Hello from Rome everyone! Today was our first full day in Rome and even though we got off to a late start, we were able to do and see so much. We woke up at 7:30am and went to eat breakfast in the main building of the hotel which was amazing! There were so many options with both hot and cold foods (scrambled and hard boiled eggs, many meats and cheeses, a variety of pastries, fresh!!!! fruits, breads, cereal and other dishes). We previously booked tickets for a hop-on hop-off bus tour of the city so after eating we walked to the bus stop and got on the next bus that came at around 9:30am.
Our plan was to just stay on the whole time so we could get a view of the city and an idea of what we wanted to come back to and actually walk around. It took about an hour to go around the whole route so we really got to see everything, from various piazzas to Vatican City in addition to the Colosseum, basilicas, and other historic monuments. There was a nice breeze and I actually took a nap for a little while when we stopped. After getting off the bus, we walked to the Pantheon so we could go inside. The architecture was insanely impressive (especially the dome and rounded hole in the ceiling) and each wall had something different to look at.
It was time to grab lunch so we walked towards the area of the city that had all of the shopping since there were lots of cute cafés as well. Before we found a place to eat, we noticed there was a Brandy Melville right nearby. I went in, tried on some clothes, and ended up purchasing a few things that were unique to this particular location. After shopping, we stopped at a restaurant that had a shaded area near some trees since it was such a tranquil spot. I got a margherita pizza (noticing a theme here?) and it was delicious as always.
We considered doing a hop-on hop-off river cruise down the Tiber River, but the reviews on all of them were bad so we ultimately decided against it. Instead, we walked back up the Spanish steps and even went into the church above it. Once we walked past that area, we eventually found ourselves in another piazza with an area covered in white pebbles. It had an amazing view of all the city’s buildings so we stopped and sat there in the shade. After we got up, we went to buy some cold waters at a supermarket and decided to take a break at our hotel since it was so hot. We had seen most of the sites between last night, the hop-on hop-off bus, and our walking around today, and the main ones we didn’t visit in depth (Colosseum, Vatican, Forum) we will see on a day tour we have tomorrow anyways.
After relaxing for a while (I watched some Netflix), we set back out for dinner. My dad wanted to see the Colosseum lit up at night even though we have our tour tomorrow, so we walked in that direction. We found a restaurant right across from it with a view so we ate there. I got spaghetti and it was pretty good, but you could tell the restaurant was mainly frequented by tourists for the view. When it started to get dark, we walked across to the Colosseum to see it lit up and took some pictures. There were people playing music and it was very lively; it was a good scene and probably my favorite memory from Rome so far. Around 9:30pm we walked back to our hotel and got ready for bed, tired but ready for our tours tomorrow!!
Frankly, Rome is beautiful and sprawling with tons of marvelous architecture and sites to see; however, it has not been my favorite city. The weather has been lovely in the morning and at night but scorching hot in the afternoon (as expected, typical of Italy in the summer). The city is kind of dirty as I mentioned before, and feels sketchy in many areas farther from the tourist sites, but there’s also many sketchy people and solicitors near the tourist sites. However, the streets are wider so it’s easier to walk and there’s a lot more grassy areas and greenery around.
Even though there are endless amounts of things to see here, after this trip and viewing the main attractions of the city I’m not sure I would ever come back to visit again. That being said, our time here is not over yet and our main excursion/tour is tomorrow so my mind could always change! I might be swayed by my anxiety towards pickpockets since the Paris incident, and my cold has continued to get worse which doesn’t help either. Beyond the heat and sickness, Rome still has a lot to offer and I’m trying to stay positive and enjoy it while I’m here. I will update you all with the details of our day in Vatican City and at the Colosseum/Forum tomorrow.
An up-close view of the Pantheon- there’s also a little statue/monument in front of it not pictured.
The inside of the Pantheon, including the bottom of the beautiful dome.
A view of the Tiber River (this shot was taken as we decided not to take the cruise!).
An adorable carousel with a castle we saw on the bus in the background.
The view of the city from the piazza.
The church above the Spanish steps- it was beautiful on the inside.
A church we passed on our way to the Colosseum.
The Colosseum as seen from the restaurant we ate at.
The Colosseum at sunset as we walked closer.
The arch of Constantine adjacent to the Colosseum.
More angles of the Colosseum as the night went on.