The last stop in vacation was the ancient city of Rome! Our travel agent, who is also a very dear friend of mine, told us that we needed to have a train ride through Europe. I forgot how much I love to ride through Europe by train!
But one thing I haven’t ever done is ride through Tuscany. Can someone buy me a vineyard there? ;)
A four hour train ride can seem like forever, but we finally reached Rome!
We were staying in the Piazza Fiume at the Hotel Fiume. This hotel was PIMP (for lack of better words). We had stayed in pretty quaint hotels in the other cities. And by quaint I mean really small and not very modern ;) This was the most modern hotel we stayed in, but as the last stop in our trip, we needed that extra comfort.
Once we dropped our bags, we decided to walk to the Spanish Steps. But before that, we grabbed some lunch at a pizzeria near our hotel. I got the Roman style pizza and REB got the Napoli style.
You might remember in the previous post that we weren’t a huge fan of the Roman style pizza. We preferred the Venetian. I know it doesn’t look it, but the minute we let our pizza cool and we cut into it, it just fell apart :\ The flavors were kind of there, but they weren’t as seasoned or flavorful as the pizzas in Venice. Kind of a shame, but that didn’t stop us from eating the entire thing ;)
So something I didn’t know about Rome is that we actually stayed in the ancient city of Rome. Outside the city wall (which is still in tact by the way!) is the rest of the city of Rome. I assume that’s where most people live and work and drive. The ancient city is actually super tiny and we could have walked every where, but taking a cab ride there is ridiculously cheap. However, we did walk. We walked through this underground tunnel to reach the Piazza di Spagna and went to see the Spanish Steps!
From there we walked up to the Medici house and walked around their gardens. Then we walked to the Piazza di Popolo, which actually faces directly to St. Peters Basilica in the Vatican City. But before we walked through the Medici gardens, we got a good view of the ancient city.
After walking through the gardens and seeing the Steps, we headed south towards the Trevi Fountain. It was CROWDED when we got there. It was getting to be evening time by then, so we decided to get some dinner and then go back to the fountain at night.
Gorgeous by night :)
The fountain is absolutely beautiful in person. The details in the carving, the columns, it was just gorgeous. We did throw a coin in while we were there. I guess that means we’re going back one day ;)
The next morning we got up super early to beat the crowd at the Colosseum. It was also REB’s birthday that day! Beating the crowd is one of the best tips I can give anyone wanting to see a huge famous landmark in a huge city.
Besides, the light is so beautiful in the morning. Made the whole place glow and look golden!
We did go inside the Colosseum, and it is just magnificent in there. I really can’t describe it in words…
SO WE’LL USE PICTURES! HOORAY!
We actually did the “Caesar Shuffle” from the Colosseum to the Palatino, Roman Forum, up to the Campadoglio (the capital house), and then up to the Pantheon.
From there we walked to the Pantheon, which is another fantastic monument. Unfortunately, I couldn’t get a good shot of the whole thing since it was so ridiculously crowded there. But I did get a few shots of the details…
After that, it was time for one of my favorite things: time to eat!
Like I said earlier, it was REB’s birthday, so we had to have a nice feast. We knew we weren’t going to eat until much later, so we made the most of our mid-day meal.
He got a shot of Limoncello and got this amazing ribbon pasta with the mushrooms. We love all kinds of pasta, but he’s always wanted to try this particular kind. …So when in Rome… ;)
Me? I wanted risotto. I asked the waiter what kind of risotto they had because their menu just said “risotto” on it. He asked me what kind I wanted. He suggested mushroom and I said “Sure”. So what did they do? They made me something not even on their menu.
I don’t think I need to tell you that it was absolutely delicious. The picture speaks for itself!!
After our wonderful lunch, we had a lot of time to kill. I actually surprised REB with a ghost story tour of Rome at night, and we had a lot of hours to kill. So we hopped a cab and decided to go to the Vatican City.
St. Peter’s Basilica is quite beautiful. And I don’t mean any disrespect, but…it seemed a little over the top. Just wasn’t our thing, I guess. They claimed to have strict rules about who they let in based on what they’re wearing (as in, dress nicely because it’s a place of worship), but we saw them letting in girls with the shortest shirts or low-cut shirts. Just seemed more like a show than anything else.
But I won’t lie, it is beautifully constructed.
So the ghost tour of Rome at night was so much fun! We also took a crypts and catacombs tour the following day, but photography wasn’t allowed on that one since we were in churches and places of respect or whatever. Anyway, before we set off to meet our group at San Andreas Basilica, we had to get some gelato ;)
There was this great gelato shop by our hotel called Flor. And it was SO good. It was also open until the wee hours of the morning. The nicest people worked there so we made sure to stop in there at least once or twice a day :)
So! We met our group at the church and found out our tour guide, who went to both Michigan State and Michigan (woot!). So we learned some cool stories based on the areas we were walking around.
The first stop was in the Piazza Campo dei Fiori to see the statue of Giordano Bruno.
The story goes that the pope killed him because this guy was a scientist like Galileo and his ideas were “dangerous”. Anyway, they burned him at the stake while he was alive. When Rome became its own democratic country, they built this statue facing the Vatican to remind the church of its past crimes and why people should have democracy. We just liked how you know, they built this statue as an apology to his family. 200 years later.
Then we walked to the next site and on our way we passed by this old church that had skulls all over it.
This church was used to bury the people who died from the plague. Except, these were people who didn’t have families or have money for a burial. So the monks would just scout the streets for dead bodies and if someone clearly didn’t have a family, they would take the person and give them a proper burial and put them in the catacombs below the church. This is very similar to the church we saw the following day on our catacombs and crypts tour. We went to the Capuchin Crypt, which has six “rooms” made entirely out of the bones of monks.
From there, we walked to another little piazza and our tour guide asked us, “So which one of these buildings has a window where you think a potion maker would live?” So we all looked around and looked up and then we saw this window:
The top window there was the home of a woman who was a potion maker. The story goes she used to make an odorless, tasteless poison (I always think if Iocaine powder from the Princess Bride haha), disguise it as holy water and sell it to women who were in bad marriages where their husbands beat them or whatever. However one woman had a change of heart about killing her husband so she turned this potion maker in to the police and she was killed. The story goes if you’re a man with wickedness in your heart, you can see her ghost wandering the piazza at sunrise.
The last part of our brought us here, the Castle of Saint Angelo. It’s an absolutely beautiful building, with a dark story behind it… ;)
This was home to the Barberini Family. The head the of the family was a bad dude, so the rest of the family killed him so they wouldn’t be caught up in beatings, lashings, etc. The pope didn’t like this so he had the family killed. If you remember from the story of Giordano Bruno, the pope used to be the mayor of the city, not just a religious figure. So, because he ruled the city, he had the mother beheaded and the other children killed for turning against this rich man Barberini.
However, the youngest in the family, a boy, was about 12 years old and couldn’t be tried as an adult. So his punishment was to be castrated so that he couldn’t carry on the Barberini name or inherit the estate. If you’ve been to Rome before, make sure you stop by the Piazza Barberini, named for the family. What is it with Romans building monuments in the name of people wrongfully killed as a form of apology? I guess better late than never!
Anyway, the story goes is at sunrise you can hear the screams of the mother as she worries for her son’s punishment, and you can see her ghost holding her head wandering the bridge looking for her son. That is, you’ll only see her if you are a man with a wicked heart ;)
This tour and the one we took the next day were so amazing and interesting. It was a great way to see the city and hear some of the stories that people still talk about today!
I know we had the most fun in Paris, but Rome definitely come in second. It’s such a beautiful, ancient city with gorgeous architecture and culture.
Our entire trip was just amazing. It didn’t last nearly long enough, even though we were happy to be home (does that even make sense? haha). We’ve taken away so many memories and so many photos. We’re already planning our next trip to Europe! There is so much more to see!
I’ll be posting one more with just some pictures from Paris since I mainly talked about the food in that post ;)
However, I hope you all enjoyed the series of posts related to our honeymoon! Ciao lovelies! <3