Much unlike the film ‘When In Rome’, I didn’t go stealing coins thrown with deep faith and strong hope to finding love from a special fountain, drunkenly and angrily at the thought of not being or finding love. In fact, I did the complete opposite – I fell in love with the city without having to pick up some coins. Cheesy, I know. Ancient Roman history alone is intriguing but the city too tells its own story of literature, poetry and art.
As my family of three arrived at Roma Termini, stepping off the train leisurely we gazed into the station of bustling people speaking loudly at each other with happiness. There’s not a moment of silence in Italy it seems, nor is there a moment where you don’t feel the sun piercing through your skin giving you that nice bronzed glow we all crave to have by the end of a trip.
We arrived at the Colosseum after pretending to know how to get round like it was home (when really, we were using CityMapper) and gloating a little at my mum who clearly had no idea we were using our phones to navigate, only to be absolutely stunned at the size of it. We knew it was big but when you stand next to it, it’s a little more than just ‘big’. A little tip I have for any of you who plan on going to visit Rome, buy the 3-day Roma pass that allows you to take unlimited public transport and have free and fast-track access to two of your chosen tourist sites. So, as dad had done his quality research beforehand, we smugly cut an enormous queue that would’ve cost us two hours of waiting and headed straight into the site. I can honestly tell you now I would not have survived as a gladiator; my acrobatic skills would have left me defenceless and the mere thought of a lion out to kill then devour me terrifies me.
Our hotel, situated 8 minutes walk from Vatican City was the heart of five constantly-busy Italian restaurants which, cost us barely anything! My parents, who obviously, were exhausted after a day’s trip of walking and literally collapsed into the outdoor seating of a restaurant in between the walk from Vatican City to our hotel and were immediately served with fresh, soft warm bread with olive oil and balsamic vinegar and a menu whose prices caught my eye. I was delighted with the prices which perhaps was a bad thing as it only made us order more than necessary. Still, none of it went to waste – how can it when you’re in Italy? With my hand on my heart, I can indefinitely say that Dominoes’ Pizza will never be the same again, nor will Franco Manca or Pizza Hut. Vapiano, step aside. But what really won our hearts was the Tiramisu – we have tried every Tiramisu possible in all the restaurants and side cafes in Rome and each one has been just as good as the other.
Our short trip to Rome ended in a day dedicated to Vatican City which, the museum workers stated “is not in Rome as it is its own city”. Well, it certainly lived up to that. If only words could describe how impressively magnificent it was – but I’ll just show you pictures instead. The museum is definitely worth a visit too. And finally, St Peter’s Church – if you go, or have been, you may have had my reaction: jaw-dropping awe.
And so, I bid farewell to Rome; an empire. For those two days, I didn’t feel like I was in Italy, but rather Rome itself. But I suppose that’s just the effect these Italian places have.