I clearly need a better way of organizing my pictures–I swear every single time I go back through photos from old trips, I find something new. Well, I guess that’s not REALLY a bad thing–it makes it exciting to go back and look through old folders of pictures and relive places and experiences that I’ve somehow looked past. So today, we’re going to Rome! This was actually my second time in Rome, but my first time was back when I was much younger and I honestly don’t remember much.
Our first stop was, of course, the colosseum. It’s funny because even though I don’t remember seeing the colosseum my first time in Rome (I know I did only from pictures), I remember the feeling, if that makes any sense. I remember the sense of amazement and wonder–that feeling you get when you marvel at something so grand. So emotionally, the colosseum felt very familiar, though it was still hard for me to imagine how way back in 70 A.D., 70,000 people would cram into this stadium to watch people fight to their deaths. And while the lives of so many ended here (400,000 people and 1,000,000 animals over the course of 390 years), the colosseum itself continues to live on–with an eerie type of strength radiating from its concrete.
Not too far from the colosseum is the Roman Forum: a plaza surrounded by the ruins of government buildings and a place that was, for centuries, the center of Roman public life. This place, like the colosseum, is also slightly eerie–the way the pieces of the ancient temples/buildings remain. I highly recommend listening to Rick Steves’ audio guide for this place on his mobile app–he guides you through the whole plaza and really brings the place to life with his stories and descriptions (and the app is free).
Rome was definitely one of my favorite stops in Italy. There’s so much ancient history, and it’s amazing to see how the city has transformed, and even more amazing how you can see both ends of the timeline simultaneously. In a few subway stops, you can literally travel back in time and hop from the hustle and bustle of modern city life to the remains of ancient Rome.
Anyway, remember to enjoy lots of gelato, and beware of the mosquitos during the summer! I got multiple bites on my foot and they swelled up to the point where I couldn’t even walk. I spent my last day in Rome in the hotel, with a trip to the McDonald’s across the street 🙁 For those of you who are interested, we spent 2 night in Rome and we stayed in a quad room at Bellesuite Rome, Via Modena 5, 00184 Roma (www.bellesuiterome.com). The hotel was really nice (modern, quiet, great interior decor, and super friendly staff) and their breakfast selection is great (yogurt, croissants, fruit, juice, coffee, hot chocolate, toast/jam, egg, cereal, etc etc.)! You get a tray of food delivered to the room every morning (you place your order the night before). As for transportation, I recommend buying a Roma Pass (34 EURO) which is valid for three days and covers public transportation and gets you free or discounted entry to a number of sights/attractions in Rome.
I’m considering writing a post that features our whole 2-week Italy itinerary–it might take a while to compile everything, though. Still debating, but let me know if ya’ll would be interested in seeing that!