take pictures, and even if I could, it just didn’t see right to do so. It is a very interesting church and I recommend it to everyone.
We walked back down towards Piazza Del Poppolo to via Vittoria to do some shopping as this is our last day, as well as grab a bite to eat before we head over to the girls apartment. I found some beautiful pieces and am very happy with my purchases, today was all about me, as I’ve been shopping for friends back home nearly every day.
We stopped for a quick bite to eat at the Highly recommended Ginger. For some Proscutto and a spritz and soaked up the strong bright sun.
Along the way to the girls’ apartment, we picked up a bottle of wine. When we got there, there apartment was HUGE and gorgeous. Wow what a set up. 3 bedrooms , 2 baths, lovely verandas , and a fabulous living room. The wedding was just about to start, and just like that, so did our tears. It was beautiful and who would’ve thought I’d be sharing this moment with new found friends …. IN ROME…..!
We had such a lovely time sipping wine, and crying over a wedding… Perfect kind of Saturday. Debra and I had convinced the girls to join us for our last dinner in town at Taverna Lucifero and they agreed. So a quick phone call to switch it from 2 people to 9 was no problem as we were dining real early this time because Debra had an early flight to take and I had a late morning train to take as well tomorrow. We of course enjoyed our walk back and stopped for not 1, not 2, but 3 Spritz’s . Debra had it with Campari, and that um really um…. set her off. I almost thought we were going to miss our dinner. Staggering back to our apartment, we freshened up, and Debra tried to sober up and we finally, met with the girls. They were all ooing and ahhhhing at how delicious the meal was. I’m so glad they enjoyed it as much as we did.
We then decided to take in the night air, as it was still pretty early, and we all need to walk off our food and some of us our drink. So we walked over to Piazza Navona together, had a taste shot of Limoncello to which the girls each bought a bottle, headed over to the Pantheon where a lady was singing her lungs out singing opera, and all the way to Trastevere for one last photo, one last goodbye and just like that, our time in fabulous Rome had come to a close.
Day 7: Good Bye Rome
The next morning Debra got up in time to meet her taxi and it was sad to say good bye to her. We have been traveling together for 3 weeks straight and what a blast it was. Starting in Venice, The Floating Kingdom of Opulence then to Florence: The Beautiful Tuscan Capital with a stop over in Siena, Under the Bright Tuscan Sun we have seen so much and experienced so much together that it was sad to know that I would now be doing it all alone. It was bitter sweet saying goodbye to our apartment. Maurizio was such a gentle host and I am totally looking forward to going back there. Rome has trapped me completely . I’m a total believer and I can’t wait to return to the Eternal City.