We were lucky enough to be in Rome whilst Pope Francis was in town (he is often away over the Summer) so couldn’t pass up an opportunity to head back to the Vatican on our last full day in Rome and see Il Papa in action. The weather continued to be glorious but also very, very warm, but we braved the crowds and the sun and stood in St. Peter’s square waiting for his arrival and for the blessing to commence.
No matter what you believe, there is something so deeply sacred and humbling about standing amongst a crowd of people, a true mixture of life from tourists to locals selling paraphenalia to nuns and religious groups from all parts of the world. It was a blast and a very exciting moment to see him appear in the window very far away, but there nonetheless. Of course we couldn’t really understand much of what was being said but it’s safe to say we all enjoyed a spiritual moment standing there together.
^^ You can barely see him, but he’s there, I promise! ^^
We recovered in a nearby cafe with gelato, coffee and paninis before heading out on our next adventure, to the Colosseum and Forum.
Rome tip: Buy your Forum/Colosseum tickets and print in advance if you can, as once again it saves you from a huge line which in the July sun can be unpleasant. We were once enough able to walk straight in and were verrrrrrry pleased about it.
Obviously, Il Colosseo is a mindblowing place. It’s very easy to sit and imagine gladiator fights and lions roaming, which is precisely what we did for a good 30 minutes. You can book guided tours which allow you to roam through the section at the base, otherwise you can just walk around the outside. If you’re a Colosseum fanatic I’d recommend the guided tour but doing our own thing was perfect for us to take our own pace and sit and rest for a little while in one of the world’s most iconic buildings and an incredible piece of history.
We headed back outside to grab some lunch, which we foolishly did from a vendor right outside the entrance. Rule Number 1 of Rome is never, ever settle for the touristey food. After we had paid almost 30 euros for three panini and three bottles of coke, we took it up a nearby staircase and ate overlooking the Colosseum to our right and the Forum to our left. Not a bad view, but definitely don’t rate the very average panini.
Next stop, the Roman Forum!
^^ This had to be the highlight of Rome for me. I mean look at it! Absolutely amazing.^^
We were still quite hot and conscious of the heat not slowing up anytime soon, so took it fairly easy meandering through and finding our own path within the many options to explore Il Foro. This seemed like a really special experience, as there weren’t nearly as many people as there were in the Colosseum, and it felt like you had it to yourself in a strange way.
For dinner we took a taxi to Trastevere, where I had heard some great restaurants were to be found, and we went to another brilliant recommendation from a friend-of-a-friend.
Rome Tip: Go to Trastevere. Just do it. Trastevere is beautiful. It’s lively and fun but feels intimate and perhaps more authentically ‘Italian’ than some other areas in central Rome. There are plenty of great restaurants and bars, lots to do and see and great shopping. I honestly could have spent hours wandering through the cobblestone streets here.
^^ Look at that window-to-window clothes line! Too good. ^^
We ate at La Scala in Trastevere, which turned out to be the source of one of the most amazing meals I have ever eaten in my life…. But it just so happens that it was Blake’s meal, not mine… Sorry Blake! All of our dishes were fantastic, but Blake’s hit the ball out of the park. Unfortunately this happens regularly, B seems to have a knack for ordering delicious things and then Courtney and I get food envy and end up eating most of his. Does this happen to anyone else..?! Surely. Courtney had the spaghetti carbonara, I had fresh pasta from Apulia with bacon, asparagus and sheep milk cheese, and the winner of the day was the gnocchi with black truffle and smoked provola cheese which I am still dreaming about today…
^^ Argh… That truffle! That smoked provola cheese! Be still my heart… ^^
After dinner we took a wander through more of Trastevere, Courtney bought some beautiful glass jewellery before we all squeezed ourselves back into a cab and jumped into bed.