When in Rome

Trevi Fountain, Rome

Ryan and I were fortunate enough to travel to Italy for our honeymoon. It was one of the most amazing experiences we’ve ever had and from time to time I find myself longing to be walking the streets of Rome again. Today is one of those days.


Rome was the first city we visited. We arrived at Fiumicino Airport at
around 8:30 PM. By that time we’d been traveling for over 24 hours so we were a
little beat. We met our driver and headed to our hotel. Just driving through
the city that night, I noticed that Rome had energy about it, almost
electrifying, something I think that everyone should experience once in their
lifetime. But it would have to wait until the next day, we were tired. We
arrived at Hotel Concordia a short while later. It wasn’t a grand fancy hotel
but when we walked through the door we were greeted with “Buona
sera!” and I finally realized I was in Rome. It is something so simple,
but it is a moment I will never forget.

The next day we headed to see the sights of Ancient Rome. There are so many
sights to see. The Coliseum, the Roman Forum, the Vatican (which needs an
entire day by itself). It is heaven for history buffs.  We walked down
alleyways and streets that have been around for 1000s of years. As a history
buff I had an amazing thought, I was walking where Julius Caesar walked. Et
tu Brute?

Rome during the day seems a little chaotic. There are cars buzzing by and no
one really pays attention to traffic signs, they are merely suggestions. On
almost every street corner you can see nervous pedestrian tourists trying to
figure out how to cross the street. We got the hang of it eventually. You just
have to cross, if you look confident, like you know what you are doing, they’ll
stop.

If like me, you also enjoy culinary experiences, Rome is an amazing place.
The markets, the street vendors, the many sidewalk cafes and fine dining
restaurants could keep any foodie busy for a lifetime. Our first culinary
experience in Rome was a prosciutto Panini that we got from a street vendor. I
can still taste the freshness of the bread and the saltiness of the prosciutto.

So far I have just described Rome during the day, Rome at night is something
completely different. People partaking in the evening stroll replace the chaos
of the day. The ancient buildings that were buzzing with tourists, are now
flooded with light. It is kind of a magical experience. Ryan and I walked the
streets of Rome for a few hours that first night. We stopped for dinner at a
little restaurant behind the Spanish Steps and ate with people we didn’t know.
There were four of us waiting for a table, Ryan and I and another couple. The maître
d stopped by and said “Four?” (Note: You need not be afraid of
not speaking the language, most people in the service industry at least spoke
some English. However, make an effort to learn at least please and thank you).
The gentlemen of the other couple said, “No, well wait, why not? Would you like
to dine together?” And we did.  We got to hear a little bit about
their 3 week whirlwind tour of Italy that was just coming to an end, they gave
us tips on how to order, what to see in Florence, and to not eat fish too far
inland, it was a really neat experience.

You may be wondering what we ate. That is always the first question I ask of
people who have gone away, be it Disneyland or Paris, I want to know what you
ate! So I will share. Ryan had Linguini Carabonara and I had Fettuccini
Bolognese, both were equally good but what stole the show for me was the
stuffed squash blossoms. They were zucchini flowers stuffed with mozzarella,
battered and deep-fried. The crunch of the batter, the delicate flower and the gooiness
of the cheese, I swear I thought I was in heaven. I have wanted to
recreate this at home but not having a garden makes zucchini flowers a little
hard to get.

After we said Ciao! to our new friends, we ventured to the Spanish Steps to
watch the nightlife pass by. We walked to Campo Di Fiori and saw people dancing
in the piazza. We saw pushy men trying to sell roses to tourist couples. But I
have to say one of my favorite places was the Trevi Fountain. While walking
down a quite Rome alley, you can hear the bustle of people and the faint
bubbles of a fountain. When you finally reach it, it takes your breath away. It
is floodlit, there are people all around, groups of tourists, couples taking
pictures and sharing gelato. It sounds as if it would be chaotic like Rome
during the day but it’s not, there is something peaceful about the fountain.
Ryan and I grabbed some gelato at a nearby gelatiera and headed to find
ourselves a spot on the wall near the fountain. We enjoyed our gelato and the
people watching for a little while before deciding that it was time to head back
to our hotel to get rested for our next day in Rome. I made sure to toss a coin
in the fountain to ensure my return trip, it may be silly and cliché but I
didn’t want to take the chance that I wouldn’t come back to this beautiful,
electrifying city.

We did spend another day in Rome and another 2 weeks in Italy, but I will leave that for other posts. For another day when I am longing to be walking the streets of Rome.

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