rome, part one

As I mentioned the other day, we had a fabulous time on our trip to Italy! It all just seemed perfect – time away from work, exploring a different country and culture, no travel problems, great hotels, good weather, and a long stretch of uninterrupted time together.

Our flight to Rome was one of those overnight ones, where we left at 9pm and, after a quick stop in Madrid, arrived in Rome around 3pm the next day. We were pretty wiped out after not being able to get comfortable on the plane to sleep, but the excitement of arriving in Italy kept us going. We gathered our bags and took the train into the city to get to our hotel.

Waiting for our train into Rome. Check out my classy duct-taped suitcase. (Note to self: Buy new suitcase.)

We were very pleased with our hotel. It had a contemporary interior, great service, and a complementary minibar that was stocked daily with special goodies like yummy biscotti. It was only a four-block walk from the train station, and the location was wonderful, because we were able to walk to almost all of the sites that we toured.

I loved these colorful freebies in the bathroom so much that the next guest in our home may well get to enjoy them in our guest bathroom.

After enjoying our welcome glasses of Prosecco, we decided to head out for a walk to explore the neighborhood and find an early dinner. We went to a place recommended in our guide book, and enjoyed a prosciutto and mozzarella antipasto followed by pasta for dinner (gnocchi for Craig, the linguine special for me). Our dinners were almost always accompanied by a bottle of vino rosso della casa (red house wine). We crashed relatively early that night.

After a good night of sleep and breakfast, we were ready to see Rome! We decided to tackle Ancient Rome on the first day, and headed out on a nice walk toward the Colosseum.

Our hotel was on Via Nazionale, a busy main street.

Loved the vines on this building.

Soon enough, there it was!

We spent some time touring the Colosseum and learning about its construction, the activities that took place, and its deconstruction (much of it was actually taken apart by Romans for building materials). We listened to an audio tour (on our i.pods) that was pretty informative.

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The walls/posts on the bottom were underground areas for storing animals and props. These were covered with a wooden platform that was covered in sand, where the real action took place. (There is an example of the stadium floor in the background.)

The Arch of Constantine to the left and Palatine Hill in the background.

When we finished touring the Colosseum, I did something really stupid, which was dropping the camera. YIKES! The display was broken, and the camera was no longer making a clicking noise when we tried to take photos. I honestly thought we were without a camera only a half-day into our Italian vacation. But there wasn’t anything we could do at this point, so we decided to keep on taking photos with the hope that they would be there. Later in the day we took the camera to a camera shop and tested the memory card. Thankfully, it was still taking photos. Some of the photos we came back with were pretty terrible, though, and many turned out too dark. Oh well. At least it was okay in the end. Craig suggested that perhaps I had done this intentionally (jokingly), since I’d like to upgrade our camera. I noted that if it was intentional, I probably would have dropped it a couple of weeks BEFORE the vacation, not on Day 1!

The Roman Forum – the heart of Ancient Rome – is right next to the Colosseum, so we walked over there next. It was amazing to see the remains of so many old buildings, and to imagine a bustling civic center two centuries ago.

The remains here show only one third of the Basilica of Constantine. It must have been huge!

Next, we climbed up neighboring Palatine Hill, which once was home to an enormous palace. At this point, I was fairly certain the camera wasn’t working, so we didn’t really take pictures there, except for this one looking down at the Forum.

At this point, we’d been on our feet and walking for about 7 hours straight, so we were pretty beat. We had some gelato as a snack (we skipped lunch) and headed back to the hotel. We followed a bit of a routine throughout the trip of pounding the pavement pretty hard for most of the day, then enjoying a rest and cocktails (with a bit of internet time, although I managed to do nothing but log onto Facebook 3 times – yay for unplugging!) at the hotel before heading out for dinner. We were looking for another place recommended in our book when we stumbled upon a great little place packed full of local Italians. This was Craig’s idea of heaven, since he was looking for off-the-beaten-path places that weren’t packed with tourists.

We enjoyed a lovely antipasto platter, followed by pasta amatriciana for Craig and heavenly spinach and ricotta ravioli for me. This ended up being our favorite place in Rome. We were seated next to a loud, boisterous, entertaining group of about 10 Italian friends.

Actually, when we arrived at the restaurant around 8pm, they were full. They said to come back at 9:30. Now, normally, I would never eat at 9:30pm (it’s just too late!), but, as the saying goes, when in Rome…Β  To pass the time, we walked to the Trevi Fountain and then the Spanish Steps. Unfortunately, our photos of both of these spots are pretty bad, but here are a couple of shots to prove we were there.

The Trevi Fountain is there, if you look hard enough.

Rome at night.

Supposedly the Spanish Steps.

Nothing to see in the background, but another self-portrait.

And that was the end of our first full day in Rome! More coming soon…

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18 Responses to rome, part one

  1. Zoe says:

    This brings back fond memories for me… can’t wait to read more!

  2. Evelyn says:

    Heavenly!

  3. Meg B says:

    So jealous…I need a vacation =) Everyone deserves a little R&R. Great pics, thanks for sharing. I have not been to Italy, but would love to go. Of course for the history…but that food sounds and looks amazing too!

  4. Kelly says:

    What a tease! Great start to many amazing posts, I’m sure. I could just taste that vino as I was reading this πŸ™‚

  5. Elizabeth says:

    Ooooh… can you see my drool on the screen? It’s there. Adam and I went to Italy in 2002, and we swore, then and there, that we would live there someday. Sadly, that day seems a long ways away, but your photos and trip recounting are bringing it back so vividly for me.
    Did you guys see the stray cats in the Forum? Our hotel was right there, and we saw lots of little kitties 😦
    Oh, I’m so hungry…
    But I’m SO happy for you two that you took this trip of a lifetime!

  6. Christine says:

    Oh Kelly, I’m salivating here… this just looks so amazing!!! More more more!!! (please!)

  7. Jenny says:

    I hate you dropped your camera but YAY for an upgrade!!! LOL!!! I am so jealous of your trip… Looks absolutely AMAZING!!! Prosecco is my FAVORITE and to have it right there in Rome would be divine!

  8. Holli says:

    Ahhh, Rome – how I love thee!

    Welcome home — looks like you had a fabulous time…can’t wait to read and see more!

  9. Rob says:

    Sounds and looks like you guys had a great trip. So jealous!

  10. Emily says:

    Kelly – I love the last picture of the two of you – you look so happy and RELAXED! Can’t wait to see more pics of the trip!

    Emily

  11. Kala says:

    We had trouble finding the fountain too! You had perfect weather, Yay. It rained the whole time we were in Rome so we were miserable. Everything looks wonderful!!!

  12. Krista says:

    I can’t believe all the people I know who have gone to Italy this year! Looks phenominal…. now I’m dreaming of going…

  13. Emily B. says:

    It all looks wonderful!! Damon and I talked about spending a few days in Rome on our way to Ethiopia but then then whole two trip thing and the added expenses changed those plans. It is nice to live vicariously through you and your photos! Eager to hear more!

  14. sue says:

    now i’m starving! wasn’t it nice to just sit and relax in a restaurant? that was one of our favorite parts about italy – staying in a restaurant all evening. in the usa, we get shuffled in and out so quickly. we also really enjoyed the late dining.

    i think you got some great shots despite your broken camera! i can’t wait to hear and read more!!!

  15. Angela says:

    OH WOW! The Collosseums are amazing! I’ve only seen them in the encyclopedia. Thanks for letting me tour Rome through you.

  16. kris says:

    The food!! The scenery!! It all looks and sounds AMAZING!! What an incredible start to your trip – I have to admit, I’m jealous πŸ™‚

    Also, your duct taped suitcase gave me a laugh!

  17. Okay, I am so ready to hop on a plane right now, especially with the past few weeks we have been having here in the Oryl household. Thank you for indulging me on a virtual getaway!

  18. Courtney says:

    Ahhh, Rome… how I miss thee (although I don’t miss the smell of urine in the streets at around 4 in the morning- but that’s a whole ‘nother story).

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