Wednesday, 2 March 2016

City hopping | Rome



Rome, Italy, Colisseum, History, Travel, City Hopping, Guide
Rome is one of the cities I’ve always wanted to visit. Architecturally, it’s beautiful. It has so much history. The food is amazing, as you’d expect. It’s just city goals. I spent three nights there recently and thoroughly recommend visiting in February/March. It isn’t overly busy and the weather is decent, without being ‘too’ hot, like during the summer months. I stayed at the Smart Hotel, a short walk from Termini (the main station) and this was an ideal location, because the transport links are excellent and it’s also where the aeroplane shuttle goes to.
Rome, Italy, History, Travel, City Hopping, Guide
Really random, but when I saw this on the first day, I was SO happy. Just down the next street from our hotel was the Hotel Luce – and of course, I just had to have my photo taken outside. How many of you can say there’s a hotel named after you? From what I could see through the front doorway, it didn’t look as good as ours, but this pretty much made my life.
Rome, Italy, Vatican, History, Travel, City Hopping, Guide
 Rome, Italy, Vatican, History, Travel, City Hopping, Guide
 Rome, Italy, Vatican, History, Travel, City Hopping, Guide
On day one, I went to the Vatican, spending the morning at the museum and seeing the Sistine Chapel had to be the highlight. Each room I entered had a unique but ornate ceiling and I could have easily spent hours admiring every single last painting. I sent a postcard home because it had a Vatican City stamp, although it arrived well after I did. From here, I walked around the outside of the city – my feet were in Rome, but my hands touched the Vatican, as I guided round narrow pavements. St. Peter’s Basilica was the next stop and I could immediately see the balcony from which the Pope addresses his people. Hundreds of rows of chairs were in place and I didn’t get up close, but saw enough.
Rome, Italy, Colisseum, History, Travel, City Hopping, Guide
Day two was all about sightseeing. The day began at the Coliseum, where I also had a guided tour – well worth paying for, as you get access to underground, the arena and the second tier. I couldn’t believe how big it was, especially close up and in comparison to the one I had seen in Verona. The condition of the Coliseum was incredible too, when you consider how old it is and the damage that has been caused to it. Going out onto the arena was incredible, as was going underground and seeing how the slaves worked.
Rome, Italy, Pantheon, History, Travel, City Hopping, Guide
I would have liked to have been able to go to the Forum and other neighbouring sites – we could see all this from the top tier of our tour – but instead, the next stop was the Pantheon. Surprisingly there was no queue, but from the outside, the building was instantly recognisable. The Pantheon had to be the best-preserved sight I’d seen in Rome. I was in awe of the intricate domed ceiling once inside – but it’s the kind of place you don’t need to spend more than 10 minutes. I took a couple of photos, had a quick look around and then left.
Rome, Italy, Trevi Fountain, History, Travel, City Hopping, Guide
After a quick pitstop for gelato (yes, in February!), the next point of interest on my list was the Trevi Fountain. Now this was the busiest site we went to, largely because there were people loitering everywhere! It was impossible to take any photos, but I managed to make my way to the front and the base of the fountain to get a selfie (had to be done), throw a coin over my shoulder and make a wish (yup, still waiting on that one). It was definitely a lot bigger than I expected, or had seen on TV but the waters were the most beautiful emerald and turquoise. I would have liked to stay longer, just to look at the marble and figures – but it was just chaos!
Rome, Italy, Spanish Steps, History, Travel, City Hopping, Guide
The final thing on my list was to walk up the Spanish Steps. Unfortunately, there was some building work going on, so these couldn’t be admired fully. In fact, I found the whole thing overrated. The view from the top wasn’t bad, but to climb 130-odd steps to be greeted by street artists and beggars flogging roses really wasn’t my cup of tea. And after all the walking that had been done that day, I was shattered!

Three nights (read: two full days) was enough time to see all the major landmarks and enjoy plenty of good food, but I would love to return, because Rome is such a beautiful city and I feel as though I only scratched the surface.

What are your Rome recommendations?

Love, Lucy xx

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