Quite a few years ago, after Dave and I got engaged but before we got married, we went to Rome. It was for four days, three nights and it was a gift to ourselves for having paid for our wedding and having not had a holiday in a couple of years it was the best treat we could have had.
Looking back to that Rome break, it was pretty much a pin in a map. We hadn’t been to many places before that and we could have gone anywhere. But we ended up in Rome. We picked a slightly out of town hotel and made use of the great metro system in Rome. The hotel, Re Di Roma, was a hidden gem. It was so much cheaper than other hotels, was really nice, modern and had a continental breakfast included. For the amount of time we actually spent in the hotel it was perfect for our needs.
Over those four days in Rome we did so much. So much! I’m sure I can’t remember most of it without looking back through photos but with a flight and the train journey before a mad dash to our hotel and then a taxi to our first walking tour Rome was hectic from the start but the best kind of hectic.
How much can you fit into a few days in Rome?
We had a walking tour of the Roman Forum that took us round so many ruins and taught us so much history. Rome is just one of the oldest places you will ever visit and you can feel it in every brick. It’s incredible. I remember the guide talking to us and I turned to Dave and asked if Julius Caesar was actually a real person. Until that point I thought he was fictional, the work of Carry On movies. You can tell how much attention I paid to history at school! This finished at the Arch of Constantine and the Colosseum.
We went to The Colosseum on Dave’s Birthday and the size of it is indescribable. It made us appreciate the movie Gladiator even more and we spent ages taking in what actually used to happen inside that place. History is often all kinds of brutal. In Rome it’s incredible that The Colosseum is just there. Right in the middle and visible from so many places, a whole city built around this ancient stadium.
We also saw the Pantheon which was an incredible piece of architecture – and looked both incredibly well maintained and modern inside but so old on the outside all at the same time.
We saw the Trevi Fountain, surrounded by tourists as well as the Spanish Steps which we didn’t realise were symbolic until the next day – we just thought they were steps… And we ate so much ice cream, two or three times a day.
One day we had a coach tour to the Vatican City and some other sights of Rome. We got to see the Vatican, St Peter’s Basilica and the Sistine Chapel. It was such a beautiful place. The square outside The Vatican was vast and so full of people and on another day we went back and saw an audience with The Pope. This was an incredible experience and something we will probably never witness again. It’s not every day you get to stand and hear The Pope speak right in front of you.
We had a boat trip down the river, saw a castle and saw so many churches that we lost count – religion is a massive part of the culture in Rome and Vatican City. On our last day we walked to the train station, passing time, and got stuck in a thunderstorm. It was incredible and a weird but great end to a glorious holiday.
What were our overall thoughts on Rome?
Rome taught us so much. The food was amazing and going into backstreet restaurants let us eat like kings for no money at all. We spent lunches eating paninis from vans on the pavement, the Rome version of a burger van but so much nicer!
Rome was incredible. No city has lived up to it since and in a way I wish I had seen Paris before Rome as sadly Paris just could not compete. There was so much to do, so much history and so much culture. Rome was like a timewarp, it was like a window into the past and I would go back tomorrow if I could.
If there is one city you should see in your lifetime – make it Rome.