In case you missed the first two legs of our whirlwind European adventure, you can read about London here and Paris here.
London and Paris were great, but Rome was a first for all of us so we were beyond excited to begin checking everything out!!
Our hotel in Rome was set up a bit differently. The main lobby where we checked in (and nightly snacks were served) wasn't where our room was located. A hotel staff member took us across the street and up the block to the building where the rooms were located. Then we crammed into a very small elevator, put a dime into this lever box, and up we went to our room. We had some interesting rides in that elevator. This was our favorite hotel on the trip.
|We barely fit in the tiny elevator, but we had a great experience at this hotel!|
After we checked in and got settled, it was time for lunch. The little restaurant next door to our hotel caught my eye. We had pizza and Italian desserts. Both were excellent! After lunch, we headed off to the Pantheon. We walked to it without too much trouble. The atmosphere in Rome was very relaxed.
|The detail on the column (upper left) was astounding.|
The most interesting thing about the Pantheon was the oculus (hole in ceiling). Raphael's tomb is also located here. We enjoyed looking around inside and outside the Pantheon.
Next, we strolled through Piazza Navona. It was a very artsy area with some really cool fountains. We took a gelato break on our way from Piazza Navona to the Trevi Fountain. The gelato was so good!
Dad wanted to have at least one meal outside in true European style so we stopped at a place nearby the Trevi Fountain on our way back to the hotel. The food was delicious!
The next morning, we were up bright and early to head to the Vatican. We spent basically the whole day at the Vatican Museum and St. Peter's Basilica. There was SO much to see! Italian sculptor Pomodoro's Sphere Within Sphere was fascinating. You can also see the top of the dome on St. Peter's Basilica in the background of the wide shot.
We went on a guided tour of the Vatican Museums. I can't imagine trying to do it any other way. Our guide was very detailed and provided us with a very enjoyable experience. You technically aren't supposed to take any photos in the Sistine Chapel, but on this particular day the tourists weren't following the rules. The picture on the right of Mom and Dad looking at the ceiling with Michelangelo's The Last Judgement in the background is one of my favorites. We all enjoyed our time in this historic place! We even got one interesting group shot with Michelangelo's ceiling panel symbolizing creation in the background.
We had a little snack before we left the Vatican to head over to St. Peter's Basilica. These potato chips tasted pretty much the same, but I thought the packaging and name were interesting. I have to say that the Vatican wins the prize for most effective (and creative) trash disposal system. These machines compressed the trash as people disposed of it. Someone was thinking when they designed this one!
After the Vatican museums, we headed over to St. Peter's Basilica. The picture below shows a bit of St. Peter's Square as well. There were a few fountains, but the area was mostly filled with chairs and some large screens for viewing purposes.
Inside the Basilica, there were lots of things to see. The picture on bottom right is of Michelangelo's The Pieta which we saw upon entering the Basilica. Pictured in the background of the top photo is an ornate canopy designed by Bernini. The tomb of St. Peter is underneath this canopy. We looked around inside for awhile before heading outside to get a group picture before we made our way back to Rome for the evening.
One of the funniest moments on the trip occurred between St. Peter's Basilica and the Spanish Steps. Dad was ahead of Mom and I as we headed onto the platform area of the metro station. He got on the train that arrived and turned back to see us coming off the stairs just as the doors to the train shut. I started yelling "Spanga...get off at Spanga" and Dad said he wondered if he would ever see us again. The stop was Spagna, but we were reunited. We didn't stay too long at the Spanish Steps because my camera battery died and we were exhausted from a long day. We had a delicious dinner of a variety of pastas and Caprese salad nearby our hotel.
First thing the next morning we headed off to the Colosseum. We also saw the Arch of Constantine pictured on the bottom right. We took a guided tour of the Colosseum. The steps to the top were pretty steep, but we all made it. We had fun taking pictures of the ruins.
After touring the Colosseum, we headed over to check out a specific area of the ruins known as the Roman Forum. We could have really used a tour guide here, but we were a little short on time so we used the self guided method. The picture on the upper right is of the Palantine Hill area. We had some fun taking pictures in this area. One of my favorites is the one on the bottom right looking into the Roman Forum from just beyond the arched exit.
We took a quick break for lunch at McDonald's - a staple in each city at this point on the trip! I got mine to go and headed back to the Spanish Steps to get the pictures I missed out on the day before.
I also wanted to climb to the top. The picture on the bottom left below is a view from about 2/3 of the way up the steps. The picture in the middle is from the very top. I didn't stay long, but I was so glad I went back to get some great photos.
Mom and Dad were anxiously waiting for me in our hotel lobby when I returned from my Spanish Steps excursion. They were worried we would miss our flight if I didn't get back soon. Based on my stop for the gelato pictured above, I wasn't in too much of a hurry. I attempted to save some for Mom and Dad to try, but most of it had melted by the time I got back. Our taxi to the airport awaited...