Italy....Just 31st to August 15th
Our last and final stop in Italy was Rome. We were in Rome from August 9th to the 14th. I really enjoyed my time in Rome and was able to see quite a bit as we walked everywhere! That said, as this was the last leg of our trip, we did take it easier and gave ourselves more time to just chill out. Instead of trying to get into every church and every museum, we just hit the highlights in Rome and ate a lot of gelato while simply enjoying this incredible city. This was lovely to do as we were able to meander about rather than briskly walking from place to place. During our time in Rome, we stayed at a Hotel near the Pantheon and enjoyed a view of the entrance from our room. It was conveniently located and clean, but had a seriously lacking breakfast.
Since we walked everywhere, we were able to see a fair bit. During our walks around town, we saw the Trevi Fountain, the Spanish Steps, the National Monument to Victor Emmanuel II built of white marble, and the Castel Sant' Angelo. We spent time inside the Pantheon (which is pretty amazing in design) and the Basilica di Santa Maria sopra Minvera (which had an elephant statue in front). We walked through many piazzas and squares and particularly enjoyed Piazza del Popolo with it's neat Egyptian obelisque (they were everywhere!), Piazza Navona with the beautiful fountains and local artists, and Campo de' Fiori for the great food and interesting hooded statue. Wherever we walked, we constantly saw remnants of buildings from the past and the beautiful ruins that are still truly impressive in design and size. I enjoyed seeing all of these ancient remains and quite liked imagining what the structures must have looked liked in the past. It is remarkable!
Don't worry, we didn't just see the small stuff and forget about some of the major sights mandatory to all who visit Rome! :) We spent a lovely day at the Colosseum and the Roman Forum. The Colosseum is really spectacular and is huge! The neat thing we got to do while at the Colosseum was join a tour to check out the underground areas and also the third tier. This meant that we really got to see all of the levels within the Colosseum, so yes, I took pictures from every angle imaginable! It was super fun and probably one of the highlights, especially since Matt had his picture taken with the cool gladiators outside. HA!
We also spent a very LONG day checking out the Vatican City (which is technically another country!). This of course includes seeing the Vatican Museum and the Sistine Chapel, St. Peter's Basilica and going up to the top, and of course waiting in line in St. Peter's Square. Honestly, we must have spent over 8 hours here as there was just so much to see! The museum had lots of neat displays including some fantastic Egyptian artwork and of course Roman statues and paintings galore. Then the Sistine Chapel was really remarkable and is such an incredible work of art with so much detail in every corner of the room. The Basilica was huge and ornate and I particularly enjoyed seeing all of the mosaic artwork from the ceiling up close. We were able to here part of a short weekly service that was held in the evening, so that was cool as well. I might also have liked getting my picture taken with the Swiss Guards in their extravagant uniforms. :)
The last thing I will say about Rome is that we had gelato EVERY DAY!! I'm not ashamed to say that when we got to our last couple of days in Rome, we might have also gone in TWICE a day. Yeah, I might have made Matt stop by it the morning we were leaving so that I could have one last taste before leaving for home. It was bad and I was addicted! The guys working in the shop totally recognized us and even new our names by the end. The good thing was that they were constantly upgrading us to the next size up, so really I can't complain or be too embarrassed. So if you are ever in Rome, for sure try the Arancia, Lime, and Pineapple flavors together...YUM!
Enjoy the pictures!
Pantheon during the day.
Pantheon at night.
Inside the Colosseum
Awesome...gladiators & hubby!
Inside the Basilica
A view from out front.
View of St. Peter's Basilica and Sant' Angelo's Bridge