“When in Rome, do as the Romans do.” ~ Ambrose
The last leg of our trip was Rome which we traveled through the sun route motorway to the medieval city of Assisi. Assisi is a hill town in central Italy’s Umbria region. We visited the 13th century Basilica of St. Francis. The church is huge and beautiful to say the least with many of Giotto’s frescos. In the lower level are the remains of St. Francis of Assisi. Tourists and guided tours are a daily event and this particular day was no exception. There were many people visiting the basilica.
After visiting the Basilica, we went for an uphill stroll through the beautiful medieval streets. We stopped at various small souvenir shops and cafés, grabbing a bite to eat through a tiny door leading to a corridor which seemed like a temporary make-shift café. The roads were narrow and there were many arch entry ways to adjoining streets that made beautiful backgrounds for pictures. We reached the top piazza where the Basilica di Santa Chiara stood tall. It was a long, long walk up hill. Thankfully the walk downhill was much easier and faster. It was then time to continue onto Rome.
We arrived in Rome and to our hotel after dusk. We stayed at the Grand Hotel Palatino located at Via Cavour just 600 meters from the Colosseum and a little more from the ruins and other interesting points. It is an excellent location with the Cavour metro station just a few minutes away. The staff was very helpful and accommodating. The room was clean, well-organized and stocked, and the bed was comfortable. The breakfast was included offering both, hot and cold choices.
On the following day we visited the Vatican Museum and Michelangelo’s breathtaking Sistine Chapel. I was not impressed with the Vatican tour guide. Much of the morning hours were spent in the courtyard of the Pine cone near the Vatican museum and the Sphere listening to the guide narrate the Vatican story and showing us images of what we were to see. I would have much preferred to walk while listening to the narration instead of the still images on cardboard. We strolled through St. Peter’s Square and Basilica, the Spanish Steps, the Pantheon and so many other wonderful places.
The most captivating moment for me was when we viewed Michelangelo’s Pieta, the marble structure of Mary holding the body of Jesus in her arms after the crucifixion. It was a personal moment for me. I just stared in awe for quite a while. As a grieving mother, I felt the anguish she felt. It really hit home. Okay, no more tears!
We continued shopping in many local shops for souvenirs (needed to bring the family souvenirs). We enjoyed our walk and just took in every detail of the building’s architecture and cobblestone streets. The Colosseum is one of the most impressive structure I have ever seen. It is mesmerizing even with all the scaffolds around it (it was being meticulously cleaned).
That night we ate at Restaurante Gli Angeletti a small restaurant located at Via dell Angeletto and very close to the hotel. We chose to sit at their outdoor terrace. The weather was perfect for it. Besides the appetizer and drinks, we had Spaghtetti a la Carbonara; a delicious blend of bacon, egg yolks and pecorino cheese at a price of 9.00€ and Spaghetti Pomodoro with fresh tomatoes and basil for 8.00€. It was delicious, the service was great, and it was priced moderately. I highly recommend Restaurante Gli Angeletti.
Our last day was cut short since the shuttle was scheduled to pick us up at noon. But, it did not stop us from adventuring out to the most famous Trevi Fountain. The hotel was less than a mile away so we made our way to the fountain bright and early in the morning. I was surprised at the amount of people surrounding the fountain at that time. We did our backward coin toss, took a few snapshots and were on our way to return home. It was a wonderful and memorable trip! ‘Til the next time Rome!
What are your thoughts about Rome? If you’ve been to Rome, any other recommendations that I missed? If you haven’t visited Rome, is it a place you’d visit?
Next stop, Paris !