John Deere tractors, potato trucks, and travel trailers are all a part of my hometown. Crossing the street is usually safe and easy where I live. Crossing the street in Rome may result in a collision with a moped. Pedestrians, miniature cars and motorcycles are common. The streets aren’t even wide enough for my family’s suburban.
An old roman legend says that if you toss a coin over your left shoulder into the Trevi Fountain, it will ensure great fortune and a fast return to Rome. There is so much to see and do in Rome, but the city beckons you to sit at its’ outside cafés and enjoy the moment.
Since I have never traveled outside of the United States I was really looking forward to this trip with my mom and sister. We visited 3 other main European cities, but Rome was my favorite. The early June weather was almost hot. Thankfully we always had our water bottle and umbrella for shade. I would also recommend wearing shorts or capris to stay cool. A lot of travel advice we read said we would stick out like tourists if we wore shorts. But frankly, we visited major tourist attractions and we were just like everyone else. Before we left I downloaded free audio guides on my iPod by Rick Steves. They were interesting and gave us background information on what we were visiting.
We walked a lot and it is probably the best way to get around and truly see the city. We made several purchases from street vendors for everything from key chains to ties. A really good map is essential. The roads are confusing and usually have 5 streets that come together and meet at a “piazza”, or plaza. My mom gave my older sister a map and she would navigate where we wanted to go. We would simply stop and find the street name on the side of the building. We never got lost.
In one day we were able to see the Colosseum, Roman Forum, Spanish Steps, Triton Fountain, Trevi Fountain, and eat at the Hard Rock Café. I loved Trevi Fountain so much I went to visit the site three times. The fountain is an oasis in the middle of a busy city. Many restaurants, shops, street vendors, dessert eateries and lots of people surround it. The first gelato I ordered was pistachio from Il Gelato di san Crispno on Via Panaterria down a little side street from Trevi. It was not what I was expecting. It had little chunks of pistachios in it and the gelato was bland. I was pretty disappointed. The pistachio ice cream I had in the U.S. was quite different. I needed to have a better gelato experience. The next day I tried nutella gelato (chocolate). Man, was I satisfied!
“Hotel Romance “on Via Marco Aurelio near the Colosseum was our home for almost four days. The Colosseum is beautiful at night and there is a popular metro stop for easy access. Our hotel staff all spoke great English and were very helpful. They assisted us by getting reservations to the Borghese Gallery and calling a taxi for our trip to the airport. There is a little grocery store on the next block that we visited every day for treats. The evenings are perfect for eating your meals outside and enjoying the view.
Rome comes highly recommended in my book. It was a trip of a lifetime, and hopefully I will be able to toss my coin again someday. “Arrivederci.”
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