A visit to Rome

Trip Start Sep 20, 2009
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Trip End Ongoing


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Where I stayed
Hotel Giglio dell'Opera

Flag of Italy  , Latium,
Monday, January 18, 2010

As we rung in the new decade, Natalie and I made a very simple, but exciting, New Year's resolution: see 10 countries in 2010. We’re now three weeks into January and we’ve knocked one of the list. We spent last weekend amongst the ruins, churches, piazzas and palm trees of Rome.

We flew out of Prague on Friday night and arrived in Rome’s second airport, Ciampino, a few hours later. As a result of our getting better at travelling, and the flexing of my (admittedly quite weak) Italian language muscle, we were able to catch a quick connection to the city centre. Our hotel was beautiful, decorated with furniture I think they stole from my Nonna’s living room. It was pretty late by the time we settled in, so I bought a bottle of Rose from the lobby bar, and we just relaxed. We knew we had a big day ahead of us.

We woke early Saturday morning, and to our surprise and delight, the hotel offered a complimentary breakfast. It had been quite a while since we had had provolone and mortadella (it’s all eidam and sausage here in Prague). Feeling empowered by our high calorie breakfast and fully awake after two Italian espressos, we started our sightseeing. Now, Rome might not have been built in a day, but we just about saw it all in one. St. Peters, Vatican museum, Sistine Chapel, Colosseum, Foro Romano (and the rest of the palatine hill), the Spanish Steps and Fontana di Trevi were all checked off our list on Saturday. We prayed in the church, wept at the Pieta (only Nat, I swear), gawked at the ceiling, strolled through the amphitheatre, admired the ruins, sat on the stairs and tossed a coin in the water. It was a magical day that wouldn’t have been possible if we hadn’t visited the city in January. In the dead of winter –sunny and +12 – there were no lines anywhere.

As night fell on our first full day, we went for dinner near the Fontana at an intimate pizza and pasta place. We sat beside the wood burning stove, ordered a very nice litre of vino rosso and had our first taste of pasta in Italy – I’m used to only tasting Italy in Pasta.  I don’t have the ability to aptly describe a plate of cannelloni, plus I’d feel too much like that creepy French critic in Ratatouille, so let’s just say that the dish lived up to my high expectations.

On our final day in the eternal city, we took care of shopping and piazza hopping. We visited Piazza Del Popolo, Piazza Navona, and enjoyed some pizza and Peroni’s in Piazza Venezia. I found an Azzuri sweatshirt that I needed for all the upcoming Champions League matches involving Seria A sides. Nat got an "I Heart Rome" sweater and a nice clutch that may have fallen off a truck somewhere before we bought it. We also saw the Pantheon and walked down Via Del Corso before heading back to Ciampino for our flight home.

It was really incredible to see in real life all the places I’ve read about and studied. And it will be nice to have a better answer to the question, “have you ever been to Italy?” Now I have, and with our coins resting at the bottom of Trevi’s fountain, our return is guaranteed.

Arrivederla,

James
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Comments

Peter Zakrzewski on

What a wonderful New Year's resolution. This European adventure is turning out to be a really turning point in your life. I'm so proud.

And the weather in Italy! Kasia and I were there this time last year and it was freezing! I'm so hoping that we'll be able to visit you soon. It's really one of the things I'm looking forward to this year.

Keep on writing, traveling, and taking beautiful photos. Never stop! Never!

Love,

Petey

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