This weekend, we decided to live it up like Lizzie McGuire and take a trip to Rome.
After almost missing our train, we made it to the Tiburtina train station which was walking distance from our hotel, The Not-So-Best Western Blu. Although the hotel wasn’t the greatest and the staff seemed extremely annoyed by the presence of us annoying Americans, they gave us two free bottles of wine that were labelled DOC (controlled designation of origin) – which as I learned in my wine course, is a very high quality wine.
Anyway, after dropping off our luggage, we headed back to the metro station because we wanted to explore central Rome. Since we each needed some good luck , we decided to go to the Trevi Fountain first.
This in itself was a little bit of a challenge because Rome is HUGE – nothing at all like little Florence! At first, the Rome Metro was confusing to navigate, so we had to find someone who spoke English who could help us.
The Trevi Fountain, or the Fontana Di Trevi, may have been crowded by other tourists such as ourselves but it was such a beautiful and breathtaking sight!
Although there are many fountains in Rome, this one happens to be the largest and most magnificent one. It is also one of the oldest water sources, and was constructed in 19 BC by Agrippa, son-in-law of Emperor Augustus.
The central figure of the fountain is Neptune, god of the sea. The statue on the left of Neptune is holding a horn filled with fruits and is supposed to represent abundance, while the statue on the right is holding a cup that a snake is drinking from, representing Health.
In 2013, the fountain was in desperate need of repair and so it was closed while fashion house Fendi restored it and reportedly spent $2.2 million doing so. Today, people from all over the world visit the fountain and make a wish as they toss their coin in the fountain.
There are so many myths about the coins! It is believed that if you toss a coin in the fountain, you will return to Rome again someday. Some say tossing two coins means you’ll fall in love and three coins means you’ll get married in Rome.
I tossed at least three coins. 🙂
After the Trevi Fountain, our next stop was Vatican City to repent our sins!
As expected, the lines to go inside of Sistine Chapel and St. Peter’s Basilica were extremely long so we decided to just walk through St. Peter’s square instead.
There are guards everywhere, and there are barriers all around that prevent tourists from standing in front of the Basilica. To do so, you must wait in line. On a Saturday especially, you could spend an entire afternoon waiting in line, so many people buy tickets to skip the line. Regardless, it was still amazing to be there and admire the beautiful buildings, columns, and statues from the outside.
Vatican City is also known as “The Holy See” and is referred to as a city-state. It is home to only about 800 residents – many of them are priests, nuns, and high ranking dignitaries.
St Peter’s Square is surrounded by colonnades, or long sequences of columns.In the center of the square is an 83 foot Egyptian obelisk, which is pretty interesting. I did further research to find its connection to the Vatican and discovered that this obelisk (pictured below) has been there before St. Peter’s Square was even built. It is 3200 years old and weighs 350 tons. A ship was actually constructed for the sole purpose of delivering the obelisk to Rome.
After we left Vatican City, we stopped at a Trattoria for dinner. In Italy, there are osterias, trattorias, and ristorantes. A trattoria is more formal than an osteria but less formal than a ristorante, so it falls in between the two. We were expecting authentic Italian cuisine, but we saw that there was fettucine alfredo on the menu, which is not actually Italian. We each decided to order it anyway and the pasta was freshly made and delicious.
That night, we decided to explore the Rome nightlife. After going to a couple of bars, we ended up at the Abbey Theatre Irish Pub. One of my friends who was with us had a couple of friends who were studying abroad in Rome who met us there. Everyone there was super friendly and I even met some Americans who had gone to school in the states and found jobs abroad. The pub had great music and we all had a great time. And everyone sang to me for my 21st birthday 🙂
The next day, after checking out of our hotel and before heading back to Florence, we went to visit the Colosseum.
The Colosseum is massive, so it was impossible to capture it all in a picture and my pictures certainly cannot do it justice! The Colosseum is an iconic symbol of Rome’s fascinating history. This stone amphitheater that was used for sporting events, battles, celebrations, and more.
Our trip to Rome was an interesting one. The city was extremely crowded and hectic, but it was a great experience all the same. And even though I didn’t find Paulo to sing to me, I got to spend my Valentine’s day and birthday weekend with my best friends while exploring the beautiful city!