City Break to Rome - Part 1
So this story is sort of part of our engagement (this will be a post soon) but Rome in itself, is such an incredible city; it has to have it's own post. I have split it in to two parts, so here it is..
A week before we were due to go, my boyfriend surprised me with this little 3 night city break saying "wouldn't it be nice to go as we'd never been" and also, having just finished working in recruitment - we deserved a treat and some quality time together.
I wasn't about to say no... I love Italian food and have always wanted to go to Rome so I was ecstatic to have the opportunity to go and experience it for myself!
Alarms were set for 2:15am on Saturday morning as we were booked on to the 6am flight. We both awoke groggy-eyed but excited - we were finally off! We landed at 9:35am and decided that rather than paying for a taxi, we'd get the train. This was so much cheaper and meant that we were able to take in some of the surrounding areas as we travelled in.
We were staying in the Trastevere area - at a H10 hotel called Roma Citta which was approximately 10-15 minutes walk from the train/tram station. As we had arrived so early, we didn't think that we would be able to check in but leaving our bags and freshening up would have sufficed - thankfully, our room was ready.
The receptionist was really helpful and told us the best ways to get around based on the sites we wanted to see and gave us a map to plan out our route.
We headed up to our perfectly adequate room and dumped our bags and freshened up. The bed was comfortable, it was very clean and tidy, it had a fridge and overlooked the local dog park. We knew we'd be spending quite a lot of time out and about so having a nice and peaceful base was great!
It was still early and the sun was trying to peek out from behind the clouds but it was already pretty warm. We set off to the nearest newsagents' and purchased a 72hour travel card which is valid on the buses, metro, trams and local trains. We soon came to realise, Rome has a great transport network which made these travel cards great value for money. Getting on the bus was pretty straightforward and using the map we'd been given; we quickly worked out where we were on the route and when to get off.
Our first stop was Piazza Venezia; its ideally situated between the Colosseum on one side and the Pantheon, Trevi Fountain and Piazza Navona on the other. We started with the latter as we knew the Colosseum needed us to be there super early to avoid the queues.
Getting off here and seeing the Piazza was jaw dropping - I'm not sure I knew what to expect but taking in the sheer scale of the Altar of the Fatherland and Capitoline Hill blew me away!
We continued walking towards the Trevi Fountain taking in the sights. The buildings are so interesting with their shutter windows, paintwork hues of peach, orange, pinks and yellows - it's difficult not to photograph everything!
There are churches every where, the traffic is crazy and people just walk.. it's all quite a lot to take in so we decided we needed to stop and get some lunch.
We stopped in a local deli, grabbed some bread with prosciutto, fresh mozzarella and salad - all so delicious and fresh! Feeling satisfied, we continued on our walk and our next stop which was the Trevi Fountain.
It's truly a spectacle to behold - it's very grand with its Baroque features and white stone. It's obviously a must see and there were large crowds around it; some throwing coins over their shoulders in to the waters and even a wedding shoot.. all being coordinated like an FBI secret operation - and they say romance is dead..
Anyway, we carried on from here to the Pantheon and well, this building is truly humbling. It's presence is significant and then you go in side and see the oculus in the dome and you can't help but wonder how our ancestors set about building it!
Carrying on from here, we headed to Piazza Navona. This beautiful square has 3 fountains - the Four Rivers Fountain, the Neptune Fountain and Fountain of the Moor.
There's also a stunning church called Sant'Agnese in Agone - that we weren't allowed to take any pictures of inside but I did manage to sneak one. The interior is stunning, there is incredible artwork all across the dome and ceiling and lots of gold.. aside from the dome, the exterior is pretty bland in comparison.
There's a great buzz around here - the Square is alive with tourists and local performers so we decided to stop and have an afternoon aperitif and enjoy the sun that had finally managed to break through the clouds.
After a delightful drink (or two), we made our way to the Spanish Steps. This is a lovely spot to sit and enjoy the last of the sunshine or take a walk to the top and take in the sights of Rome's rooftops.
As it was our first night and we weren't sure how to get back to our hotel on the bus, we decided to head back before the sun set and have dinner there and an early night. We both opted for pasta dishes - after all our walking we figured we'd earned it and would undoubtedly burn it off the next day!