Wow. What an incredibly amazing trip. We’ve been back from our trip to Italy for a little over two weeks now and I still haven’t fully accepted the fact that we are back. We had an amazing week full of culture, history, newly-formed friendships, experience and of course, wonderful food. It was an exhausting trip, as it was seven straight days of early mornings and late nights, jammed packed full of experiences that we will never forget. In order to not make the recap of our trip miles long, I decided to break this post up into three (hopefully) shorter blog posts, based on the three cities we stayed in. First up in Rome.
When planning our trip, I was adamant about a straight flight into Rome so we wouldn’t have to worry about transfers or missing connections and I am so glad that I did. Neither Jody or I slept well on the flight (probably due to excitement!) so we were exhausted by the time that we landed. We easily found our transfer to the airport and enjoyed our first views of the city through sleepy eyes.
After we dropped our bags at the hotel, we ventured out to explore the neighborhood where we were staying and to find some coffee, which I figured wouldn’t be hard. After a thirty minute stroll around our area, we realized that we were in a highly residential area, with few shops around. We did find one though and did our best to explain to our non-English speaking barista what we wanted to order. It was definitely our first “you’re not in Kansas anymore” moment when I realized that the drink I ordered had chocolate in it, which is not something that a girl who doesn’t like chocolate wanted to see. Still, I tried it, and it was quite good, except for the chocolate!
Later that night, we met up with our tour group before going to dinner. We met two other American couples, one of which was also celebrating their first wedding anniversary, and got to know some other members of our tour over a glass of wine. Once it was time for dinner, our tour group hopped on our coach for dinner at La Scoglio di Frisio and our first taste of Italian pizza! There were even opera singers performing as we ate, which made the experience even more authentic.
After dinner, we departed for our walking tour of Rome. Our tour guide, Mike, showed us many main points of interest in the city like Piazza Navona, the Pantheon, and the Trevi Fountain. Through more conversation, we quickly became friends with two of the other American couples and shared a bottle of wine when we got back to the hotel later that night.
The following day was our first anniversary. We had a busy day of sightseeing planned, so we opted to share our anniversary gifts with one another prior to going down to breakfast. Our first sight of the day was a guided tour of the Colosseum, followed by a tour of the Roman Forum. The sheer magnitude of the remains of these historical buildings floored me. I couldn’t wrap my head around how locals walked past these places with thousands of years of history within its walls every day.
After our tours, we stopped to get more pizza for lunch. We learned that eating at a restaurant on a main plaza tended to be a bit more expensive so we tried to avoid it, but this one was reasonably priced and allowed us to see still a beauty of Rome while we ate. This was definitely one of the best pizzas we had in Italy!
Jody and I went off to explore on our own for a bit following lunch. We found our way back to the Pantheon, which is a former Roman temple and now a church, to go inside. The breathtaking building is incredible to witness in person, especially considering its elegant design and architectural greatness that has survived almost 2000 years in the Eternal City. We spent the rest of our afternoon roaming around the streets and alleys in search of our first taste of gelato!
We had a free night that evening, which allowed Jody and I to celebrate our anniversary over a romantic Italian dinner. We wandered through the Trastevere neighborhood and found a cute restaurant with eye-catching outdoor seating. We split a bottle of wine and shared our pasta dishes with one another while reminiscing on our best day one year prior, and all of the wonderful days that have come since. Authentic Italian, wine, and my love — I couldn’t have planned a better anniversary if I tried.
On our second morning in Italy, we had reservations with our tour group to the Vatican. This tour was one of the ones that Jody and I were most looking forward to. We were in awe of the Sistine Chapel, and the amount of history that is among its walls, but it was surreal to stand in St. Peter’s Square where many holy men have stood and delivered words of Christ. Even with standing in the courtyards in the blistering heat, and extreme crowds, this breathtaking and holy place definitely ranked on the top of our favorite sights in all of Italy!
We headed to our next city right after we left Vatican City, but we thankfully, we didn’t say goodbye to Rome good. We added one last night in Rome at the end of the trip, which made leaving the beauty of this city a bit easier, at least this time around. We had an amazing first two days in Rome, but couldn’t wait to explore this country more!