Are you ready for a world wind tour of Rome? By the time you finish reading this post you’ll want to book your ticket. Rome was the first stop on a fabulous family vacation to Italy this past June. It was an adventure of a lifetime and I can’t wait to share the wonderful memories with you.
Traveling to Rome
The six of us — me, my sister N, my daughter A and her friend J, and my son D and his girlfriend Jo — left in early June for 10 glorious days in Italy. The trip was in honor of a big birthday celebration for my daughter A. We headed out via Alitalia from John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York.
An Apartment for Six
After about eight hours, we touched down at the Rome airport and were picked up by a car service with a van large enough to fit six and all our luggage. I was so glad we had pre-planned pick-up with our VRBO hosts. It went so smoothly. Zip zip and we were at 59 Via Mecenate in a great three bedroom/two bath apartment on a beautiful tree-lined street near the Colosseum. Owners P and V let us freshen up before we ventured out on the town.
A Seven Mile Walk Around Rome
Despite being exhausted, we were on an adrenaline high, like gladiators ready to conquer the eternal city in all its glory. With only two days in Rome, we wanted to hit all the hot spots, especially since J and Jo had never been. N had visited once, I had been twice, and A and D were our go-to guides since they both lived in Rome during their college semesters abroad. (Note: It is interesting to read my blog posts from my first trip to Rome in 2007 pre-50 and my second trip to Rome in 2011 post-50. My blogging skills and my life skills have changed a great deal since those days.)
From the Colosseum
We headed through the park toward the Colosseum, around the Roman Forum and onward past the Capitoline Hill to Campo de’ Fiori, where there is a glorious market filled with stalls selling spices, fresh fruits and veggies, cheeses, flowers, jewelry and more. There are restaurants surrounding the square with pizza, pasta, baked goods, and gelato. We stopped for lunch nearby at A’s favorite salad spot, Insalata Ricca and then went to the best-ever bakery Il Fornaio for Italian cookies. (Note: If you are a first time visitor, I highly suggest taking a tour of the Colosseum and Roman Forum.)
To Piazza Navona
Revitalized after lunch and even a little rain, we were back on our feet off to Piazza Navona, a very popular and pretty piazza. It’s a perfect place to buy local artwork, including oil paintings and watercolors. You can bargain with the vendors – so look at all the pictures before you purchase. Cash is the preferred method of payment.
Before walking over the bridge to the neighborhood of Trastevere, where D had lived during his semester in Rome, we made a pit stop for biscotti and Italian cookies at the best-ever bakery Il Fornaio. There were so many baked goods to choose from, including gluten-free macarons.
To Trastevere and The Jewish Ghetto
We strolled around the Trastevere cobblestone streets, passing winding alleys with quaint restaurants and shops. Then walked over to the small Jewish Ghetto, also near the Tiber River, where most shops were closing up for Friday evening Shabbat. According to Let’s Go Italy, a travel guide I highly recommend which is not just for students, “this compact neighborhood was actually home to the first real community of Jews in Western Europe.”
Weary Gladiators Return To The Starting Line At The End of The Day
After seven miles of walking all over the city, except for the Vatican area, we were weary warriors ready to collapse after our first day. (I was glad to have brought my SAS Breezy shoes to keep my feet comfy.) We napped, showered, and too tired to go too far, we went to a local trattoria down the block from our apartment. Trattoria Morgana turned out to have some delizioso food. We shared mussels to start and I enjoyed pasta with swordfish as my entree. D had a traditional dish of pasta with pepe and the others had homemade gnocchi.
Always Room For Gelato
“Who wants gelato?” would become the last question of the day during our entire trip. There was never a day or night where we missed a cup or two of this richly flavored Italian ice cream. For when in Italy, I listened to author Betsy Brandt’s recommendations: “I believe gelato is meant to be treated as medicine and taken daily as a prescription.” I hear you Betsy. My medicine the first day was a cup of half Nutella and half chocolate chip flavored gelato!
From day two in Rome to a visit to Florence and then off to the Amalfi Coast — I look forward to exciting all your senses with more upcoming blog posts from my fabulous vacation to Italy.
Are you booking your trip to Italy yet?