Rome

I enjoyed Rome a lot. I was expecting to find it hectic and confusing. Maybe visiting it last gave us time to get warmed up?

Day 1: Sorrento to Rome, the Pantheon

We bought tickets for the express train from Sorrento to Naples and there was minor confusion about where to put bags, since it was a commuter train. We met a nice couple from New Jersey on the train who had been to Thailand (or next trip). They said everything in Thailand was $3. Our fast train from Naples to Rome was very fast!

sign in train

Our taxi from the Termini train station was about twice what we were quoted by the hotel and had to be paid in cash. Ah well. (We’re trying to conserve cash so we don’t have to go to an ATM.) Nice room with a great terrace and view of the Pantheon dome.

Pantheon dome

Since we were so close to the Pantheon and it was relatively early we went there today. The outside looks very weathered. 

exterior columns and roof

We had a nice dinner of Caprese and green salad, veal with artichoke, and pasta with guanciale and artichoke at Osteria da Agippa across the street. Best pasta I had on this trip!

our street in Rome

We spent some time hanging out on our terrace too.

view from balcony

Day 2: Ancient Rome

We spent today in ancient Rome. We walked past the Victor Emmanuel II monument on the way to our first stop, as well as a random ruin.

The Colosseum was our first stop, at 9:00 am. We had a guide for the first part — the arena — then time on our own to explore the rest of it. 

Colosseum wall

Our ticket included entry to the Palatine Hill and the Roman Forum but we had to enter with a guide, so after the Colosseum we had to wait (with others from our group) for our guide. It was virtually impossible to get Colosseum tickets without going through a third party.

temple in forum

We had a delicious dinner from the set menu at Grappolo d’oro, including zabaglione for dessert. An antipasti sampler, cacio e pepe, lamb and potatoes. (I’m trying to work my way through the four classic Roman pastas.) Then we walked over to Piazza Navonna to walk around. Oh, and Spiderman was hanging around across the street from the restaurant. 

Day 3: Villa Borghese

jackdaws

It was a longish but scenic walk to Villa Borghese today, by way of the Trevi Fountain, which was packed.

We’ve been seeing lots of jackdaws on this trip and decided these needed their picture taken. 

The villa is another beautiful building filled with art, including Apollo and Daphne, caught in the act of turning into a tree.

Apollo and Daphne

From Villa Borghese we made our way over and down the Spanish Steps. We had lunch nearby at Dillà where I checked amatriciana off my list of pastas. 

Then via della Croce and via del Corso home and to the store for beer and snacks, which we enjoyed while watching the nearby spire change color.

Day 4: The Vatican

Rain was forecast for today so we had our jackets and umbrella with us. We walked up to the Vatican City, with a view of Casa Sant’angelo on the way. 

Our first stop was the Vatican Museums. We were glad we had tickets because the line was super long thanks to it being a rainy Monday. (Other museums are closed on Monday so the Vatican Museums tend to be even busier.)

colorful ceiling

The line for St Peter’s was really long but we figured it’s always really long so we might as well try it. Despite starting at the other side of the square we were only in line for an hour. (The basilica is free to enter but you must go through security.)

domed ceiling

It started raining on the way back. The restaurant we headed for was closed so we went to Osteria da Agrippa again. We were happy to be dry and seated. We sat inside to drink our wine because the seats on the terrace were wet.

Slugs come out on the terrace in the evening. The hallway is the ground floor of our building.

Day 5: Trastevere

For our last day in Rome — and Italy — we walked over to Trastevere just to walk around and have lunch. 

Tiber River

It was a relaxing way to spend our last day. We started the trip with prosecco in Venice so we finished it with prosecco in Rome. 

The following morning we were off on our nonstop flight to Detroit. Here’s the Italian coast as we flew over. 

view from plane

Essentials​

Lodging

We had a nice room with a great terrace at Arch Rome Suites. It’s a family operation and everyone was friendly and helpful. Breakfast was excellent and included cappucino, juice, a variety of pastries, breads, cereals, and the option of scrambled eggs or an omelet. It was within walking distance of everything we wanted to see, though the Vatican was kind of a hike. 

Dining

We had great meals twice across the street at Osteria da Agrippa and there’s a Michelin listed restaurant downstairs that we didn’t try. Lots of great-sounding places to eat in the area. 

Transportation

We could have taken the bus from the train station but thought a taxi would be easier with baggage. We probably got scammed by our taxi driver but we were just happy to be there. We had the hotel schedule a car for us to the airport to keep it simple.