Roman Holiday

Rome Travel Blog

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View of the Colosseum from the street.

Our first impressions of Rome were not good.  The airport was chaotic, there was some confusion with the transfer (a driver seemingly gone AWOL), graffiti everywhere, seems like everyone smokes, and an odor in the air that rivals that of NOLA.  As we walked to the Colosseum from our hotel this morning, we were very disappointed.  Then, we arrived at the Colosseum and the situation did not improve.  The most inefficient ticketing system we’ve ever seen and an 11:15 tour that started at 11:25.


Then the tour started…. The Colosseum is almost as cool as the Houston Astrodome.  We loved hearing about the historic details.

Beth and Randy inside the Colosseum.
  Of course, there is always one idiot in the group who feels the need to reenact popular scenes from “Gladiator”.  Guy, please leave the acting to Russell Crow.


From the Colosseum we walked over to the Circus Maximus – home to chariot races thousands of years ago, the yard is now falling apart and littered with coke cans, cigarette butts and graffiti.   Around the corner from the Circus Maximus and the Colosseum is the Forum.  There is some underground excavation on the property which, even though closed the public, the work gives tourists the opportunity to peek at some of the ruins upon which the Forum was built.


All of this walking, and of course just being in Italy, made us hungry so we started our walk towards the Pantheon and found a cute café for a pair of panninis, water and “crisps”.

The Pantheon.
  Randy had ham and cheese and I had what the waiter claimed was “chicken salad” but I don’t think that’s quite right.  There were slices of chicken, some cheese and eggplant tapanade.  Whatever the official name, it was very good.


After lunch, we headed towards the Pantheon, which doesn’t look like much from the outside but is a stunning chapel on the inside.  Too bad all of the tourists choose to ignore the “no bare shoulders, no talking and no photography” signs and treat it more like the castle at Disney World.


Not far from the Pantheon is the Trevi Fountain.  Along the way, we stopped to share a chocolate Gelato and had to eat it really fast – it’s hot here and Italian ice melts quickly!  We also had the chance to admire some great architecture and watch some interesting people.

Trevi Fountain.


We arrived at the Trevi Fountain, which is bigger than we expected and has the cleanest flowing water.  It’s the only thing that’s clean in this whole city.  There are tons of people gathered around throwing coins in for wishes (I wonder what Randy’s wish was), taking pictures and enjoying the cool water.  It’s a great place to stop and rest tired feet.


But, we didn’t have much time.  We were in search of 1) the St. Albert bar recommended by Beth’s sister and 2) the National Pasta Museum.  We never found the St.

The Spanish Steps.
Albert but we did find the pasta museum.  Beth saw this mentioned in the tour book and decided that since it was close to the Trevi, we should stop in.  It’s very funny and worth a stop.  Plus, it’s cooler inside than it is outside.  The audio tour takes 33 minutes and reviews the health benefits of pasta, the history of noodle shapes, difference between regional cooking and stops to pause at “pictures of famous people eating spaghetti”.  These folks are passionate about their pasta.  It’s a fun tour, light hearted tour.


We couldn’t stay inside all day though – we had to see the Spanish steps.  How fun!  Again, lots of people taking pictures and having a good time.  We walked to the top to take some photos of our own and buy water!  Then, we consulted the map to find the Fendi store which was close by.

Beth's purchase.
  Sweaty, sunburned and tired, we made our last stop of the afternoon and Randy bought Beth a very cute Fendi clutch.


Afterwards, all we could think of is taking a shower, so we found the Metro line and after some scrambling to figure out how the tickets work (there are no directions on the ticket machine), we caught the redline back to our hotel where we are now clean, resting our feet and getting ready for dinner which will definitely include some pasta and hopefully some red wine.


Another full day tomorrow – we’re taking a tour of the Vatican museums, visiting St. Peter’s Basilica and the Capitoline Museum. 

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View of the Colosseum from the str…
View of the Colosseum from the st…
Beth and Randy inside the Colosseu…
Beth and Randy inside the Colosse…
The Pantheon.
The Pantheon.
Trevi Fountain.
Trevi Fountain.
The Spanish Steps.
The Spanish Steps.
Beths purchase.
Beth's purchase.
photo by: vulindlela