We crossed a big travel destination off the list.
Big as in Colosseum big.
Holy as in Vatican City holy.
We met Jon’s parents in Rome during their two-week Italian vacation. Jon’s dad doesn’t really like to leave the comfort of the German speaking countries (since he speaks the language), so getting him out of Germany and into Italy was a BIG deal! And let’s face it, there aren’t that many German towns left for him to see.
We arrived to their adorable rental apartment on Saturday morning. The patio was my favorite part. Perfect for enjoying some antipasti and sipping some vino while the boys watched the World Cup inside.
We were recommended an authentic Italian restaurant for lunch, and authentic it was. We walked in to the hole in the wall, adorned with fresh herbs drying in the archway and expressive Italians lovingly yelling at each other. The older Italian couple didn’t speak a lick of English and were nothing but welcoming. The man had a huge grin on his face and talked to us like we spoke his language. We responded just like he spoke ours. They gave us the menu for the day on a tiny pad of paper.
An ever changing menu can only mean good things in my eyes. Seasonal ingredients and not too many options to mourn over. To end the meal on a fantastic note, he handed us the whole bottle of Limoncello, first pretending to drop it, and then proceeding to pour us hefty shots. Honestly, I can’t remember much about the food other than the tasty meatballs, but it didn’t matter because the atmosphere made my meal.
You don’t have to walk far to find some landmark you probably recognize from a movie. First the Spanish Steps, then the Pantheon, then the Vatican, you get the picture.
Approaching the Vatican was a bit overwhelming. The line was wrapped around so many corners that you truly never thought you would make it to the front. Fortunately enough, we were able to walk past the poor line standers because we had a tour guide waiting for us at the front. NBD (but really a big, awesome deal).
I highly suggest setting up a tour because that line is ridiculous! The length of time you will spend on your feet in the Vatican makes you tired enough, let alone another few hours in line. Don’t forget to cover those shoulders and legs! And please, for goodness sakes, don’t be one of those people trying to take pictures in the Sistine Chapel. That’s just silly.
Speaking of the Sistine Chapel, it was a great experience to finally see it up close and personal. Ever since I learned about it in grade school, I have had a vivid image in my mind of Michelangelo laying on a high rafter and getting paint splattered all over his face. As we walked in, the security guards tried their hardest to herd the cattle through the chapel. They yelled at you to be quiet and respect the chapel, which was ironic considering the yelling was more disturbing than the quiet mumbles. To their defense, many people were disrespectful and they were trying to do their job. I just wish I could be in there by myself, lay on my back in the middle of the chapel, and take it all in. The problem is that the most beautiful things make the best tourist attractions, so we get to experience these places with everyone else and their brother. And sister. And mother. You get the point.
The line to the Colosseum was a bit better, but not great. At least the majority of the line was inside and shaded. Walking into the monstrous Colosseum was an awe-inspiring moment.
I’m not interested in imagining them fighting to death (I can’t even watch MMA on TV without covering my eyes), but I do like imagining the Romans all dressed up and gathering for the affair in this huge event space.
Wandering around with our audio guides and picturing Russell Crowe in his gladiator costume was a well spent afternoon.
And surprisingly enough, the restaurant right next door where we ate lunch, Hostaria al Gladiatore, was one of our favorite Italian meals of the trip. The service was pretty bad, but the view made up for it.
Other than visiting the main attractions, we just enjoyed walking the streets, eating Gelato, shopping in the cute boutiques, and hanging out in our Roman apartment.
Yes, we crossed Rome off the list, but subsequently added five more Italian cities, just because.