When in Rome

I arrived in the capital city at about 6 pm after concluding my Tuscan adventures in Siena and checked into the fanciest hostel of my life. I quickly put my stuff away, filled my water bottle and headed off to cross one of the smaller “must see’s” off my list. I started with the Spanish Steps and then made my way along Viale della Trinita del Monti until I came to the Terrazza del Pincio. I was there around sunset so the views overlooking the city were amazing and a wonderful welcome to city.

I finished off the day walking down from the terrace to Piazza del Popolo which houses an amazing oblique covered in Egyptian hieroglyphics and twin churches. I wandered back to my neighborhood where I grabbed a delicious and cheep dinner of Chinese food and crawled into bed for my early morning the next day.

I started off day 2 with the Roman Forums and Colosseum. It was free Sunday (first Sunday of every month) and so the lines at the Colosseum were insanely long. Instead of wasting my day waiting there, I walked a short way up to the Roman Forum entrance where there were only a handful of people in line, grabbed the free ticket there which is also good for the Colosseum, and considered myself pretty clever. That is, until I realized my phone was completely dead.

I had forgotten my charger at home and decided in Florence to pick up one from a Euro Shop — spoiler alert: it didn’t work — which is why I woke up to a phone that was dead despite being plugged in all night. My external battery pack was dead by that point too and so I faced utter disappointment that I would be seeing Rome’s greatest wonders with no way to document or remember them.

Just as I realized I was SOL, a staff member of the Forums walked by and as a last ditch effort, I decided to ask if there was a plug I could use. It turns out that I ask probably the nicest guy in the whole park and he let me into a security booth to plug my phone in and we had a nice chat in the shade while I waited for it to turn back on. He was a very interesting fellow and through his broken English and speech impediment I learned that he’d basically worked at every museum I’ve ever been to in Italy!

I spent the rest of that day (and really the rest of my trip) in airplane mode to conserve as much battery as possible for photos since I was only able to charge sporadically at the mercy of strangers. The Forums and Palatine Hill were beautiful and I think I liked them even better than the Colosseum which was cool but a bit of a let down compared to what I had imagined in my mind having grown up a bit of a history buff.

From there I took a bus to what I was told was a stunning view of the city, Terrazza del Gianicolo (Janiculum Terrace). While it was nice, it was definitely not a better view than Terrazza del Pincio and I would not recommend anyone to go there themselves. I quickly hopped on a bus to the other side of the Tiber River and started wandering again.

I walked by the Piazza and Palazzo Farnese which was the palace of a very important family for both Rome and Naples. Next I came upon Campo de’ Fiori which is a cute little market and then to Piazza Navona which houses a number of spectacular building such as the Sant’Agnese in Agone church, Fontana dei Fiumi, Fontana del Nettuno and Fontana del Moro, as well as Palazzo Pamphilj which houses a number of embassies.

Next I found the Pantheon which had a cheery band playing in the piazza in front of it. I finished off the day admiring the grandeur of Altare della Patria (Altar of the Fatherland) which honors WWI soldiers and Italy’s first king.

The next day was dedicated to the Vatican City which I will save for a separate post. Afterwards, I finished off the day stopping by the Largo di Torre Argentina which are Roman ruins near where Caesar died and then visited the Trevi Fountain which has to be one of my favorite places in the city.

I did have an extra half-day after that where I could have seen more before catching my bus to Naples but with the checkout time of the hostel, departure time of my bus and the time it would take to travel between the sights, I decided it was better to just sleep in and prepare myself for the next leg of my adventure.

I really wish I had time to see the Baths of Caracalla especially since that name popped up in a museum in Naples later. There were also a couple of museums I decided I didn’t have the budget for that would have been cool to see, and I also wish I had some time to just wander a regular neighborhood since I felt like I only saw the touristy parts of the city.

They say you could spend a year in Rome and never see everything. I totally get that especially having lived for 3 months in Berlin which is another one of those kinds of cities. I think I was able to cover the bare minimum. Considering the time I had for the whole trip, I think that, at most, I would maybe pull one day from Naples and add it to Rome, but I’m honestly really happy with my scheduling the way that it was. Either way, it was inevitable that all too soon I would be hopping on my last bus of my journey to head down to the Gulf of Naples.

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