My 10 Year Anniversary with Rome

Thanks to those fun Facebook memories, I was reminded that July 3rd, 2007 I arrived in Rome for the first time.

I had traveled before. We traveled to the Caribbean often and I had spent a month in Ireland a few years before, but this trip was different.

I was traveling as a supervisor for a high school English credit (which just so happened to have my brother and cousin taking the class). The students had class during the day, and we spent our afternoons Rome-ing around.

That first day exploring we visited the Baths of the Diocletion, the Piazza della Republica and the Spanish Steps. I remember so vividly walking from the Baths to the Spanish Steps when it hit me – these were the roads that an ancient civilization walked on, these were the places they built. Here I was, thousands of years later, being in awe of all of it. That feeling of being in awe followed me each day – to the Vatican, through the Forum, to the Pantheon and on our day trip to Florence.

That month changed my life. I learned so much, about myself and this beautiful city. I grew as a person. I found a strength in me I didn’t know I had. It sparked a love of travel and need to continue exploring the world.

No matter where my travels take me, I always feel a calling back to the Eternal City.

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Italy – May 2017 Update

Okay. I admit it. I was far too boastful in my trip planning. After thinking about it (logically and financially) we’ve made some changes to our trip.

Here’s the thing – as much as I love Italy (and I really do) there are some cities *cough*Venice*cough* that I want to go to once and feel as though I don’t need to go back. We also realized there was more we wanted to see and do in Emilia Romagna.

Here it goes:

Day 1: Land in Venice at 7:30am. Take a nap and stroll around.
Day 2: Venice tour day!
Day 3: Day trip from Venice to Burano.
Day 4: Drive to & tour Verona.
Day 5: Drive to Bologna, stopping at Parma.
Day 6: Bologna tour day!
Day 7: Day trip from Bologna to Modena.
Day 8: Train from Bologna to Rome!!
Days 9 & 10: Tour Roma.
Day 11: Fly home.

Last weekend we booked all of our accommodations so now it’s just time to plan our tours!!

If anyone has any recommendations or tips for these cities, please share!

Buon Appetito – Roma

Let’s be honest, the best part about traveling to Italy is the food – for me at least! All of Italy’s regions have different specialties and flavours. The north serves more rice (risotto) and food made with butter, the south is traditionally more poor so they serve a lot of beans and use more olive oil. No matter where you go you can find delicious dishes. This blog, though, is going to focus on some of the specialties of Rome.

Spaghetti cacio e pepe

This dish is so simple and so delicious – spaghetti topped with cacio (pecorino romano cheese) and pepper.

Roman Style Pizza

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Italy is obviously known for it’s pizza, but did you know that it differs between regions? Roman style pizza is very thin and doesn’t have a discernible crust. If it’s done right, it will have a slight char.

Carciofi

There are two ways that artichokes are made in the Rome region – Roman style (alla romana) and Jewish style (alla giudia). Roman style artichokes are cooked with garlic, parsley, salt and pepper. Jewish style are marinated in lemon juice and water then fried in olive oil.

Saltimbocca alla Romana

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Translated into English, this dish translates to, “hops in your mouth”. Saltimbocca alla Romana is veal wrapped in prosciutto and sage, then cooked in a wine sauce.

Spaghetti alla Carbonara

Think breakfast in a pasta dish. Spaghetti alla carbonara is bacon (pancetta or guanciale) and egg that, combined, create a creamy sauce. The pasta is then topped with Pecorino Romano.

 

To be honest, I could go on and on about all of the incredible dishes you can find in Rome, but those are my favourites. I hope you try them all when you visit Rome!

A Rome Favourite – Piazza Navona

It’s hard to pick a favourite piazza in Rome. Each are unique and have their own vibe, but I must admit the Piazza Navona is my absolute favourite! Here’s why:

The Fountains

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There are three fountains in the Piazza Navona, one on either end and one in the centre. At the south end is the Fontana del Moro, at the north is the Fountain of Neptune. Both beautiful, but the centre fountain, Fountana dei Quattro Fuimi (Fountain of Four Rivers), by Bernini is the piece de resistance. The four rivers depicted are the Danube, Nile, Rio de la Plata and Gagnes. Above them, an Egyptian obelisk.

The History

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The piazza was built entirely on the interior of the Stadium of Domitian, which was used mostly for athletic games and explains the long and oval shape. If you walk to the north end of the piazza, you can see remains of 1st Century stadium as the city built up and around it.

The Energy

There is something specific about the energy in the Piazza Navona. You can walk in from all four sides and come upon a wave of it. You’ll see large crowds, entertainers, painters, kids, couples and more! Even though the piazza was a market in the 15th Century, it still hosts the Christmas Market.

And it’s even more beautiful at night.

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When you visit the piazza, grab a gelatto, stroll and take it all in!

Can’t Miss Roman Sites

When you hear the word Rome, you think about the Colosseum and Forum. But Rome is so much more!

Here are my Can’t Miss Roman Sites…

Trevi Fountain

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Recently under reconstruction, the Trevi Fountain is once again open for all to marvel at. The fountain is beautiful, but always packed with tourists. Visit early in the morning or late at night (the lights are incredible). Legend says that if you throw a coin over your right shoulder into the fountain, you’ll make it back to Rome again. The city collects and uses the coins to feed it’s poor.

 

The Pantheon

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The Pantheon we see today is the second built in this location, though it is still almost 2,000 years old. When you visit, be sure to look up! The big circular hole (oculus) in the dome (Rotunda) is the only source of natural light. On April 21st at noon, the light from the oculus hits the metal above the door lighting up the entire porch.

 

Piazza del Poppolo

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Featuring the oldest obelisk in the city and twin churches, this is considered the entrance to the city. All roads lead to Rome, and this piazza leads into the city. When coming from the north, the piazza turns into a three streets (known as the trident), with centre road being Via del Corso. Look up to see Pincino – a beautiful and large garden with great views of the city that lead into the Borghese Gardens.

 

Campo di Fiori

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The Campo di Fiori is a huge piazza that is filled daily with vendors selling everything from vegetables to cheese, olive oil to grappa, flowers to clothing. It’s a great spot to shop for souvenirs or to just have a taste of something yummy!

 

Spanish Steps

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The Spanish Steps (though filled with tourists and, therefore, pick pockets) is a great place to walk, eat some gelato and people watch. At the base of the steps, close to the Spanish Embassy, is the Fountain of the Ugly Boat and the Roman shopping district. Dior, Burberry, Armani, Prada, Cartier and more are just steps away!

 

All five of these are places I have to visit, even if I just have one day in Rome. Be sure to check them out on your visit!

Che Bella Roma

I have a serious love affair with Rome. From the first time I explored the city when I was 20, I keep feeling a pull towards it. There’s something about the way the organized chaos somehow works that makes this a place to go back to. Around every corner, there is something new and interesting to see. I can truly say that in all of the times I’ve been, I’ve still not seen everything there is to see in this big and beautiful city.

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It’s going to take more than one blog post to share my love (and tips) so I’m going to split it up between sites, food, tours and walks.

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