3 nights in Rome
Updated: Mar 9
FINALLY! We have got away our first trip abroad of 2020! And an amazing one at that :) Sadly though, Italy has now been removed from the UK's safe travel list and so I don't advise travel there until covid cases have reduced :(
On Sunday the 11th of October, we made a three and half hour drive to Manchester, avoiding trains and hotels to limit our contact with other people as much as possible cause of covid (while feeling extra guilty about the environment). The whole time at the airport we were pretty anxious, having received the news the day before that we either needed to have negative covid results 72 hours prior (impossible for us) or to get tested upon arrival in Italy. But the airport process was as calm as ever and with no problem at all we were 30,000 feet in the air on our way to the beautiful city of Rome!!
Arriving in Rome, the airport officials could not have been nicer, and as we arrived late testing sites were shut in the terminal. We received a sheet containing a list of sites where we could get tested within the following 48 hours, but after trying 3, spending 50€ on taxis, and being turned away from all of them, we called it quits (again no hassle or any questions asked on the way home). We stayed in La Maison D'art Spagna hotel for £159 (179€) for the three nights, a bargain for being so close to Rome's most popular sites! We found the Trevi Fountain on our first wander, which was only a 5 minute walk from our hotel, the colosseum 30 mins, and the Vatican City a 40 min walk or a short 10 minute drive. Rome is mostly flat and so it is perfect for those who may struggle walking difficult paths, but be careful crossing the roads as they are a bit hectic compared to the UK's, and not all drivers stop at pedestrian crossings!
We arrived to the hotel late on the Sunday but decided to take a midnight stroll as we were far too excited to just go straight to bed! We got a McDonald's (shocking, I know lol) to cure our travel hunger and then by fluke stumbled across the Trevi Fountain, a 5 minute walk from our hotel. Our breaths were well and truly taken away at how beautiful the structure is. As you're walking down the street beside the building, before you can even see the fountain all you can hear is the running water flowing so peacefully. The building stands at 26 metres tall, 49 metres high, but you don't realise how huge it is until you get there. The fountain itself is carved from Travertine stone from Tivoli, a beautiful nearby town I would love to visit (google photos of it!!). The fountain depicts Oceanus (Neptune), Roman God of water, with Abundance and Salubrity at either side of him. Below stand two tritons on horses, and above at the top is the Papel coat of arms, guarded by angels.
Day 1- Monday
In the morning, we left about 10:30 to find somewhere for breakfast. Breakfast was included with our hotel but instead of sitting in a canteen type room we wanted to sit outside and experience some Italian breakfast instead of a continental one! We found a
cute little restaurant with tables outside and ordered these amazing little sandwiches stuffed with parma ham, cheese, and salad, along with freshly squeezed orange juice (I'm drooling thinking about it). This cost us around 28€ which is more expensive than most places back home, but a lot of other food places we went to here were much cheaper than this so don't be put off!
After breakfast we went another wander (you'll come to find me and Connor are expert wanderers, not sure how we've not got properly lost yet), and again somehow found the Spanish steps 2 minutes later! This day was clammy and by the time we got to the top I felt like I needed a change of clothes!! We also got annoyed at the top by a guy trying to sell roses (Connor got more annoyed at me though for letting him take our picture instead of walking away lol, needs must). That was the only thing we didn't like about Rome was the amount of guys trying to be your pal and pretend to give you things for nothing, but then they demand money. I feel sorry for people for the slightest things and so I was a bit more sympathetic to them, they're only trying to make a living at the end of the day. But if you see someone making their way towards you with a bunch of stuff and you're not interested in what they have WALK AWAY. I felt so rude at first ignoring people but you quickly realise its the only way they won't bug you.
At least we got a nice pic out of it :)
Next, I forced Connor into a huge Zara with 5 floors!!! I love clothes and planning nice outfits but recently I've become more conscious of clothes I buy and I'm aiming to only purchase clothes I know I will get good use out of. Anything I think I won't wear as much, like a going out dress, I'll try to buy second hand (although who needs going out clothes anymore, thanks Corona), but that's another blog post!! I bought a few long sleeved tops for winter since back home it's all of a sudden got bloody freeeeezing, then we nipped back to the hotel so I could change before heading back out. This time we google mapped the Colosseum which was literally just a straight 30 minute walk all the way. On route I found potentially my favourite building so far...
The Piazza Venezia /Vittoriano/ Alter of the Fatherland, I don't actually know what name it goes by, but how stunning is that?! Honestly being in Rome made me realise how boring UK's buildings are.
A lot of Romans apparently don't like this building cause it stands out like a sore thumb but I can't help but love it. We also didn't realise until the next day you can walk up the stairs and around the building and then take a lift to the top to see some stunning views, which I'lll get to on day 2.
Once we avoided another 5 or so guys trying to sell us things, we made it to the colosseum. Connor booked tickets on his phone the night before and when we got there just walked straight in cause there was no queues!! The colosseum is another amazing structure and it felt surreal being able to walk around somewhere with so much history (gruesome history at that). We cheekily listened to a nearby tour guide say that over 10,000 animals and 3,000 humans sadly lost their lives there.
After the colosseum we had the most amazing dinner at Ristoro Della Salute and it makes me sad thinking about how good it was. We shared bruschetta for starters and then each had spaghetti carbonara. The carbonara was made with sheep cheese and I didn't realise till after we had ordered, which I'm glad of because I probably wouldn't have picked it, I'm a bit of a weirdo with trying different cheeses!! I think we only had one soft drink each and the bill came to 55€. Again more expensive than back home but the food is sooo worth every bite and this was a hot spot restaurant right across from the colosseum.
Once dinner had been devoured we went another wander just to take in the city. If our legs hadn't started to ache I think we could have walked around Rome all day just saying "wow look at that", "that's stunning". Once we'd completely tired our legs out we headed back to the hotel and watched Gladiator on Netflix of course...
Day 2- Tuesday
The next morning we found another little cafe called Caffe Ripetta, a local business owned by four brothers. Connor had scrambled eggs and toast with orange juice and I had a chocolate croissant with a caffe lattè (I thought this would be like a latte back home but it was very milky). This came to around 15€ and we were both stuffed afterwards!
We then went another stroll and the weather this day
was beautiful! 20 degrees and sunny, we were loving life!! And very randomly, on our wander we saw Tom Cruise filming for Mission Impossible, and even saw the actors frozen still, lying on the ground or getting into a jeep, waiting for filming to start again! We've not even watched any Mission Impossible movies (Connor says they're a load of rubbish), but it didn't stop us getting excited seeing a live film set!
Tom Cruise and Hayley Atwell next to the police car.
We walked up a different path which gave a view of the colosseum from higher ground (we couldn't stay away from the colosseum, saw it at least twice every day).
We then had lunch at the Hostaria al Gladiatore, and not to be dramatic but here I tasted the best pizza of my life, although I can't even remember what the toppings were :S.
The restaurant is right across the road from the colosseum and I sat in the best seat at the table cause I got the good views while Connor only got to look at me lol.
Then we went back to the Piazza Venezia/Vittoriano/ Alter of the Fatherland (can anyone clarify what name it goes by??) and walked around it, then took a lift to the top for 2 euros each (2€ if you show ID that says you're a European citizen, which won't be us soon :(, 10€ for everyone else). The views as you can imagine were AMAZING! There wasn't a set time limit you could stay up there for that we could see, but we honestly could have stayed there for hours just chilling.
^ slideshow (click arrows to view all pics exploring this building)
After being in the sun all day and doing loads of walking we were worryingly shattered for people our age!! So like a pair of oldies we went back to the hotel for a much needed disco nap lol!! We got changed into some comfy clothes and headed out for some ice cream. On the same street as our hotel there was a little shop called Gelateria, and the ice cream there was unreaaaaal (although I can't say the same about the cones). I got passion fruit and strawberry ice cream and Connor got Kinder bueno and biscoff. He tried some of mine and was disgusted by my choice...
Then we downloaded an app called 'Lime', which allows access to scooters all over the city, and are perfect for zipping around to save yourself some time! The app is really easy to set up and if you refer a friend (we referred each other) you get 5€ to spend. In the time we were there we spent around 7€ each and in total we spent 45 minutes on them!
Day 3 (last day)
The last place we really wanted to go before we left was The Vatican City. We wanted to see so much more than what we had but just didn't have enough time! At last minute we decided to book a tour as we kind of regretted not getting one for the colosseum (although its nice to walk around yourselves). Buuuut, we definitely regretted getting one for the Sistine chapel. The tour guide was lovely don't get me wrong, but unless you're interested in hearing lots of religious stories (we knew already knew most from school) I wouldn't recommend it. The tour lasted around 2 hours and it was constant walking and standing about, zoning out during the talks, and you don't decide how long you want to stand at each bit. Some bits we found boring and wanted to move along faster, and other bits we wanted to just sit and take in the surroundings. In the Sistine chapel photos and videos are forbidden, but leading up to it you can take as many as you like. I really recommend going to see the Sistine chapel and The Vatican City museums yourself though as the paintings and buildings are surreal.
^slideshow. Sorry for the awful quality of some of the pics, not sure why some are better than others!
I completely forgot about the dress code after specifically reminding myself the day before I had to look out clothes for it. You need to make sure your shoulders, cleavage, and at least to your knees are covered to ensure you're let in. I was wearing a crop top and so went and bought a Rome hoodie. I then panicked when I got to the entrance cause I realised I had ripped jeans on that showed a bit of my thigh but I was just being dramatic! Before heading to the airport we went for our last meal at GiàRoma ristorante and both went for 'pappardelle fresche al ragu bolognese'. We also bought about 4 cakes and it all came to 40€, which is sooo cheap!! Amazing meal to top off an amazing trip <3
After 3 amazing days it was time to say goodbye to Rome :( We had the best experiences ever and we were so grateful we were finally able to travel abroad after Thailand and Portugal were cancelled. If you didn't manage to get away this year I'm so sorry if this is rubbing it in!! We just need to stay positive that covid will just be a bad memory soon! Thank you so much for taking the time to read my blog and I hope you'll stick around! If you want updates on when I post you can subscribe via email :)
Love, Megs :)
A wee added note- I'd like to start carbon offsetting my flights and long car journeys and I looked at myclimate.org. If anyone has experience with this website or any other please get in touch to tell me about what you think of them!