This post has been sitting in my drafts for a whole year. Curtis and I went to Rome for our 5 year anniversary this time last year, but I just never shared this article with you all haha. So I guess enjoy a look into our Roman trip from October 2018.
The Travel Diaries
We decided to go to Rome for our 5 year anniversary, it was a place we both really wanted to see and fall in love with. Rome is one of the most iconic and most travelled cities in Europe, with a long history to match. We wanted to wander through the ancient Roman ruins, eat a lot of pizza, visit the Vatican City and just get lost in the Roman culture.
Both of us love the history surrounding the city and not to mention I was obsessed with the Lizzie McGuire movie when I was younger. Therefore, Rome has always been on my bucket list plus a place that Curtis wanted to visit. So it made sense for our first holiday together to be Rome.
Day One – Arriving in the city
We flew into the Fiumicino airport with EasyJet and grabbed a local bus into the main city. The bus we caught was located right outside the airport and only cost 6 euros each. The trip into the city was about 25 minutes (to the location where our apartment was situated). I think it’s good to experience a city like a local, so we chose an apartment block to stay in. It was located about a 10 minute walk from the Vatican City in the Aurelia area.
The bus dropped us off in this area, we then had to find our apartment building in an area full of apartments. Dragging our suitcases around these buildings trying to find the right one. We finally got to the correct building and waited for the person to come let us into the building. We got shown around the apartment, saw how to work everything then we were left to explore Rome.
Well, our first day was an adventure to stay the least. As we arrived into Rome about 2pm, we unpacked our suitcases and decided to go grab some food from the market down the street. We did that, came back to the apartment only to find we couldn’t access the room. The key wouldn’t work no matter what we tried. We had to wait around 2 hours for the guy to come let us back into the apartment.
In that time, Curtis had fallen asleep on the floor outside the apartment door. I had just sat there on the floor on my phone trying not to make eye contact with the Italian couple who kept going in and out of their apartment. I bet they thought we were some odd foreigners! Nevertheless, we got into the room and decided to test the keys before leaving again. Thankfully we got the hang of it!
Day Two: Using the Metro and a Self-guided Walking Tour
As we didn’t get to explore much of the city on the first day due to our little incident with the keys, we thought we would walk around the city to explore. We started by wanting to get a bus into the centre and start walking from there. But at the bus stop we met this lovely Filipino lady who said the buses were not operating well so she took us to the metro, as she was headed that direction. The Aurelia metro station was pretty quiet but luckily there were some machines that allowed us to buy a ticket. We only purchased a one way ticket into Rome Termini for a total of 3 euros. This was the only time we used the metro.
We walked practically the entire city which was great. Seeing some amazing Roman architecture, ruins, Colosseum, Trevi Fountain, the Pantheon and many other amazing sites to visit in Rome. We have planned to go inside the Colosseum on another day so we didn’t queue up. Instead we took some photos and then headed on walking.
The Pantheon is open daily and free to enter, so we decided to take a look inside. It is a place that’s definitely worth a visit. It’s most known for its perfect proportions and it’s dome with a central opening (oculus) to the sky. The Pantheon is one of the best preserved Roman buildings and has been in continuous use. It was pretty cool to go and see.
The Trevi Fountain
Our adventure continued towards the Fontana Di Trevi. As you can imagine, it’s always crowded, nevertheless it was something I had always wanted to see. It looks very beautiful and the vibe around it is absolutely spectacular. Even if people are shoving past and bumping into you. However, tradition has it that you will return to Rome if you throw a coin into the fountain. And naturally that’s what we did, when in Rome eh! One day we shall return.
Continuing with the walking tour of the city, Curtis decides to take us up a stretch of road without any designated pedestrian walkways. Walking up the hill trying not to get hit was an exciting experience. After about 10 minutes we made it to the top and realised we were kind of lost. But that’s all part of the fun when travelling.
Day Three: The Vatican City, Vatican Museum and St Peter’s Basilica
Day three of our trip to Rome was spent exploring the Vatican. Something that needs to be on your list of things to do in Rome. We woke up early and headed over to the Vatican, we were situated quite close so had to walk through each night on our way back from Rome city centre. Therefore we knew it was something we had to go inside as and see. There is always someone trying to sell you a guided tour on the street so that’s what we did. The ticket was 50 euros each and it included the Vatican Museum, Sistine Chapel and St Peter’s Basilica.
Home to the world’s largest private collection of artwork, the Vatican is a must-see for visitors to Rome. The Museum hosts a range of art pieces and sculptures that you can learn about. Such as the Raphael’s Rooms, the Michelangelo frescoes of the Sistine Chapel and the ‘La Pietà’ sculpture in St Peter’s Basilica. As we are not religious at all, we had no real interest in the religious aspect. We were just fascinated by the sheer beauty of it all. Although I must admit, I was a little worried when I started taking a coughing fit as I stepped through into the Vatican. I had always joked about something happening to me (as a non-believer) when stepping into a holy area. Well that happened there haha, which was fun.
The Sistine Chapel and St Peter’s Basilica
The Sistine Chapel is home to the famous Last Judgement by Michelangelo painted on the ceiling. The Chapel was originally known as the Capella Magna and it took the name Capella Sistina from Pope Sixtus IV, who had it restored between 1477 and 1480. It is a very holy place, where religious people come to pray and explore the history of their religion. Again as we are not religious people, Curtis and I walked around the very crowded room looked at the Michelangelo painting and decided to move onto the St Peter’s Basilica.
The 2,000-year-old basilica is home to most of the Catholic Church’s crucial ceremonies and is the symbol of the Vatican City. We were told that there was one of the important ceremonies happening the following day, so we were lucky to have booked a tour on the Saturday. The vast inside of the Basilica is just outstanding. It makes you feel tiny surrounded by amazing art pieces and ceremonial aspects of the basilica.
For a different perspective, head for a tour of the cupola. We paid 5 euros to climb all of the stairs to the top. The stairwells are narrow and angled making it a nightmare for anyone with claustrophobia. The one way system to the top makes it worse. However for 7 euros you can take the elevator, saving you some of the dreaded stairs. Once you are up there, it’s totally worth it. The view over looking Piazza San Pietro and surrounding Rome is incredible.
Day Four: Colosseum, Palatine Hill and Roman Forum
Our last full day in Rome was spent at the Colosseum, Palatine Hill and Roman Forum. These places were breathtakingly beautiful, but where in Rome hasn’t been? We purchased our ticket for all attractions at the Colosseum as that was our first stop of the day. We had a guided tour of the Colosseum first, then had some free time to explore the largest amphitheatre in the world on our own. The amphitheatre is seen as one of the greatest works of architecture. It is estimated that it could hold up to 80,000 spectators and it was used for gladiator contests amongst other events during its time. It is such a gorgeous piece of Roman architecture.
After the colosseum, we took the short trip across to the Palatine Hill. This is where our guided tour began again. We were told that Palatine Hill sits at the centre of the Seven Hills of Rome. Supposedly, the first people to ever live in Rome lived on Palatine Hill. Several legends surround this area, such as the tale of Romulus and Remus which depicts the fabled events that led to the founding of the city of Rome. This is a legend they tell you on the guided tour of the Palatine Hill.
Moving onto the Roman Forum, probably my favourite site of the day. This was when we lost our guide and decided to explore on the area ourselves. The Roman Forum during its time was the political and commercial core of Ancient Rome. It was centre to everyone’s daily life thousands of years ago. There were public buildings, marketplaces, an arena and many statues surrounding the area. We were lucky enough to be able to explore such an amazing place. Whilst it may be in ruins today, it does not take away from that feeling of stepping back in time. To walk around the ruins on cobbled ground, seeing some of statues and climbing to the viewpoint over looking the entire forum, it’s truly wonderful.
That was our trip to Rome, and everything we seen along the way. It truly is a great city to visit. Rich in history, beautiful buildings and fountains plus the pizza in Rome is the best. If you get the chance to go, I think you’ll enjoy it.