Dec. 9, 2012
Prior to our Italy trip, I had created a detailed 7-9 day itinerary with time slots for each thing we were doing. I knew we wouldn’t actually follow it exactly as planned. I wanted a backup list of things to do depending on our mood & how we were feeling. We ended up shifting itineraries for most days around and skipped a few things I had down.
On my original itinerary, I had us down to do a half day trip to Ostia Antica then visit the National Museum of Rome afterward. Instead we decided to explore Rome with no ntended destination and just get lost to see what we could find. Heading toward the direction of the Tiber river we accidentally stumbled upon campo de’fiori aka flower market! Wanting to save it for the next day, we just quickly passed it and continued walking. In search of a cafe for some coffee we found a cute chocolate & sweets boutique and stopped in to stock up on gifts to bring back for family. As we turned the corner there was a stunning view of the many bridges overlooking the Tiber River!
As we continued to walk straight ahead there was this giant castle which Anthony got excited about. He has always wanted to see a real castle in person. We found out it was Castel Sant’Angelo which was built by Hadrian and was once the tallest building in Rome! We spontaneously decided to pay the admission fee and check out the castel & museum which was interesting. Walking through the dark hallways, big iron cast doors it felt like we were back in the Roman days. We saw real cannons & cannon balls, original sculptures and secret passageways. Once you reach the top of the castel, you get a beautiful view of Rome.
If you ask Anthony what his highlights of Italy were the Colosseum & Castel Sant’Angelo top the list. The castel was definitely memorable. Even though I researched for months, I hadn’t come across this attraction in the forums or guidebooks.
After a couple of hours at the castel we stayed across the Tiber and walked around it looking for the Ponte Sisto bridge. We were now headed toward Trastevere which is the 13th rione of Rome. This area is quiet, peaceful and had the charm of central Rome but with less tourists. The food here is super affordable with typical pizza & pasta entrees for 5 euros!
We spent about 2 hours here just walking around but there wasn’t a whole lot to see & do. It was nice being away from the hustle & bustle of the city. For lunch we went to La Scala which was poppin! The place was filled even around 1:30pm when we had lunch. Luckily we were seated right away because as soon as we sat down there was a line that formed.
We had bread & butter to start and I ordered a prosciutto & salami pizza while Ant finally got to try authentic lasagna! For dessert ya’ll already know what I had! Panna Cotta!
After lunch we continued to stroll around Trastevere to take pictures & just relax. On the way back toward central Rome we crossed Ponte Sisto (pictured above) and took a different route home. As we turned corners and kept walking straight we stumbled upon Theater Marcellus & the Jewish Ghetto. Still full from lunch we didn’t get to try out the many cafes in the Jewish Ghetto but will definitely stop by again on our next trip whenever that may be.
Heading toward Capitoline Hill then walking around we ended up again at the Victor Emmanuel Monument. We went up the steps to watch the changing of the guards and to take pictures.
Our leisurely stroll turned into an 8 hour adventure so we went back to the hotel to wash up and relax for an hour. After our mini break we walked along Via Del Corso again to go back to dun dun dun….the Ferrari store.
This time Anthony got spoiled and I bought him a backpack. We stopped by the Despar market (a mini convenient / grocery store selling snacks, fruits, breads, charcuterie, cheese, drinks, personal items, etc) to pick up some stuff for our picnic dinner at the hotel. Because we bought so much prosciutto the other day we decided to have that with some cheese, crackers/bread, pizza & pasta we had leftover. For dessert, we went out for some gelato near the Trevi Fountain. Even though many advise you to steer away from most restaurants & cafes near major tourist attractions, my favorite gelato place ended up being right next to the Trevi! The pistachio and hazelnut gelato actually had big chunks of nuts where you could actually taste it. After dessert we headed back to the hotel and called it an early night.
Tomorrow we are headed to the Vatican, St. Peter’s Basilica & Sistine Chapel!
***Travel Tips to Remember***
❤ Travel forums aren’t always right! i.e Gelato next to Trevi is delish!
❤ Allow time for you to get lost. It is truly the best way to see a city
❤ Picnics can save you euros! We had a lot of leftovers so opted to eat in
❤ There is a Despar literally less than a block away from Delle Nazioni