I Heart Rome

I often wonder if in another life I was Italian? I recently took one of those silly Facebook quizzes, which told me the country I belong in is Italy. This wasn’t surprising to me.  I have been blessed with many opportunities to travel, but my love affair has always been with Italy.

My husband and I are avid House Hunters International junkies, and every time we watch an episode with a family relocating to Florence or buying a vacation home in Amalfi, I secretly wish it was mine! I simply love everything about this country, the beautiful rustic countryside, the architecture, the history, the people, the language, which I hope to one day master, the shopping, the food…

The first Italian city that my husband and I visited together was Rome, so I am dedicating my first travel blog post to the Eternal City…

Fontana di Trevi

Fontana di Trevi

Rome is as beautiful as all of the travel books, websites and blogs will tell you it is, but as with most things, seeing is believing. It’s a very busy, lively city, with a lot of activity going on everywhere you look.  On the same block you will find an old ancient ruin alongside a modern building housing a chic boutique or a tiny car dealership!  My favorite areas are the open “piazzas” such as the Fontana di Trevi, Piazza della Rotonda, Piazza Navona and the Piazza di Spagna (the Spanish Steps).  You can spend hours just sipping a drink (or in our daughter’s case having a gelato), and people watch.

I could go on and on with this blog post, as Rome is one of my favorite spots in Europe, and I‘ve visited many times but I will only highlight a few things that I feel I must share with you.  The rest of the journey will be yours to discover on your own.

Hotel Albergo del Senato, Piazza della Rotonda, 73, Roma  A few years ago, we found a hotel located on Piazza della Rotonda, called Albergo del Senato.  One of the best features of this hotel is its location, literally in the center of Rome, within walking distance to almost everywhere, located on a pedestrian square.  We always book a triple room, so our daughter has her own bed, and most of these rooms face the square, with a view of the Pantheon out your window (however, be sure to request your room facing the square, as it is not guaranteed).  Needless to say, you can just open your window, and you become part of the scenery.  The first time we stayed here, our daughter was fascinated with the sounds coming off the square, and all of the people sitting around just talking and having gelatos!  Speaking of gelatos, there are a few places right downstairs, two steps away from the hotel’s entrance.  Not that we ever spend much time in our hotel rooms when we travel, but whenever we were in our room, we would find her hanging out of the window, just taking it all in, this was her favorite spot! And as far as most European hotel rooms go, the rooms here are not small, and they’re very comfortable and clean.

View of the Pantheon from our room window...priceless!

View of the Pantheon from our room window…priceless!

One of the family rooms we've had, very spacious.

One of the family rooms we’ve had, very spacious.

A stroll around the neighborhood of Trastevere is another must.  Hubby and I spent one entire day on one of our trips just getting lost on the winding streets and experiencing a more typical neighborhood, away from the tourist crowds.  The district has become somewhat popular with the nighttime crowd as well. The beautiful main square, Piazza Santa Maria in Trastevere, houses one of the oldest churches in Rome, and it is beautiful. Make sure you bring your camera.  You will also come across some traditional eateries that are not in any tourist books, be adventurous and try one.  These off the beaten path restaurants are usually the best meals you will have on your trip.

Trastevere

Trastevere

In the heart of Rome is Piazza Navona, a charming area where painters sell art and street performers sing opera.  The main attraction here is the trio of fountains that adorn the square. I wouldn’t recommend any of the restaurants right on the piazza, as they are mostly “tourist traps” and as such, very pricey for mediocre food at best.  However, you can sit for coffee, wine or gelato and enjoy the scenery.

Piazza Navona

Piazza Navona

Piazza Navona

Piazza Navona

Regardless of your religious beliefs, a visit to Vatican City and St. Peter’s Basilica cannot be missed.  Years ago, my husband and I attended a Papal Audience with Pope John Paul II on St. Peter’s Square.  This is something I had wanted to do for a while and it was very special.  You can get tickets (free of charge) in advance if you prefer to get good seats, as it can get quite crowded at certain times of the year.

Papal Audience with Pope John Paul II

Papal Audience with Pope John Paul II

If you’re planning on visiting the Vatican Museums, and seeing the priceless works of Michelangelo in the Sistine Chapel, it is strongly recommended to purchase tickets in advance online, as the lines outside can sometimes wrap around the entire wall of Vatican City, and the wait can be as long as 3 hours.  Especially in the summer months, the heat can be unbearable while waiting for entrance to the museums. It’s usually best to go as early as possible, to avoid the crowds.

View of St. Peter's Basilica from Via della Conciliazione

View of St. Peter’s Basilica from Via della Conciliazione

Ristorante la Rosetta ,Via della Rosetta, 8-9, Roma  We’ve had many good meals in Rome, but we always return at least once every visit, to Ristorante La Rosetta. This is a very good seafood restaurant and we love it.  On one of our visits we had a prawn and shrimp appetizer, hubby had seared grouper and I had the sea bass. Carolina had buttered pasta, as usual, but her favorite part of the meal was of course, the dessert!

Carolina enjoying her delicious three chocolate mousse dessert!!

Carolina enjoying her delicious three chocolate mousse dessert!!

Ristorante La Rosetta, steps from the Pantheon.

Ristorante La Rosetta, steps from the Pantheon.

Have you been to Rome? What was the best thing you experienced there? I’d love to hear!

More pics for your enjoyment!

The Colosseum

The Colosseum

The Roman Forum

The Roman Forum

Castel Sant'Angelo

Castel Sant’Angelo

VIew of the Monumento Nazionale a Vittorio Emanuele II

Monumento Nazionale a Vittorio Emanuele II

Typical Cafe in Trastevere

Typical Cafe in Trastevere

Carolina's favorite shop...Bartolucci

Carolina’s favorite shop…Bartolucci

Piazza della Rotunda

Piazza della Rotonda

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27 thoughts on “I Heart Rome

  1. I would LOVE to take a trip there someday. I am Italian, so I think I should go check out my culture first hand 🙂

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  2. I have never been to Rome. I haven’t travelled much in Europe actually. I have only been to France. It was spectacular and I was young. I would love to visit these places you have photographed.

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  3. I really like Rome! The view from the roof of the Monumento Nazionale a Vittorio Emanuele II is amazing. Wish we had had more time in the museums of Vatican City. So many beautiful things to see.

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  4. I managed to set up a wordpress blog but I have blogger that is my main one for now you can comment on either I’m so glad I am able to have it work now. I would love to travel the world Rome is one of the places I would love to travel to some day. You seem to have really had a great time I bet the food was amazing and the views were breath taking.

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  5. The way you feel about Rome is how my husband feels about London. I think he might secretly be English, we just don’t know it. 😉 You’ve got some great pictures. We visited Rome and loved it too.

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  6. We went to the Fontana di Trevi but it was being restored. So we didnt’ get to see it in all it’s glory. It looks amazing. Looks like your hotel room was nice. We went to the Pantheon twice and Castel Sant’ Angelo twice as well. Beautiful they were actually having church at the pantheon.

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  7. Pingback: Scenic Sorrento | Listen2Mama

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