Well, we finally made it to our last destination on this trip, the lovely city of Rome! As I talked about before in my Florence post, I’ve dreamed about going to Italy for a while, and seeing The Lizzie McGuire movie when I was ten only made my urge to hop on a jet plane to Rome even more intense (as cheesy as that may sound).
Our hostel was about a ten minute walk from Termini station and nearly a 20 minute walk from ancient Rome, which made getting around the city super easy from such a convenient location. It was a slightly older looking hostel compared to the modern appearances of the previous ones we stayed in, but I loved the character that the building had and it was situated next to a charming courtyard which made me feel like I was residing in someones flat rather than being a tourist on holiday. The hostel was like a relaxed version of Hostel One that we stayed at in Prague. It was very welcoming and would be perfect for solo travelers wanting to meet people away from a crazy party atmosphere. Another perk of the hostel was that breakfast was included in the morning, though to be honest it might have been worth stopping by a supermarket to pick up food as it was not the best meal nor the most filling, but it got us by for a few hours! I was really surprised how walkable Rome was. I guess most European cities are, but looking at the map, everything appeared a bit more spread out than it was. We definitely could have easily walked everywhere and for the most part we did, apart from the day we visited the Vatican because it would’ve taken us about an hour to walk and Emma has issues with her feet so it was much easier to pop on the bus and ride over. We spent most of our first evening just relaxing in the hostel before grabbing a bite to eat and taking an evening walk around the streets of Rome towards the Trevi Fountain to toss a coin in for good luck! Here’s a kind of blurry photo of the Trevi Fountain near sunset.
Rome is quite the city of romance at night, and I’ll admit it definitely reassured us girls of our single status haha, but I’d say taking an evening stroll is a must when visiting. Not only is it absolutely gorgeous to see everything lit up at night, but the warm weather makes for a very pleasant walk. I’d recommend making your way over to the Spanish steps at night. From the top there is a lovely view down to the nearby roads of Rome and it’s very lively with vacationing families and of course all of the love birds. Being in Rome, we had to see the Roman ruins so we ventured out to the Colosseum and the Roman Forum to get some culture.The Colosseo in all its glory!
Ancient Rome was by far my favorite area of the city. There’s so much history buried into the old bricks of the Colosseum and it is quite a sight on a gorgeous day in spring! Just be prepared to be corralled and shoved in line because once inside the first level of the Colosseum, you are put into a rather disorganized queue and have to pick and choose which line to get into to purchase tickets. During high season, it can take a bit of time to actually visit the sight, so bring water and a couple of snacks to munch on whist waiting outside in the blazing sun. I think having the audio guide helped during our visit since we were able to walk around the grounds and still learn a lot about the early Romans and how the space was used while having the visual of the building remains. The steps made me a little nervous though because they were really high and very steep, but it made for a good bum workout! Once we’d had enough of the Colosseum, it was on to the Roman Forum across the road. Visiting the Roman Forum was like being transported to another world, which you kind of are in that you’re witnessing the architecture and craftsmanship of another era. It was very tranquil and I was pleasantly surprised at how you could barely hear the hustle and bustle of the city life outside the ancient city walls. It’s quite an interesting juxtaposition of modern life with all of the zealous street vendors outside the walls of the ancient city in contrast to the Roman ruins. Day two in Rome, we planned to head over to tour the Vatican museums, but we weren’t aware how insanely busy it would be on the day we went, so we turned ourselves around and headed for the Pantheon.
As you can see, the area was swarming with tourists so you could say the two of us felt right at home! For a very late and much needed lunch, we stopped by the local Despar down the road to get a fresh salad and a few snacks to stash in the hostel in case we were hungry later. If you’re on a budget, stopping by a local supermarket is a great way to reenergize without breaking the bank. The bus ride to the Vatican was super simple and the buses leave from Termini station fairly regularly, so it saved us direction challenged girls from getting ourselves stuck wandering around. You can purchase tickets at kiosks inside the station and validate them at the time of travel. (Here is a informative website about metro fares and travel pass options) Although it was easy to get to the Vatican, it was kind of confusing about where to queue for the Vatican museums, so once we got through the security check we figured we’d get in the longest line and wait with the rest of the tourists. I don’t know what we were thinking but since there weren’t any obvious signs anywhere we thought “well everyone wants to see the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel right?” Once again, oopsie daisy we got in the wrong line, but it was all okay when we saw how short in comparison the line for the actual museums was, especially since we didn’t reserve tickets in advance. The Vatican museums were well worth the hype! Beautiful paintings and vast collections of sculptures filling each room…Unfortunately, my allergies decided to go crazy the day we visited and I was sneezing like an alarm clock that just wouldn’t shut up. Okay that was a really bizarre analogy, but you get the point…I honestly felt so bad for the other people trying to have a nice quiet tour with me sneezing every two seconds, but luckily no one seemed to mind. Of course you can’t take photos of the Last Judgement, but photos wouldn’t do it justice anyway. I have to say it was funny to watch people think they were being sly snapping sneaky pictures on their phones. BUSTED!!! The walls have eyes and the security would go over to each person and make them sadly delete the photos they took.We had a lovely day seeing the museums and we were really sad that our adventure in Italy was slowly coming to an end. Soon enough we were saying farewell to our Roman holiday.La Bocca della Verità in Rome. If you’re familiar with the Audrey Hepburn film you’ll recognize this legend!
Where did the time go? I would love to visit Rome again in the future and I think the two cities we visited in Italy were a great introduction to the country. If you are a city person, Rome is a great place to explore. There’s never a dull moment in this city!