The last destination is no doubt the most exciting and hectic city: Rome. This city cannot be imagined without the remarkable and iconic places to visit; especially the colosseum (or coliseum), one of the seven wonders of the medieval world. Other places of interest are the pantheon, Trevi fountain, Vatican museum, Roman Forum, Pinacotea, St Peter square.
19 Dec – After visiting Venice, Florence and Pisa, we embarked on our final checkpoint of the Italy Trip; our 3d2n trip in Rome. We were welcomed at Hotel Sweet Home with very helpful receptionist who told us where to go and how to go. It is good to double check with a local, even with all the research. When asked about the transport to the Vatican museum, he told us that it would take 18 Italian minutes. Italian minutes, he explained, could be 10 minutes, maybe 30 minutes, or maybe never HAHAHAHA.
Our first destination is the Spanish steps. However, we took the wrong turn from the moment we exit the hotel. We walked in the wrong direction for about 20 minutes before realizing it. And the Spanish steps was 20 minutes the completely opposite direction. So a 20 minute walk turned into an hour long walk. It was fortunate because if it weren’t for the detour, we wouldn’t have witness sunset from the Spanish steps. And it was beautiful. It is advisable to watch out for ‘friendly’ people because our very own friend got conned out of EUR10 for a string bracelet that worth less than RM0.30.
We head of to Trevi fountain. The Fountain of Love movie “When in Rome” is inspired by this fountain, although it is different. (I thought it was the same at first). It is the largest fountain in the city and arguably one of the most beautiful fountains in the world. We followed a tradition of coin throwing. A legend stated that if visitors throw a coin into the fountain, they could and will return to Rome. It was rumoured that a minimum of one euro is required, and as I only threw 7 cents (all the coins I had) into the fountain, my chances of returning to Rome is merely 7%
There is a quick stop at the Pantheon, a building in Rome that is commissioned as a temple to all the gods of Ancient Rome. The architecture and interior design of the Pantheon is unique, but in my opinion resembles a mixture of a dome, opera house (with large pillars in front) and a church. In this church lies the tomb of King Humbert 1 and Margherita Savoia.
After an hour walk, much to our disappointment, the restaurant we wanted to go to only opens at 7 pm, so we settled for a random restaurant nearby. The waiter was really friendly and opened the door for us, which encouraged us to enter.Surprisingly, the food was quite good. I had a salmon pasta (can’t remember what the pasta is called). Then we head of to Giolotti for gelato, as recommended by another friend. The staff there were very snobbish, but despite that they did not have the annoyance in their voice when translating the different flavours of gelatos. I made a point to try unqiue flavours not easily available – so this time I had pistachio and some chocolate mixture.
We walked back to Trevi fountain for a night view. The walk back home seems shorter than the walk towards the restaurant. We retired for an early night as we had a full day planned.
20 Dec – The itinerary planned is an entire morning dedicated for Vatican museums while the afternoon for the Colosseum, Roman Forum and Palatine. We had to take the metro during the peak hours which shows that some Romans can be really inconsiderate. We were literally pushed into the train.
The Vatican museums took shorter time than we expected, probably due to the lack of interest in the Roman history. As we had a prebooked ticket, we skipped the queue, much to our satisfaction of merely looking at the people who are waiting in the queue. There are a collection of museums from sculpture to painting. We started of with the painting museum, Pinacotea, then the sculpture museum. Also in the Vatican museum is the Sistine chapel, which has one of the most beautiful ceiling and wall artworks, but no pictures were allowed in the sacred place.
We then passed through the St Peter square, and took plentiful pictures of the St Peter’s Basilica. This is the largest basilica of Christianity, with 186 metres in length and a dome with 136 metres high and 42 metres large diameter. The interior is very beautiful, and is decorated by many famous artists, Michelangelo included.
As we finished earlier, we hovered around Piazza Campo de’Fiori. We had lunch at Virgilio, and the food was very delicious. I had a sudden craving for lobster, and ordered it on the spur of the moment. I tried the garlic bread with truffle, a kind of mushroom in Italy. This is followed by two scoops of gelato in Blue Ice; cappucino and Fererro Rocher flavour.
In the afternoon, we went to the Colosseum. Being one of the medieval wonders of the world, this place requires no introduction. I was very impressed with the structure and wished we had more time taking picture. We missed the Roman Forum and Palatine tour as we hovered too long inside the Colosseum.
Once again, we took shorter time than expected, so we spent the rest of the time in a tearoom called Café Café. There were a variety of tea but I had the traditional hot chocolate. I tried an orange tiramisu. Did you know tiramisu originates from Italy? The last dinner in Italy is remarkably the best meal I had in the entire trip. The place is called “La Taverna Dei Fori Imperiali”. All the meals were very VERY high quality, for a reasonable price. And here, I had the best dessert I had in years; a soufflé topped with vanilla ice cream and the ice cream with pine nuts and chocolate. This place deserve a second visit.
21 Dec – on our last morning in Rome, we spent the day shopping for souviners and relaxing at yet another coffee shop. We head for the airport in the afternoon, and reached Manchester in the evening.
After almost a week travelling in Italy, I had to agree that Italy is a place worth visiting. I am glad that I made a right choice to go to Italy, especially in the winter where the weather isn’t too unbearable. For those who have never been to Italy, I would suggest that on top of the four cities I’ve been to (Venice, Florence, Pisa, and Rome), other places to visit include Cinque Terre, Tuscany, Milan etc.
Go for an adventure. Plan your trip. Get inspired.