Italy, to my antipodean viewpoint, is sun-drenched vineyards, ruins as far as the eye can see and thin crust Pizza cooked with few gourmet ingredients bursting with flavour.
The view from a top St Peters, quite possibly the best viewpoint of the city.
I still loved aspects of it though. We did the usual touristy stuff; the Coliseum, the Trevi fountain (which was incredible, what a feat of sculpture), the Spanish Steps… they were everything I thought it would be.
Rome was known as the Eternal City even among the ancient Romans themselves. It was so called because the Roman people thought that no matter what happened to the world, no matter how many other empires might rise and fall, Rome would go on forever.
The Pantheon. I could have stood in this empty epic place for hours, musing the history.
I’m not going to share our travels of the normal, touristy Rome, but the snapshots and dinky corners of Rome that I loved and delighted in.
I found the city itself to be pretty busy, smelly, noisy and full of rude impatient people. I don’t expect much of a city, but after all the delights of more rural Italy, Rome was a rude shock back into the real world.
The art blew me away. To finally see the Laocoon, the Sistine chapel and the Stanza della Segnatura tucked amongst so many other art gems it almost becomes too much to process.
We also hung out with a few locals.
My best tips?
- Go out of School holiday season – we went mind-end of September and the weather was still gorgeous
- Find somewhere cute for dinner that doesn’t have an English menu, and spend the night laughing at attempts to communicate
- Line up super early or later in the afternoon for the Vatican
- Set aside at least 20 minutes in St Peters to marvel at the Pieta and child that Michaelangelo carved when he was only 24.
- Get lost in the gardens and churches of Rome’s foothills
- Don’t be tricked into agreeing with your hubby to only see the Protestant churches
- If going to the Pantheon (which you aren’t allowed to miss) check out the S. Maria Sopra Minevra it’s breathtaking