Eurotrip: Rushing Around Roma

If it seems like I'm rushing through Rome in this post, it's coz I did.
After spending a fantastic day walking around Florence, Bro & I woke up bright and early, took some breakfast at the Stendhal hotel, and met up with the rest of our Eurotrip posse.
The trip wasn't really to go around Europe in a bus, but rather... on a boat. More on that later.  We had a couple of hours before we boarded our ship to the next adventure, just enough time to  get a 'Best of Rome' sightseeing tour down pat.
If Florence is a city you can walk around in, Rome is definitely one you take a bus/car/metro to get around on. You know what they say...When in Rome... do as the Romans do. Or go where the Roman cars are avoiding...
Which would be the Colosseum. This time it was a brief intro talk outside the Roman Coliseum's entrance, because it was jam-packed inside. The exterior is a sight to behold, but it leaves you quite intrigued as to what's happening on the inside.
It was ok for me, because I had been inside during my studiare days (c.2005). The underground tunnels and quarters that housed the animals and gladiators are now exposed for the world to see.
Which was such an amazing sight to be in... once able to occupy almost 50000 spectators during its heyday, watching matches and fights as entertainment in the arena. It was a little dilapidated from wear and tear (duh), since its construction in 70A.D.
During my up close visit as a student, I came with a younger, rowdier bunch (c.2005)
This time, I was with my family, and close family friends... Not as energetic, but very good company to be back in Europe with.
Behind us would be the Arch of Constantine, to commemorate the emperor during a victory back in the days. The detail in the arches show the Via Trumphalis, telling stories of emperors arriving Rome triumphant from their battles.
We took a short bus tour around city, where we circled the Piazza Venezia and saw the grand Monument of Victor Emmanuel, the first king of Unified Italy
I was with some serious family photo addicts, look at their setup! It weighed a ton, so I was pretty happy snapping with my trusty LX3
After the short drive around the city, stopped by the Piazza di Spagna to do some "walking".
It's a super touristy area where a lot of action happens. And by 'action', I mean shopping and people watching. Almost all new visitors must come to the area for major photo-ops. The Piazza is called such because that is where the Spanish Embassy for Italy is located.
On the right of the Piazza is the Colonna dell'Immacolata, a Roman column built in reverence to the Virgin Mary and has a statue of her at the very top
In the center of the  Piazza is La Fontana della Barcaccia when translated becomes "the ugly boat". It's not so ugly, but it's called such because the shape is like a little boat submerged in water.
And behind the fontana would be my favorite man. Mr. St. Laurent, who is the marker for Via dei Condotti, the main street  right across the the steps, which is the mecca of shopping in the area and connects to Via del Corso, Via del Babuino  and Via di Ripetta. More shopping.
But the highlight of the Piazza would have to be across the Via Dei Condotti: the Scalinata della Trinità dei Monti or the Spanish Steps. The steps are the widest and longest in Europe, and is a  perfect photo-op, place to rest and must-see stop in Roma.
At the very top of the stairs is the church of the Trinità dei Monti. Also near is the entrance to the Borghese Gardens, which is a must see if you're a horticulture freak. Personally I like going up just to see how crazy the shopping becomes at Via Dei Condotti.
Another interesting place to note is that the romantic poet, John Keats lived to his death on the building to the right of the steps. It's now the Keats-Shelley Memorial House.
ToT & Fam + Bro & ToT's Mother's Day present to the best and most fasyon mom ever
After spending an hour around the Piazza di Spagna, we left the bus and decided to do a walking tour instead. If you have a map of the city, Rome is decidedly enjoyable to discover on foot, since there are some landmarks which are close to one another.
Along the way, do not miss an opportunity to buy some trinkets and knick knacks for pasalubong. I'm not a big travel hoarder, preferring to save my funds for good meals in places I go to, or a major purse purchase... which I overextended on day 1 :(
Aah... the Fontana di Trevi, Rome's largest Baroque fountain. This area is a tourist trap and a tourist's dream. The statues and the water features are so entrancing that you might not notice sticky hands already trying to pick-pocket you.
I should know, because my first visit  I was with a group of students and one of us got our wallets stolen (c.2005). Shocker in the pic is that I am the shortest in the group of 4.
Originally designed by Bernini and eventually commissioned out to Nicola Salvi, the Trevi Fountain is most known for its romantic setting (look at the lovebirds in the back) and the tradition of throwing coins. Apparently, throwing one coin would ensure a return to Rome, two to find love, and three for marraige or either divorce. Here's ToT circa 2006, throwing coins with my right hand over my left shoulder, supposedly for good luck. How many coins? I won't tell, but I will tell you I didn't throw any coins in 2010... No Need.
A friend messaged me that I must try this Gelateria for ZE best gelato in Rome. Upon spending 20 minutes looking for San Crispino Gelateria, we became defeated when we saw the gates were locked :(
So to appease my hunger, I decided to enter a Salumeria (meat shop) to get some goodies to eat. I try to avoid eating near the landmarks because the food prices are exorbitant and the taste is inauthentic.
They had fresh pasta and some bread, and my stomach was grumbling to try the ravioli.
But then I saw the motherload. The eponymous TRUFFLE. ToT HAD to have it.
Yes, that's a happy ToT with her hoarded Tartufo Neri. and YES, I bought them all. Truffle Party for my peeps!
So I was completely entranced that I ended up having San Benedetto Pesca The (Peach Iced Tea) for lunch. It's ok, since I LOVE it so much and would drink copious amounts of the tea when available. I'd like to think it's a little sacrifice for the major gluttony that was about to happen.
More walking in the city heading to...
The Pantheon
Built almost 2000 years ago commissioned by Marcus Agrippa as a temple to all the Roman gods, the Pantheon is still the world's largest unreinforced dome.
It's a true historical site, with gigantic granite columns from Egypt still standing tall after all these years.
The fascinating part of the structure is the oculus at the top of the dome, which provides light to the entire Pantheon. I love how, at different times of the day, the sun's rays go around the circular interior, highlighting the floor or the very intricate walls and ceilings. It is also never covered, so when it rains, the water goes inside, but a drain on the floor keeps it from damaging the building.
The interior is magnificent, with a molded dome and gold trimmings. The Pantheon was converted to a Catholic Church, and since then still holds masses. You can even get married!
What luck we had, because a bunch of students from the University of Iowa, were there. It was odd in the beginning when they formed a circle, but then they began singing choir-like and put all the tourists in a silent stumble. Apparently they were traveling around Italy going to public places and performing songs. THAT was an experience.
Across the Pantheon to the side is  Piazza della Minerva, where we took some time to gather our group.
A little peek at a dark alley revealed this beautiful fountain in a courtyard. Ahh... Rome is so historical and pretty from anywhere you look.
Here's the contact of the Salumeria where I hoarded the black truffles. YUM!
Next up... Euro-cuise time!


  1. I love how you have snipets of history/ info paired with your photos.

    how come no picture of the trevi? a little bird told me you didnt throw a coin... i wonder why??

    btw small snipet from me (and since its the only thing i remember about the pantheon, was too busy getting lost in my gelato) the columns aren't actually set straight. if you somehow get on top of one of the small buildings in front and look at it from straight, its actually all slanted. its that way so that when you look up from the bottom, they look straight...

    fallaces sunt rerum species - The appearances of things are deceptive (thank you southridge!!!)

  2. Cay: I'm scared to get it out of the Subzero...

    Miggy: you didn't read through the post, did you?

  3. This is great and thank you for sharing...I am just sorry that I missed you on this visit...but I know you will be back soon.


  4. ROMA spelled backwards is AMOR... I love Rome! You've never been to Europe unless you've been to Rome.

  5. loving the posts and how you inserted bits of facts..and your personal likes/dislikes,,making it altogether UNboring! i'm rather glued!

  6. It's a pretty good day for a history buff like me going over this post in your great blog! I just regret I failed to ask permission from the Agencia Espanola to allow me to have a side trip to Italy and other European countries during my study tour in Spain. But, gone I did to Rome anyway as your post is so vivid I can feel visiting the place myself. Congratz for such a nice post.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...