Currently it is 16:10 and I am in the internet ‘cafe’ of my Roman hostel. I arrived in Rome on Monday roughly midday and since I landed on Italian soil, I have experienced a lot. Rather than posting weeks after like I normally would with a holiday such as this, I thought I would take a break from the heat and walking around to sum up my week – I leave tomorrow afternoon.
When I first got to Rome, the excitement that I thought would overwhelm me never came. I walked around that first afternoon convinced there was something wrong with me – I was in Rome and I was barely excited! I guess I had no idea what I was expecting. But over the course of the week, I have fallen in love with Rome as much as I did Barcelona when I was there last August.
The first night after roaming until my feet were aching, I sat under the Colosseum on fallen down marble pillars and just absorbed it. I was sitting under THE Colosseum and when it hit me I couldn’t wait to return the following morning to venture within it’s walls. My second day in Rome was full of everything that Ancient Rome could offer me – a Colosseum audio tour, Palatine Hill, and the Roman Forum; I was standing within the ruins of a city that Julius Caeser built; I walked down the streets that Romulus founded; the history was overwhelming. This part of my trip was definitely a highlight and it one of those things you just have to see when you’re visiting Rome.
A major highlight of the last 5 days I’ve spent in Rome has been the Trevi Fountain. The fountain made famous by film is beyond beautiful. I could have sat there all day if it wasn’t for all the tourists and the men trying to talk me into buying a Polaroid. The first time I came across the magnificent water feature was per chance on my first day of roaming. I didn’t really click what it was until I checked my guidebook and realized that it was the famous fountain I’d seen in the Mary-Kate and Ashley film I’d watched as a kid. I read the history and stepped down and turned my back to the fountain, and whist closing my eyes I threw €1 over my shoulder. You will return to Rome. Good thing I didn’t throw two, cause afterwards I read that two coins means you’ll meet an Italian man, and the third means you’ll marry them – thanks, but no thanks. The second and third time I went to the fountain was with the intention of finding a highly recommended gelateria. I can honestly say that Il Gelato di San Crispino is the best gelato I have ever had – and this week I’ve had a fair amount, shh. As I ate the creamy honey, chocolate and caffé flavoured goodness in front of the fountain, I felt on top of the world.
Besides the beautiful tourist attractions – Vatican Museum, St Peter’s Basilica (highly recommend paying to climb up the Dome), Borghese Gallery, Pantheon etc – at 11.30pm on Wednesday evening I booked a spontaneous tour to Pompei. The next morning at 7am I arrived at Piazza del Popolo and departed with a bus load of people. The tour guides were amazing and had us laughing before we’d left Rome. The 3 hour bus ride to Napoli and the Ancient City of Pompei was full of Roman legend, culture and history of Italia. In Napoli we visited the National Archaelogical Museum which houses all the artifacts such as household items, paintings, and mosaics extracted from Pompei itself. This was amazing and made me extremely excited to see the Ancient City. After eating Neapolitan pizza for lunch (which is different to Roman pizza) and a history lesson on the food of Italy, we arrived at the long awaited city of ruins. I went into Pompei expecting a few ruins and was astonished at how much more there is to see. When they say a city, they mean a city; main streets, back streets, homes, mansions, graffiti, brothels, takeaway shops, restaurants, bathing house, amphitheatres etc etc. It was amazing, but heartbreaking at the same time. The clear day allowed us to see the looming Mt Vesuvius behind the city – constantly reminding us that a lot of people died there. It really is something I feel lucky to have seen and experienced with the local tour informing us of every small detail they’ve discovered. I recommend seeing it in your lifetime. After the drive home, stopping off on the way to taste test Limoncello, I returned back to Rome so energized and informed of everything Rome and Italy have to offer.
Today, my last full day in Rome, I took my tour guides advice and did nothing but meander. I tried Roman cuisine on the back cobble-stoned roads; paid perhaps a bit too much for a personally embossed Italian-made leather (refillable) notebook; I had the best cups of coffee; I soaked up the warm ‘winter’ sun in Piazzas.
Today I fell in love with Rome. Tomorrow I leave Roma, Italia and I’m not happy about it.