“It’s so pretty!” – a phrase that did not fail to consistently escape my lips throughout my three days spent in the mesmerizing Italian capital. You cannot visit this city without appreciating the incomprehensible intricacy and beauty of the city’s architecture from it’s Basilicas, to its streets, steps and even worn down houses. The city promises to enchant and excite with every turn of every street corner! We finally began our trip at Stansted Airport on 14th January. All checked in and with the early morning munchies, or pre-flight nerves (from me), we headed straight for a Weatherspoons cooked breakfast.
Fully satisfied we then jogged down to the departures lounge to board our plane. After a very speedy 1.5 hours we had arrived! Holding our scarves and jackets close to our chests, expecting a mid January chill to greet us, we were very pleasantly surprised to find it was sunny and a warm average of 15 degrees! This definitely exceeded my expectations of the trip straight away! After a slightly longer than anticipated trek, we finally arrived at our hotel in the capital. Marcella Royal Hotel provided a tasteful, cosy stay and considering the amazing price of a last minute deal, the room was a lot better than the ‘ecomomy’ room that we had anticipated. The large amount of switches at the side of the bed definitely excited Ben a great deal as windows and lights were moving all over the place! I understand hotel room descriptions don’t excite many so I will cut that out, apart from mentioning the central wall. This being the wall that the bed backed up onto, which was somewhat freestanding an had a built-in wardrobe directly behind it. Regardless this wall in the middle of the room provided lots of childish fun of hide and seek and chase hahaa ;).
http://www.marcellaroyalhotel.com/superior_double.html After quickly unpacking we headed out to our first and closest sight, the Trevi Fountain. Unfortunately, on arrival, we realised that all we were going to be viewing was the Trevi “bowl”!! The sculptures were under construction, thus, the lack of water, yet we still made a wish and threw our Euros in, whilst indulging in our first of many gelatos!!
Spirits still high, we excitedly continued to explore and with the help of a few Italian phrases on my behalf and great map reading skills and intuition on his, we visited the Pantheon. Both outside and in this building was breathtaking! The large cathedral type space was filled with art on each wall and centred the world’s largest unreinforced concrete open air dome. The ambiance was utterly magical and the beauty of every corner of the building left each visitor astounded. By the time of our exit, it had become early evening and the square outside the Pantheon was lit up with dim lighting, a highly entertaining busker and masses of people sitting on the fountain steps and at restaurants nearby. It is at this point that the trip became truly alive and had a strong romantic feel. To our surprise most attractions were fairly cheap and affordable, yet lucky for me, I had my own personal tour guide who seemed to have the streets of Rome completely figured out by the end of the first evening! Thank God opposites attract or I would have been entirely lost!! We concluded our evening with a quick dinner in a glass box on the highstreet! After an interesting tasting lasagna and a better looking pizza we headed back to our hotel. On the second day, we set our alarms early and headed for the Vatican City! A twenty minute metro journey, once again lead by my handsome tour guide (& bf) allowed us to easily and cheaply reach our destination for the day. To our astonishment the beauty this attraction had to offer was endless. To begin we visited the Vatican museum that was filled with countless, incredible pieces of art: sculptures, tappestries and paintings filling the ceiling of each room which left us walking with our heads hanging back and our mouths wide open in astonishment.
When we thought it couldn’t get any better we found ourselves descending into the unbelievable Sistine Chapel, where we were completely silenced in amazement………unfortunately we weren’t rebellious enough to bag a cheeky snap!
This was followed by our visit to the Vatican itself. After walking around the outside of the entire “country”, tired and gutted that we unknowingly took the long route, we finally made it! After taking in it’s grandeur, we continued on a few minutes down the road to Castel Sant’ Angelo where we saw some of the best views of the trip so far. The 360degree view of the city made the almost never ending hike to the top extremely worth it!
We concluded our sight seeing for the day by heading back to the capital, and watching the sunset over the Spanish Steps. Our second evening was spent at an adorable outside bar, laughing at the effects of my huge (apparently 2 glass) bottle of wine and at a magical cave restaurant which served traditional Italian cuisine, HUGE beers, had dimmed romantic lighting and artwork all over each wall and ceiling.
The third day brought us to the end of our trip and with a quick viewing of the Colosseum, a purchase of a souvenir for the fam and our final fresh, delicious Italian pizza (at 10 in the morning!!), we headed back to the airport.
This is where the disappointment began.Completely smug about our efficient time-keeping and ability to sweep the sights of Rome in 2 and a half days, our arrival at the airport brought us to a gutting halt. An EIGHT HOUR DELAY! The airport had nothing but a terrible cafe selling raw chicken burgers among other below average “delicacies” and an Italian book shop, neither of which were helpful! Yet, we survived and made it back safely, sad to be leaving the beauty behind, but overjoyed to have experienced and loved it!
Ciao for now!