When in Rome

I have to say I wasn’t sure what to expect in Rome.  I had heard some many varied opinions from it’s dirty and full of pick-pockets to it’s one of the best big cities in Europe.  When we arrived we jumped on a shuttle and headed towards Campo de Fiori which is near the heart of ancient Rome.  We were pleasantly surprised to see our apartment and realize that we were staying in one of the best locations in all of Rome.  Not only was our Campo filled with restaurants and shops, it also was home to a daily fruit, flower and pasta market and we were able to walk everywhere!

Day One- We got into Rome at 7:30am.  On the advice of the president of my company, we were determined to stay up all day so that we could adjust to the time change.  After washing the plane and airport yuck off of us, we headed out.  First stop was Piazza Navona.  Other than the pretty buildings and fountain, I was not overly impressed. It’s basically an outdoor carnival with crappy tourist stuff.

Next stop was the Panthenon. Now that was pretty amazing.  How they managed that dome I will never be able to figure out.

At this point we were hungry and stopped for a quick piece of pizza before we headed to the Trevi Fountain.  The Trevi Fountain is an masterpiece.  It was so beautiful!  We roped a fellow tourist into taking our picture for us.  Awe, Josh being romantic.  We also threw coins in for luck.

At this point we were started to become deliriously tired. We headed to the Spanish Steps…eh, not that impressed and then to the train station, stopping at a museum along the way.  I knew I needed a nap when I had to lean against a wall to look up at the ceiling.  We spent about 6 hours walking around that first day.  After an hour long nap, we headed to dinner and got some much deserved gelato.  I had a hard time choosing between all of the delicious flavors.
Day Two-I felt like a super Catholic.  We rolled out of bed around 8 am and headed to the Vatican City.  Walking into St. Peter’s Square is amazing and absolutely beautiful!  First on the agenda was to get into St. Peter’s Basilica.  It’s a good thing we got there early, because we looked back as were passed through security and the line was half way around St. Peter’s Square.

We were cruising around the church and noticed that there was confession going on.  So we found the English speaking priest and went to confession.  Now I was a bit nervous about this.  A.) I really don’t enjoy going to confession and B.) I can never remember the Acts of Contrition so I feel like a dumbass.  Regardless I figured I’d porbably only have one opportunity to do it, so I did it and got the most penenace I’ve ever gotten.

Shortly after confession we realized the next mass was about to start.  So of course we got  up in the first five rows for mass in Latin.  Even with the program they gave out I had a hard time following it.  It was very traditional and cerermonial.  I have to say it was cool attending mass with some of the cardinals and receiving communion.

After mass we booked it out the door to catch the Pope’s blessing.  We had awesome timing. Thanks to the zoom on our new camera we actually got some pretty good shots.  Did I tell you I was a super Catholic that day or what?

Now the Vatican Museum was closing early so we sped walked to get there and made it just before they cut off the line.  There were some pretty nice things in there, but we really just wanted to get to the Sistine Chapel.  So like a herd of cattle being lead to the slaughterhouse, we packed in to the the masterpiece.  It would have been much more enjoyable had the guards not been yelling “Shhhhhhhhhhhhh” and “No Photo.”  But oh well, we still got to see it and Josh snapped these pics.

After all of this I was so hungry and thirsty. What’s better for this than some delicious pizza, a mini bottle of wine and sitting out at a cafe people watching? Nothing.  Just a note, you have to go to this place if you’re near Vatican City.  Best pizza we had the entire trip!

We stopped by a castle on our way home but were definitely ready for a little R and R.  Quick nap and some wine later were headed out for dinner. We found this teeny tiny place just outside our Campo.  Josh had an unfortunate, I’m not sure what this is because it’s in Italian incident.  Oh Trippa.  Yes, that is tripe aka cow’s stomach.  It did not go down well or really at all.  Good thing we were able to get a nice big serving of gelato later.  Josh was much happier after that.

Our final day in Italy we hit the big three: the Colliseum, Palatino and the Roman Forum. The Colliseum was pretty impressive as we walked towards it.  We rented a little mobile guide…skip if you ever go there.

The Colliseum was pretty cool and we thought about Gladiator as we looked down on it.  From there we headed just down the street to the Palatino and Forum.  What was left off both was pretty impressive. It’s really too bad that the three sites had been used as quarries for the Vatican and other building around Rome. 

We ended the day with dinner across the square from the Pathenon and of course gelato.

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